Monday, October 3, 2011

Still Chugging Along

I realize that it's been since March since I last wrote.  Over the past few months, I've been tempted to sit and write -- but then wondered, what would I write about?  It's the same story over and over......the cycle of spending, guilt, deprivation and then starting all over again.  I'd end up writing the same thing over and over -- especially since I really didn't know where to begin to stop the cycle to begin with.

A few days ago, I was the victim of an attempted scam.  I received a phone call from a "company" saying that I owed them $1500 for a loan that I took out a year ago and that if I didn't pay it back I was going to be arrested for fraud.  You can read the whole story here.

Sure -- you'd say -- well I'd KNOW if I took a loan out.  And that's true.  But to a compulsive spender, it's vagueness that gets you into trouble.  For awhile there, I was seriously doubting myself.....did I REALLY take out this loan?  Was I in one of my hazes that I just don't remember doing this?  As a compulsive spender, you really don't have an idea of WHAT exactly you owe and WHAT exactly you borrowed.  You live in a fog of phone calls from debt collectors and overdue notices from bill collectors.

It's only when you take that step OUT of the fog that clarity truly starts to set in.

I've been making small -- very small, mind you -- steps to take the leap out of the fog.

1.  I FOUGHT the scammer and won!  (Seriously - if you a need a laugh, go read the story -- it's HILARIOUS!)

2.  I've started carrying a little notebook with me -- and I write down EVERYTHING I buy.  I attach the receipts to my little notebook.  Sometimes I do forget, but then I just start over the next day.  Doing this gives me clarity on what I'm spending.

3.  I've started a spreadsheet on what I owe.  And this even includes the "every day" bills.  It's helping me to build a budget - what we're really spending, what we're saving (which is almost nothing), etc.

4.  Last week, I took 3 of our change jars to the bank and cashed them in.  I started envelopes for savings - one for each of the girls and one for us. 

I have to say that I am EXTREMELY proud of myself for not dipping into the girls' envelopes when I felt that urge to spend.  I cannot continue to cheat my daughters because of my addiction.

Another baby step -- but one I'm very proud of.

I apologize to you all for not writing more.  Like any addiction, I'm still ashamed.  Ashamed of not keeping it in control.  Ashamed for "falling off the wagon" and at times - being run over by the wagon.  Ashamed of getting myself into this position to begin with.  And it's the shame and fear and denial that keeps this cycle going.

But I just continue to pray that, through God's help, one day I will be free from these chains.