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I'm Powerless Over Black Friday and My Life is Unmanagable.

The high, the anticipation of shopping. Getting a deal. Spending money. I’m like a crack addict about to take a hit (Yes, I have smoked crack before so I know.)

By Melissa SteussyPublished 2 years ago Updated 2 years ago 8 min read
I'm Powerless Over Black Friday and My Life is Unmanagable.
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

The relief of making the purchase and the comedown. Ahhh.

The thrill wears off and I must do it over and over again.

I’m having another trauma response to the holidays. Going to the mall for me is like going to a bar when you’re sober (which I am.) I see so many things that I think I need. I want them all and all of a sudden everything that I have is not good enough. I look around at all the people in the shops and I see all the money being spent and I feel less than and not enough.

In my life growing up I didn’t have what I needed and I was jealous of what other people looked like they had. I always felt like I was not good enough and so I fought to have what others had and sometimes as a young girl that meant shoplifting.

Other times I would ask girlfriends if I could borrow something of theirs to wear to school the next day. I would obsess about it and sometimes lay in bed crying about my lack. I would worry about what the other kids at school thought of me and how poor I was. I tried to fit. I wanted to fit so badly.

Over the years I’ve used credit cards and put myself and my family into debt. I’ve spent money that we didn’t have on clothes and shoes so I would look like I was enough and not flailing under the weight of this brain that tells me I am mediocre and that everyone else is better.

This morning I get ready to go to an AA meeting because I know that I am an addict and I know that I should be out walking and exercising to clear my brain but instead I’m going over and over and over again about the things that I need and don’t have money for.

This time of year brings on such a frenzy. There’s Black Friday and their sales and then there’s this lead up to Christmas that is for people that can spend money, but for me, I am on a constant monetary diet because more is never enough. I can never be satiated when spending money. I am a compulsive spender and overspend. I am an impulsive spender. I need to spend and spend and spend and I feel this high, this temporary high that doesn’t last. And then I need to spend and spend and spend some more.

There are times when I feel content. When I feel like I have enough and my body is calm, my brain is calm and I can laugh and be joyful and feel freedom. And then there are times when my hair doesn’t look right and my body feels too large and I see too much cellulite and my hair might be frizzy and I feel the strong urge and desire to go on a shopping spree. I think something new will cheer me up. So I go in to get that thing whatever it may be; a shirt or some pants or some shoes, a haircut whatever, and then inevitably that feeling comes back.

So I drive now to this AA meeting that will remind me of why I am sober, why I don’t drink alcohol because with alcohol in the same way one was never enough. With drugs one was never enough with shopping one is never enough. It is nice to get a reminder and have others nod their heads when I share.

Many of us go through life looking for that one next thing that will fill the huge hole inside of us. For me, I know that thing is God and I pray to surrender and release. Sometimes I just need to work through the feeling of not being enough.

Who told me that I wasn’t enough? Who told me that I would never amount to anything? I was told that most of my life and I was shown that through beatings and reprimands that made me feel small and insignificant like I didn’t matter, like I wasn’t important, like I wasn’t beautiful, like something was wrong with me, like I was defective. They projected their own deficits onto me.

When will I finally believe that I am enough and that those were lies and that I am worthy and that I’m loved and that nobody’s looking at my outfit and my clothes or judging me and thinking I’m less than or gro Nobody’s looking at me the way I’m looking at myself with this self-critical judgmental eye.

I know today that I just need to breathe and focus on getting centered. Usually, exercise helps me make it out of this mental state. Writing helps me get out of this mental state. Recovery meetings help me get out of this mental state. Church helps me get out of this mental state. I know that I need to find people in my life that I can be friends with and connect with and a lot of times I feel like an orphan because I don’t have family around but I spend so much time feeling lonely and grief and insignificant that I don’t get to see the beauty and enjoyment that I could be utilizing in my life. I know that our mental state has a lot to do with our outlook on life and something is going on with me and money and it always has been. I need to get to the root of it so that I can overcome these feelings of lack and being in a deficit.

I have more than enough. I am abundant. I have plenty, but I choose to see what others have that I want. I choose to compare myself to others but no longer. I pray Lord that I can sell a lot of books. That I will bring in monetary advancement and that you can trust me with money. I won’t fail you. I won’t overspend it but we know in my heart that if I have it I will spend it. I’ll keep seeing more and more and more things that I need and that I think I want, but Lord I need you to guide me to show me my worth to show me I’m valuable. I am a daughter of yours. I’m not alone as long as I feel I’m not alone. I think many times I want to buy my son gifts so that he’ll know that he is loved, but we know that material things don’t prove to children that we love them.

When I was a kid I didn’t feel loved enough or nurtured enough but maybe when I got a gift here and there it made me feel valued and worthy and so now I need to give myself gifts all of the time. I feel tired. I feel defeated. I feel it every time the holidays come. I struggle.

I feel angry at Black Friday. I feel angry at the advertisements. I feel angry at the millions of people that go into debt every year just to prove that they can buy gifts for their families.

I’ve never done a Black Friday and I never will, but the frenzy that’s in the air in the grocery stores and in the shops-it's a fast-paced craziness. The buy, buy, buy mentality amps me up and makes me feel anxious. I can’t help but feel it. I can’t help but feel that I need more when the ads start coming. I know that I need to find a mindful place, a place where I can find peace and calm and solace. I put my hand over my heart and know that I am enough. I know that I can do yoga or tapping or talk to someone or write and take a walk and go to the gym.

I can release these feelings and these emotions that are so strong and prevalent in me. I know that I have a choice. I know that I don’t need to go buy things and that’s the struggle that I’m in right now, knowing that I don’t have money. I can’t buy things, but if I did I know that I would and it would be fun. I would enjoy it. I would love going and spending money and buying things for people, but the truth is my situation is one that I can pay my bills and have a little leftover.

Christmas every year is daunting to us, we never know how we’re going to buy gifts for our family and we hardly buy anything. Even the food and the extra groceries or activities cost more than we can usually afford. It seems like we are the only ones that are broke all the time. I don’t have enough money but we spend plenty of money on food and groceries and gas and bills and mortgage and car payment and a student loan. It’s not that we are poor it’s just that I see things that I want and I can’t afford and it makes me feel a lack. But if I truly had some perspective of how lucky I am and how grateful I should be for the things I have including a roof over my head food to eat and a car to drive and healthy children and my own health and even medical insurance and I wouldn’t feel so needy and grab like a spoiled kid in a candy shop. I’m expecting clothes and shoes and things to fill me up and give me worth to give me value to make me who I am because I don’t know my own intrinsic worth.

So I go to a meeting to be reminded. I take time away to be reminded that I’ve been giving too much and that I need a break and I need to take care of myself. I need to love my own self. I need to be my own loving parent. I need to show myself right from wrong and good from bad, yes from no, and wants versus needs are a real thing.

I am a grown-up woman and I can act like one. I can be mature and I can pay my bills before I buy things by myself. I want more, more, more but then I also claim to be somewhat of a minimalist so where does that lineup in my values?

I get nervous and anxious about going to new places and sometimes that makes me feel like I need a new outfit or something new so then I can impress the people that I’m going to see. Maybe most women are like that? maybe men are like that? I recently heard of women at work that have packages shipped to work instead of home so their husbands can't see and I’ve never done that so am I really that bad? I don’t have any credit cards so am I really that bad? Maybe I’m being too hard on myself?

*This was a recording on my notes app from my phone as I was driving and talking. I've been noticing lately I start off really anxious and as I continue to talk myself through I find peace. It's interesting to see my voice in written words and to go back through to see what I was speaking about. Hope it helps someone who may struggle in a similar way. Xoxo


About the Creator

Melissa Steussy

Author of Let Your Privates Breathe-Breaking the Cycle of Addiction and Family Dysfunction. Available at The Black Hat Press:

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