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  • Ice Chip #367

    Shopaholic Support Group offers interesting help. (This Ice Chip is from the archives: 04-25-11)

    I recently had a conversation with a neighbor of mine about her shopping addiction. She is very candid about her condition and I appreciate having her permission to write about this issue.

    Our town-homes are adjacent and we had a yard sale over the weekend. I noticed she had several items that were still “new with tags”, and still wrapped in cellophane. Multiple pairs of shoes were available, including 4 pairs of brand new, never worn Z-coil tennis shoes, which are fairly expensive at the initial purchase.

    A couple of days before the sale, I was retrieving my mail from the centralized mailboxes in the subdivision and she was getting hers as well. We spoke for a few minutes about the upcoming yard sale and she commented on a book she received in the mail that day. Opening the envelope, she commented, “Oh, it’s my book from my support group on my shopping addiction.”

    I was curious about how she was doing with it, and she said she had just started her support group on line. “I hope the book and group helps.  I need it.”

    (Back to the yard sale)

    During one of the slow times, she noticed a settee we had for sale. She asked the price and her reaction suggested it was easily in her price range; and she really wanted it.

    “I like to shop because it makes me happy” she had commented earlier. “Yet after bringing the items home, they sometimes go unused, hence, an unfortunate part of my shopping addiction.”

    Here is the lesson from a Remember the Ice perspective.

    As we were midway through the sale, she commented again, “I really would like to buy that settee.”  Then a pause, “But I really don’t need it.” 

    That was the help the support group was offering. They tell me to just say I don’t need that.” (Hmmmm… interesting advice.)

    I shared the story behind Remember the Ice and explained how that actually translated to:  “But I really need it.”

    My first suggestion was to re-frame it to: “I can live without it (the settee)”. Then I thought of this re-framed message:  “I choose to live without that (settee)”.

    Her response and smile suggested she liked the new way of thinking about her situation.

    Helping her focus on eradicating her “shoulds” in her self-talk will go a long way to help her cope with her desires to shop, and beat herself up for doing so.

    Making this simple shift in word choice is just the beginning of her work.  She will do well to embrace the mantra:  Repetition is the mother of skill. And know that she can “choose to live without that.”

    Thank you to my neighbor for sharing her situation, and allowing me to comment on it.

    Have an empowering week, and if there is something you think you “don’t need”, remember, “You can do without it if you choose.”

    Empowering Regards,



2 Responses so far.

  1. Good on you Bob!
    You probably helped her much more than you know. You might have played a part in saving a future marriage from breaking up or poverty stricken retirement.
    Little ripples go a long way.
    Well done.

  2. Thank you Trish. You hit the nail on the head as our conversation was instrumental in helping them in their relationship.

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