The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft & Spending

             May 2008 e-Newsletter

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What's Flowering in Your Life's Garden?


Terrence Daryl Shulman



                                                                               HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

Fall 2008 Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending takes place Saturday September 27, 2008 in Detroit! See or any of our linked websites for information and registration. Also, Mr. Shulman's new book Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending available now! Purchase through Mr. Shulman directly or through any of our linked websites.

Spring is in the air! What seeds have you planted that are going to bloom soon? Seeds of positivity or seeds of negativity? Or a little of both? I continue to learn about my planting patterns. I've been more inclined over the last several years to plant seeds for my business and my finances and those seeds have sprouted many wonderful flowers: vibrant and rewarding work, books, conferences, etc. I've also spent the last two years planting seeds toward better health through diet, exercise, and medication; finally, I'm seeing the fruits of those efforts in weight loss, lowered cholesterol, and more energy and optimism. I planted some seeds over many years to start another local CASA group at a well-known church in Metro-Detroit and that group took root in February and is averaging 10 members per meeting. And I've continued to plant seeds for my recovery--to the best of my ability--by continuing to go to meetings and by continuing to take a hard look at myself--with the help of many close friends--to see where I'm stuck and where I need to grow.

However, it has been hard to accept of late that in certain dimensions of my life I have not been taking the time to plant the seeds necessary for deeper and more intimate relationships--with myself, others, and with spirit. I've fallen back into the old pattern of being a "doing machine." It's a common pattern for many: the outside looks good but the inside has become dangerously hollow. Love needs the seeds of attention, kind words, touch, smiles, spontanaeity and so do most of our other intimate relationships with family and friends. I know this but keep forgetting! A therapist recently reminded me that I've got to take time to re-connect with myself and my own spirit in order to share and receive love from the deepest, most authentic, and most powerful well-spring of who I am. The only real way to re-connect with oneself is to slow down, breathe, feel, and be still. This is, naturally, very hard for those of us who are Type A persons. But it must be done. I am now shifiting my focus gently to planting those seeds: the seeds of stillness, of going within, of giving as much attention (or more?) to my loved ones as to my work. I am officially in recovery from workaholism! Wish me luck!

Now, some may have the opposite problem. Some may be quite adept at planting the seeds of stillness, spirituality, and quality relationships; however, they may struggle with putting equal attention to their finances, their business, their health, or other important and creative endeavors.

Nobody's gonna have it all in balance--at least not for very long. But it's a wonderful time of year to get motivated to plant some seeds in our lives that can take root and lead us to our hopes and dreams or even beyond what we can imagine. If you are having trouble getting motivated on your own--or even in clarifying what seeds you need to plant--reach out for support our wise counsel from someone close to you or a trained professional.

And be patient! If your crops don't raise by Summer or the Fall Harvest, don't give up! Keep planting!


The following excerpts are from Mr. Shulman's new book:
"Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending" (Copyright, 2008)


We all have money issues. I know I do. We're usually feeling like we want or need more of it. We're trying to earn more, spend less, save or invest more; yet, we also want more, need more, feel we deserve more, and dread the feeling of losing or just maintaining our current lifestyle.

I believe something else is happening. A dangerous mindset has taken root: spend now and worry later—or, better yet, don't worry at all! Welcome to the world of addiction: the world of more, more, more. It's a world of imbalance, of denial, and of insanity. It's more than plain greed.

You've probably noticed a growing trend over the last decade or so. From Suze Orman to Dave Ramsey to Oprah's "Debt Diet" to A&E TV's "Big Spender" to books, articles, television and radio shows: calls near and far are sounding the alarm about our individual and collective problems with debt and spending.

Everywhere we look and listen: there are warning signs that something is out of balance: a looming recession, wild stock market swings, a housing market bust with record foreclosures, consumer credit card debt at an all time high! We've been told recently that we're not in a recession but "a slow down."

We were given easy credit, no money down, and promised "The American Dream." Look what's happening?

As Americans, we work longer hours, take less vacation time, have more health issues such as lack of sleep, depression, anxiety, and obesity, and report less overall satisfaction with life. As we continue to emulate and chase the lifestyles of the "rich and famous," we pay a devastating toll being--individually and collectively.

Yet, many of us continue to spend like there's no tomorrow. And, for many, there may not be a tomorrow. Our attitudes and culture of consumerism have reached a breaking point over the last few decades.

As with many issues, we seem to have a split personality—again, individually and collectively. On the one hand, we have a trend toward hyper-consumerism best illustrated by the blossoming of magazines and TV shows pushing the lure of haute couture and mocking—tongue-in-cheek—the excesses of shopping and spending—from "Sex in The City" to the chick-lit "Confessions of a Shopaholic" novellas which will be released as a major motion picture this year.

On the other hand, we have a growing movement saying slow down—from Suze Orman to, less stylistically, the movies "What Would Jesus Buy," "Maxed Out!" and the underground films "Money as Debt," Freedom to Fascism," and "Zeitgeist."

In 2006, a landmark Stanford University study concluded that something else may better describe the phenomenon that is growing among millions of people. It is called" compulsive buying disorder." While still controversial—there's a tendency to call it "poor money management"—the hope is that it opens a new window towards prevention and treatment of persons whose buying and spending may not be helpable through conventional approaches such as just cutting up credit cards or trying to follow a financial advisor's counsel.

Consider the following statistics:

*17 Million Americans (roughly 6% of the population) are compulsive buyers (Stanford University Study, 2006)

*Nearly half of all compulsive buyers are men (Stanford University Study, 2006)

*Arguments over money and spending are the primary reason for couples' conflict or divorce (Psychology Today)

*The average credit card debt per American citizen is nearly  $10,000—mostly from unnecessary purchases (Time & Money magazines)

If you're reading this book, either you or someone you know has may have serious problems with shopping or spending. There are different ways to determine if there's really a problem. If you think there's a problem, usually there is. If others think you have a problem, usually there is. Ultimately, each one of us has to decide this for him/herself.

Sometimes there may be a problem with debt but not so much because of shopping—one may not shop regularly but may spend too much money on occasional larger purchases such as a home, a car, a vacation; or, one may spend too much on dining out, concerts, the theatre, etc. Likewise, one may have a compulsive shopping or spending problem but not be in debt—there may be other consequences like loss of time or interest in relationships, avoidance of emotions or of obligations.

Some common reasons why people overshop or overspend include the following:

--Emotional deprivation in childhood

--Inability to tolerate negative feelings, pain, loneliness, depression, fear, or anger

--Need to fill an inner void -- empty and longing inside

--Excitement or thrill-seeking

--Approval seeking


--Need to gain control

--Manic episodes, ADHD, or impulsivity

Compulsive shoppers—often referred to as "shopaholics" can sometimes be described in categories such as these:

*Trophy shoppers

*Image shoppers

*Bargain shoppers

*Codependent shoppers  

*Bulimic shoppers

*Collector shoppers

*Compulsive shoppers

These different types of shoppers are described in more detail in the stories and theories within the book.

This book isn't a book about finances from the viewpoint of how to make more money or how to save more money. It's more about our emotional and psychological relationship to money and to things. It's about going deeper—to the roots.

My interest in this subject is also personal. My father and brother were compulsive shoppers.

I began to see how our relationship to money and to things is a huge source of wounding and pain in my clients—and most people in general. Therefore, creating a new relationship with money and things can, equally, bring healing and peace.

Since 2004, I began counseling compulsive shoppers and spenders in addition to my primary work with people who compulsively steal. Often, both behaviors—compulsive theft and spending—are present either at the same time or at different stages.

Remember the old saying: "you can't solve most issues with money or things." Most of us have experienced this lesson already. We see how "the rich and famous" still have problems—and that's just the ones we hear about. We've heard the stories of lottery winners who blow their money all too quickly, fall into depression or addictions, or who end up saying they wish they'd never won. Yet, we still buy into the fantasy that more money or more things will make us happy.

I hope this book is another offering among the many out there which helps us look at, understand better, and make the necessary changes in our lives so we may live our best lives possible.

Terrence Daryl Shulman,
Southfield, Michigan, March 2008

                                                                 Are You Bought Out and $pent? 

If you're reading this book, either you or someone you know may have serious problems with shopping or spending. There are different ways to determine if there's really a problem. If you think there's a problem, usually there is. If others think you have a problem, there usually is. Ultimately, each one of us has to decide for him or herself.

Take the following quizzes and take an honest accounting...

The Shulman Center Assessment for Compulsive Shopping/Spending 

1. Have you ever lost time from work or school due to shopping/spending?  

2. Has shopping/spending ever created problems in your relationships?  

3. Has shopping/spending ever affected your reputation or people's opinion of you?   

4. Have you ever felt guilt, shame, or remorse after shopping/spending?   

5.  Did you ever shoplift or steal from work to get money to pay debts or to solve money issues?  

6. Did shopping/spending ever cause a decrease in your ambition or efficiency?  

7.  Did you ever experience a "high" or "rush" of excitement when you shop or spend?   

8.  Have you ever shopped/spent to escape worries?         

9. Has shopping/spending caused you to have difficulty eating or sleeping?  

10. Do arguments, disappointments or frustrations create an urge to shop or spend?    

11. Have you noticed you began shopping or spending more frequently over time?  

12. Have you ever considered self-destruction or suicide as a result of your shopping/spending?   

13. Upon stopping over shopping or overspending did you continue to be tempted/preoccupied by it?  

14. Have you kept your shopping/spending a secret from most of those you are close to?   

15. Have you told yourself "this is my last time" and still over shopped or overspent again?  

16. Have you continued to shop or spend despite having been had legal issues such as bankruptcy or divorce?  

17. Do you often feel angry or feel a need for control?                                                  

18. Do you often have feelings of life being unfair?                                                   

19. Do you have persistent feelings of entitlement to get buy what you want?   

20. Do you have trouble speaking up for yourself, asking for help, or saying "no"?    

What was your score/How many times did you answer Yes? _______

Most compulsive shoppers/spenders will answer yes to at least seven (7) of these questions

This questionnaire is adapted from the Gamblers Anonymous 20 Questions.

Debtors Anonymous & professional counseling should be recommend for compulsive shoppers/spenders.

So, are you "bought out and spent"? If not yet but getting there, stop before it's too late! If you already are, you can get your life back! Either way, read on...

OPRAH WINFREY/ECKHART TOLLE free live (and downloadable) weekly web-seminars Monday evenings from 9-10:30pm EST at based on Tolle's new book A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose.
All 10 weekly classes are available for download as well.

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Fall 2008 Conference on Compulsive Theft & Spending takes place Saturday September 27, 2008 in Detroit! See our website for info and registration. Also, Mr. Shulman's new book Bought Out and $pent! Recovery from Compulsive $hopping and $pending available now and may be purchased through Mr. Shulman directly or through any of our websites.


Mr. Shulman continues to assist with a documentary on American excess called "American Dream: The Movie"

Mr. Shulman will be featured in a 2009 book on recovery in the USA called "America Anonymous" by Benoit-Denizen Lewis.

Mr. Shulman will be featured in a short article about shoplifting in New York-based Time Out! magazine.

Mr. Shulman is working with The Maury Povich Show on a compulsive shopping segment.


Mr. Shulman is working with MSNBC on a series on addiction--including shoplifting addiction.

Mr. Shulman is working with A & E TV's "Intervention" show on a shoplifting addiction segment.



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Contact The Shulman Center

Terrence Shulman
P.O. Box 250008
Franklin, Michigan 48025


Call (248) 358-8508 for free consulation!

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Products for Purchase--SALE!

Mr. Shulman's 75 Minute DVD Power Point Presentation on Employee Theft at Livonia, Michigan Financial Manager's Conference 10/19/06. $75.00

Mr. Shulman's 75 Minute DVD Power Point Presentation on Employee Theft at Louisville, Kentucky Business in Industry Conference 9/19/07. $75.00

Mr. Shulman's two books "Something for Nothing: Shoplifting Addiction & Recovery" and "Biting The Hand That Feeds: The Employee Theft Epidemic... New Perspectives, New Solutions" are availabe for $25.00 each (includes shipping/handling) or both for $45.00 (includes shipping/handling).

Mr. Shulman's 90 minute DVD Power Point presentation for young people: "Theft and Dishonesty Awareness Program." $75.00

Mr. Shulman's 33 minute psycho-educational DVD: "The Disease of Something for Nothing: Shoplifting and Employee Theft." $50.00

First International Conference on Theft Addictions & Disorders 4 DVD set (13 Hours). Recorded 10/05. $125.00


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