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Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

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Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby sugarloaf » Fri May 27, 2011 9:36 pm

I am a 27 year old female. I come from a fairly moral family and am college educated. I know the difference between right and wrong, yet I am a shoplifter...and can NOT stop! I've been shoplifting on and off since I was in college and have been doing it VERY consistently for the past 2 years. I've been laid off from my job for a year and a half now and will be going to graduate school in the fall. My old business partner has also taken $10K from me so obviously I'm having some issues with money at this point in my life. I am very nervous about graduate school and whether or not I will have enough money to live during the next 2 years of my life.

Today I got caught shoplifting some food from the grocery store. They photocopied my ID and let me go telling me to never return. The man was very respectful to me, which made me feel even more awful. This is the second time I got caught and I sincerely hope that THIS will be my wake up call. The 1st time I got caught was also at a grocery store. I went to church awhile after that hoping that God could help me, but I just started shoplifting again soon after. I want to say that I steal for the rush of it b/c then it will make it seem like I am an adrenaline junkie or something better, but I think my main driver is that I want to save money - for school, for my future. So does this make me "cheap"?! I notice the urge to steal also comes stronger when I'm stressed out about money. I think I might still steal if I was working though. I'm not sure...it's been too long since I've had a job for me to remember or fathom what I'd do.

I've always prided myself with the fact that I don't drink, smoke, do drugs, gamble, have spending issues, eating disorders, etc...I'm just addicted to stealing and I don't know how to stop. My reasoning for it is that why pay for something when I can get it for free? It's hard to stop stealing when you do it and realize just how easy it is. It is an addiction...and it's got me in a choke hold. I feel like this addiction is more embarrassing than all the other addictions combined!! I mean, this is what 16 year old kids do at the mall, not someone like me!!

I feel that stealing is a very isolating addiction. It's something where I would feel too embarrassed to ask my friends or bf for help with. I live with my bf who doesn't know I shoplift. I've told him about my past and said I stopped since he's adamantly against stealing. We've had several discussions about this and it's obviously something he is extremely bothered by so I feel like I can't go to him for help.

I'm so glad I found this forum so I know that there are other ppl like me who have this issue. Thanks for reading, guys. It felt good to get this out and tell someone. Please let me know what steps you've done to rid yourself of this embarrassing and life ruining addiction!!
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby Chucky » Fri May 27, 2011 10:13 pm

Hey,

i also come from a 'moral' family, and I have no real problems with money. However, over a period of 2 years recently, I think that I must have stolen well over 1000 Euro worth of food. I live in the UK now, but when I stole things I was in my home country of Ireland (where the Euro is used). I was only caught once but that didn't stop me. The supermarket barred me for one year but I will never actually step foot in it again.

What changed me was myself... I also didn't want to be the type of person who wstole things, even if money was at times a little tight. I was preoccupied by the impending economic recession and that drove me to steal. However, I just told myself that I'd never steal anything again. Even if I went bankrupt, i'd never steal, because I didn't want to be that person. I subsequently told my mother and family and they were shocked. i'm generally a very soft-spoken, kind, and helpful person.

Kevin
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby sugarloaf » Fri May 27, 2011 10:36 pm

Thanks for responding, Kevin. I've been doing a lot of reading on shoplifting today and I feel a little bit better and feel that this time will be easier to stop. I understand that the change has to be made in YOU, and you obviously were able to overcome it, but my biggest gripe is not having a support system (ie friends or bf) to just listen and empathize.

I love to cook and a lot of my ingredients are stolen. I was looking up recipes online and started hyperventilating over how I could never make some of these dishes again due to the high price of the ingredients. This will be a new start. This sounds so silly, but I almost wish I had a hand to hold or a voice to console me while walking through the grocery store.

What was your "ah ha!" moment, Kevin? What led you to change? I hope that I have reached this "ah ha!" moment today, although I can already feel that itch come back when I was looking at recipes. I'm afraid of going back to a grocery store again bc I don't want to steal.
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby Chucky » Fri May 27, 2011 11:09 pm

Hey,

As a suggestion, could you try to find recipes that are specifically involve ingredients that are cheap? I'm sure that there are websites out there that have such things - this is the Internet, after all! A good idea about how to reach that 'ah ha!' moment is to keep introducing changes into your life. You could even go to different shops, for example, and always have it in your mind that you will not steal anything.

My 'ah ha!' moment was when I moved to England from Ireland. I vowed to never steal anything again once I had moved, and I have been here for nearly 2 years now without even an urge to steal

Kevin
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby EtherealStarlight » Fri May 27, 2011 11:33 pm

not that i have any experience with this, but...

why not have a friend, family member, or boyfriend come with you every time you shop? just talk to them, and stay with them the whole time so that you don't steal. that might get you out of the habit of doing it. also, try using a lot of coupons and buying generic brand stuff, you can live really cheaply that way.

i've also heard that writing down goals helps people to achieve them... maybe write on a sheet of paper, "i am not going to steal" every time you go out? (and throw the paper away... but yeah) and maybe try to keep your shopping trips as short as possible too...

if you still have a big problem, maybe try seeing a doctor about it?

i hope that helps....
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby sugarloaf » Sat May 28, 2011 3:19 am

All good ideas! I mean there was a time when I didn't shoplift - I would clip coupons, get generic brands and buy less stuff in general. It was just hard to accept that I have to go back to doing that again.

I've been really mulling over shoplifting and went to yoga to think things through and hopefully clear my mind. I actually started crying in the middle of class. I once read a book about a lady with a binge eating problem. One day she was reported to eat over 13,000 calories!! The author followed up with her at a later date and she was able to overcome her binge eating. She said she had a lot of issues going on in her life and she vowed to slowly tackle all of them one by one. I think that is what I have to do for this - not beat myself up over my past, vow to make a change and move on. Also, I will be moving to a new city and will be starting grad school in a month - a perfect opportunity to make a change in my life!

How did you guys deal with hiding or coming clean about shoplifting from your friends and family? My bf actually has a spending problem and is massively in debt, which, I think exacerbates my shoplifting problem. To correct my problem, I feel that I need to let him know how his actions/addictions are affecting me. I've tried to hint at it in the past, but he got really upset and doesn't see it as an addiction. He is VERY against stealing.

I found this link on the psychology of shoplifting and it really spoke to me: http://www.mindspring.com/~stancom/shop.html
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby Chucky » Sat May 28, 2011 9:39 pm

Hey,

I think that anyone's natural reaction to stealing is that it is 'wrong'. I mean, that's what we are taught as children. However, you and I both know that it can become addictive and have 'innocent' roots. I was easily able to conceal it from those in my life because - well - the stuff I stole was used o fuel my bulimia/binge-eating problem, so it was all gone within hours. 13,000 calories is probably what i put into my mouth during binges. I'm actually lean and healthy though, because a way to counteract each binge was to 'gym' off any calories that I had failed to empty from my stomach... enough said.

The money problem might be worsening the stealing, but tell yourself that that can never be used as an excuse. I find that if you devote enough thinking to these addictive behaviours (about how to overcome them), then you could do it.

It's all easier said than done though...

Kevin
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby sugarloaf » Sun May 29, 2011 12:02 am

OMG Kevin! I'm so glad you were able to overcome all this. I have so many questions for you!! First of all, what exactly did you eat that would be 13,000 calories?! Secondly, how did you stop binging and purging? I feel that bulimia can be comparable to shoplifting. With shoplifting you think to yourself "why should I buy this when I can just take the easy route and steal it?". With bulimia you think "why should I not eat this when I can just take the easy route and eat and purge?" It's almost like a cheating the system type of mentality.

I had an issue with binge eating previously and (mostly) cured myself by going on the paleo diet, where I cut out sugar and grains. I still consume dairy. I mean, just how much meat and veggies can you even binge on? It's pretty hard and the stuff I would normally binge on was calorie laden wheat-type snacks or desserts so I had no desire to overly consume steak or bacon. Since I was able to overcome binge eating, I feel that I should be able to overcome shoplifting. It's all about setting in the effort and focusing on this ONE problem.

Oh, btw, I finally got the courage to tell my bf. I was scared that he wouldn't understand and kick me out, but I think we'll actually be able to move on from this together. Thank you for the help and support!!
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby Chucky » Sun May 29, 2011 8:50 pm

Hi,

I think that you've got it right when you say that you must focus on this 'one' problem. There are no doubt other issues that you are facing in your life, but you must focus all efforts on this one only. In a sense, you let the other problems take their courses while you deal with the most dangerous/difficult one. Devoting thoughts each day to it - even when you are out walking - is a way to break it down and possibly arrive at a way of solving it.

The stuff I ate were generally small in size (physically) but were crammed with calories. I don't really want to list it all out because it's in my past and won't be repeated again.

I'm very happy that you told your boyfriend. Some support from a loved one is important, because many times they actually are the most 'dangerous' people to tell... They sometimes flat-out reject problems and even brush them under the carpet.

Take care
Kevin
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Re: Caught again! Will this finally be my wake up call?!

Postby blogger29 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:27 am

Hi everyone,
I wonder if this type of problem, happens to lots of people or just a few including me. I have had the same experience, and I really want to overcome this situation after being caught stealing my 1st time. It feels the worse, I know I wont do it again, it is not healthy and being caught actually made me stop right away. However, I dont know how to get over this embarraing experience and re start my life as a good citizen in society. How would you recommend to leave all behind to not do it again, and of course how should I do to feel better.
Please I need help, I feel the worse, and I have learned my lesson, however I still dont believe how I reach this point of my life for just mere of fun..
Please Help.
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