Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Acquisition Addiction - Part II

Does the acquisition of consumer goods satisfy? Can buying more “stuff” solve our problems? Can owning a new car, a flashy new cell phone or an expensive sweater change our self-image, solve our relationship problems or make us happy? (From Acquisition Addiction - Part 1)

Yes, a new car or great new sweater will make you feel better. It will boost your self-image and maybe even build confidence. It’s exciting to score that great bargain and the right clothing can make you feel amazing!

Unfortunately the feeling is only temporary. When the initial sense of euphoria fades our problems rise to the surface like dead fish in an aquarium. They can’t be ignored and they stink! Back to the mall we dash for our next hit of self-worth found in the form of clothes, shoes, cosmetics, housewares, jewelry; you fill in the blank.

 The very act of addictive shopping leads to a set of its own unique problems. The shopper descends into a dark, muddy pit of self-loathing and credit card debt.

Marital problems, family problems, financial problems, work problems, self image problems, health problems, social problems, addiction problems...none of the realities of life are fixed by another trip to the mall.

Every day we’re bombarded by advertising messages telling us we need more “stuff”.  Advertisements tell us we’ll feel better about ourselves if we buy a certain brand of make up or own a specific designer’s clothing. We’ll be more beautiful and popular if we buy a certain hair product. Marketers are trained to manipulate our emotions, our desires and our dreams.  Guess what? Advertising works!

With easy access to on-line and television shopping and malls in every residential neighbourhood we’re walking a thin line between healthy buying patterns and those leading to addiction.

Perhaps it’s time to step back and examine our buying patterns and motivations? Do you see an advertisement and find yourself wanting to buy the product so you’ll be more beautiful, more popular, more desirable or happier? Are your credit card balances higher than your bank balance? Do you own a bunch of stuff you don’t need and don’t even want? Do you hide your purchases from your spouse or your friends? Are you ashamed to talk about your spending habits?

Have you crossed the line from responsible shopping into addiction?  If so I encourage you to speak to your doctor, who can determine the best way of managing your addiction. He may prescribe medication or refer you to a counselor specializing in the area of shopping addiction. He may recommend a combination of both.  Treatment plans are different for every person.

Don’t delay on this. Do it now before you’re faced with the serious consequences of bankruptcy and financial destruction. If you’ve already fallen into the bottomless well of debt, don’t despair, there’s still hope. The first step to ending the slavery of addiction is recognizing the problem and seeking help.  Everyone has to start some time. Make it now!

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