Return The Master

A friend of mine recently shared a cup of coffee–and a confession–that I think offers a way for anyone to address a problem.

The woman in question had a problem with shopping. Not an uncommon one, and one that many people manage with varying degrees of success. Still, compulsive spending is a huge problem in America, and the damage it does to individuals and families can be beyond the obvious financial impact. When she realized that her spending–the time  and money spent in retail stores and making compulsive late night online purchases–was hurting her marriage and her family, she went cold turkey with rock hard resolve.

Being from sturdy New England stock, she pragmatically stopped the behavior immediately and then, in the following weeks and months that followed, searched for the underlying causes behind it. She then dealt with the real issues head on, painful as it probably was. She didn’t share with me what was motivating the constant consumption, but she did make clear that her priorities, her finances, and her life, were all back in order.

“Of course, I still shop, but only when I need to,” she concluded bluntly. “I had to step completely away from it for a long time, to the point where my husband was buying the kids’ clothes and handling the household money. I was not in control. I was a slave to it, and I had to escape. The difference is, now I’ve returned the master.”




2 thoughts on “Return The Master

  1. I can relate. Even I, a certified OMG, went through a brief period in my younger days when I bought a lot of stuff, clothes mostly, just because I could. But that was a long time ago and those days are well behind me. There are certain supplies that get used up and need to be replenished; things like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, kleenex, paper towels and laundry detergent, but that’s almost all I buy now. I have no interest in keeping up with the latest fashions and the idea of shopping as recreation seems ridiculous.

    The last line, “now I’ve returned the master” reminds me of a scene in Brideshead Revisited where Charles Ryder is talking to his father. The father, who is an OMG, is trying to pass on some old money lessons to his son and he says “You mustn’t let money become your master”.

    None of us are born knowing this stuff. We all need to learn.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.