Almost anyone who struggles with an eating disorder or really any addiction is familiar with how we can switch obsessions. If we are not drinking, we are eating. If we are not eating, we are smoking. If we are not working, we are drinking. On and on.
Spending is one of the favorite “go to” switches for those with eating disorders. In fact, some studies show that many seeking recovery from eating disorders have either alcoholism or sexual abuse in their childhood experiences. Because of this, poverty can be a stressor from growing up in an alcoholic family or, on the flip side, a family member may use gifts to secure illicit favors from their child victim. Compulsive spenders report feeling in power, getting a “high” as a stress relief, or needing to “escape” – all of which can be effects from feeling powerless as children. One woman said that, unlike gambling, at least she knew what she had spent the money on and had something to show for it.
Even when these are not factors, in our consumer based materialistic culture, money is probably one of the most misunderstood and emotionally charged experiences
You have to understand I consider myself the Forest Gumpess of my Midwestern city. I say this because of the critical intersections of my life with the leaders of the city that, even though they are unknown to the vast majority, were still part of major movements at the time. I worked with a Congress on Racial Equality leader, an early civil rights attorney, a police community relations trailblazer acknowledged by the White House, conferenced with two mayors and the director of municipal corrections. Helped another social services leader get her community projects off the ground before she was nominated to the President’s Council on Volunteers. After the riots, organized mediation between the business owners and the residents, helped parents lobby for changes at the largest high school, organized fundamental changes in the way the school board was elected, and garnered community members for boards of Model Cities, urban renewal, and other governmental programs. I worked on the model for Habitat for Humanity before it was Habitat and helped another trailblazer push fair housing before it was the law. I worked with the human relations commissions of both cities and helped integrate a neighborhood. I kept a lookout over the property where a prominent leader built his cultural center while I worked at City Hall so I could notify him of any Planning and Zoning potential threats to the property.