A diet by any other name

Saturday night. You know what's not fair? That my new addiction - the one that has taken over where the binge eating stopped - is now causing me nearly as much trouble as the old one did. I speak, of course, of shopping. It's not that shopping is a Johnny-come-lately to the party, I've been using retail therapy to deal (or not) with feelings for years and years, it's just that, since it became the primary (only?) addiction in my life, it's like some cartoon monster that feeds on energy and gets larger and larger, swallowing small towns as it goes. Such, it appears, is the case with shopping.

It shouldn't surprise me that the urge to spend has gotten so bad. I most definitely have an addictive personality and, I'm mostly proud to say that I've conquered most of the other addictions, leaving just this one to loll around and get fat and sassy while I've been off working on the whole "eating everything in sight and not exercising except to walk to the car so that I can drive through Cotijas" thing. All of the issues that caused me to want to eat, or many of them, are still in my life and I've removed the all-time best way to make them go away (bingeing), and shopping has happily stepped in to fill the void. Shoes, clothes (it's a lot more fun shopping for clothes now than it's been in years!), stuff for the house, gifts for friends and loved ones, books, magazine subscriptions, out-of-town excursions all have been piling up on my credit card. It's a dizzying ride, to be honest.

Now, suddenly, the ride is over and I have no choice to get off. Tonight my card was declined when I attempted to buy the CD supporting Voices for Children, and the cold rush of fear and adrenaline hit my stomach like a stone. No credit left. On my "real" credit card (as opposed to my check card). This is not good. It's not that I'm destitute or anything, heck, I get paid on Friday, it's just that I'm 37 years old, for goodness' sakes, and I can't be running up my credit card (AGAIN!) just because buying things makes me feel better about myself and my life. You know what makes you feel really horrible about yourself, Denise? Do you??? Being hugely in debt and having to sell stock options in order to get yourself out. Remember last time? How about the time before that??? Gack!

I know that I can (and must!) set up and stick to a budget. On paper, it sounds simple enough. It's not as though I don't make a comfortable living, because I do, but I have rather extravagant tastes. Call it Tiffany's tastes on a Nordstrom budget. I must learn to live within my means, though. Must, must, must!

Some extravagances will continue. My prepared meals for one - my good health is worth more than anything else. High speed internet access, too - I just don't think I could deal with dial-up on a regular basis. Using the Anastasia counter at Nordie's for my brow appointments - it's only every six weeks, and I remember how awful they looked when I was going somewhere cheap.

There are, however, some obvious areas for cutback. First, my hair. I'm paying entirely too much money. Yes, she does a great job, but $150 a pop (plus tip) is over the top on my salary. Perhaps I could keep her for my cuts and do my own color? (At my age, I don't think "going natural" with the color is an option.) Second, I own a great espresso machine and I need to start using it instead of running to a coffee house (at $3.25 a latte, that's $676 a year or $56 a month). Next, no more Evian. I will not drink the tap water (I'm sorry, but you wouldn't either if you lived somewhere with the water pollution problems we have here) and I won't do the purified tap water masquerading as good water thing, either (hello, Dasani is just Atlanta tap water run through reverse osmosis - yuck!), but I can do Arrowhead or Nestle or something a little cheaper than Evian. Most painful of all, I simply must stop shopping needlessly. I have more clothes in my current size than most people who don't slide up and down the size scale will have in their entire lifetime, so I don't need any more. I also don't need any more shoes. No. More. Shoes. Oh, and no more handbags, either. None. Not even that deadly cute Lulu Guinness I saw at Nordie's. No! [Slaps own hand.]

I'm a grown woman. I (at the moment) have my compulsive overeating habit under control. I manage a wonderful team of talented people, and do it well, I think. I'm going to be the court-appointed advocate for a child or children in a very short period of time. I simply must get my finances - and spending addiction - under control and find something else to relax me.

Perhaps compulsively cleaning my house?


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