“April Benson’s Stopping Overshopping Program has changed my life. By helping me become aware of the roots of my money behavior and by fostering compassion for myself, it has freed me from the burdens of guilt and shame. By leading me on a journey into myself, it has brought me authenticity with others.
To be sure, the Program is challenging. The workbook exercises—stages of the journey into the self—are deep and intimate, and sometimes emotionally difficult. Staying with them took discipline and will power. How rewarding it is, though, to see clearly and non-judgmentally into the hows and whys of my own unhealthy behavior! This awareness now radiates into every corner of my life, clarifying my career goals and transforming my personal relationships. Along with it, also because of the Program, has come an acknowledgment and embrace of my particular qualities and skills, the gifts with which I can constructively engage the world.
I feel as if I’ve come out from under an enormous, gloomy cloud. I’m excited about moving on with my life, more real and alive with everyone and everything than I’ve been in a very long time.”
C. B., New York, New York
“Bless your presence in my life once again. Yesterday, I almost slipped and put a cashmere sweater on layaway. I took a pause, went home and looked at what I currently had and then sat myself down in front of your website. I listened again to all of your radio and television engagements. Not only did your advice encourage me to ask the six questions and evaluate how much I really “needed” this garment… just hearing your voice was healing. I also wanted to let you know that life is very good and I say a gratitude prayer each morning and share it with my husband each evening. Last year at this time my marriage was at its most fragile point and I am grateful for how my life is unfolding. Life feels so much richer and more meaningful; I am rarely feeling empty or lonely these days.I have no personal debts and money in the bank. I haven’t used a store credit card since 2005.”
S.B., New York
“I want in so many ways to let you know how important you and your program have been to me. You provided a warm place to land with real help and no recriminations—ever! I needed something that dealt with money and also got to me at my core. I learned so much. I read your book like it was champagne. I just couldn’t read it fast enough. I read it twice. I marked it up. It was like reading an autobiographical novel. I learned so much from the exercises of the program and the warm uplifting talks we had. I learned to use tools that I never knew were out there, like meditation and the Sunup to Sundown Spending Summary.
What you have is a godsend for people like me and I can only believe there are still thousands out there you need to be there for. There was just nothing else out there like it. I feel that it’s at the core of my soul that I changed. I am a very different person today, thanks to you.”
L.S., Sandusky, OH
“Working with you on compulsive shopping was most helpful. Through the exercises, I was able to see for the first time that I was seeking the approval of others through buying.
From the coursework and my shopping journal, I became aware that impulsivity was a lot of the problem. Taking “shopping breaks” − having things put on hold − was a very effective technique to counter my impulsivity; it gave me time to evaluate things calmly.
Through the group and your personal help, I became aware of my interior self and began to question exactly what I was trying to accomplish through shopping. The answers ranged from sadness to boredom to a lack of self-esteem that I sought to find by shopping. Now shopping is a pleasurable, carefully thought out plan, fulfilling and not disappointing.”
T. S., Houston, TX
“April Benson’s course is highly valuable. It broadened my horizons. It opened my eyes to why I overshop and gave me the tools to stop doing it. The course was wonderful–concise and meaty. April Benson is a dynamic speaker, and her materials and exercises and groupwork combine joy and seriousness.”
M. F., New Jersey
“I want to thank you for your understanding and compassion in dealing with my compulsive shopping/spending problem; I’ve searched for a long time to find someone or something that would help me overcome it. I found both those things in you and the group that you run. You and the group members helped me gain insights into my behavior and provided me with valuable tools for overcoming the compulsion to shop. The skills I developed in your group are helping me to grow and learn and gain more control over my compulsive shopping.”
G. G., New York
“Dr. Benson is a warm and caring person who offers practical solutions to seemingly complicated shopping problems. She reaches out to each person as an individual and not as a textbook case.”
“I want to thank you for creating the assessment package that makes up Your Shopping Self-Portrait. I’d never seen myself as a problem shopper. After all, I had no clothes in the closet with tags on them, no items stacked for return, no credit card debt, no feelings of guilt—none, in short, of the familiar indicators. But after completing your self-assessment suite and creating my shopping profile, I recognized an arena in my life where shopping was taking the place of other needs.
Whenever I took vacations, went away on business, or traveled to visit friends, I’d buy and buy. Regional music, clothes, books, and a great deal more—all meant to remind me of the pleasure I experienced in those places. Now I asked myself what I was really buying. The answer was an eye-opener: there was stress at home I believed I needed to get away from.
This awareness led to two commitments. First, to deal with, rather than escape from, the stress at home. And second, to enjoy my getaway experiences more deeply in the moment rather than shopping to somehow bring them home with me. Again, thank you! You’ve taught me that shopping can be an unhealthy way of dealing with issues that have nothing nothing to do with money or “stuff” and everything to do with who I am and how I live my life.”
L.L., Benecia, California
“I’ve learned more about myself and my addiction in the last twelve weeks than I ever thought possible. Breaking down the experience into small steps, really understanding my emotional state and how it impacted my addiction—these were vital for my healing. So were the honesty and steadiness and non-judgmental support of my group members. April guided it all, melding warmth, clarity, and the setting of realistic goals. I know now that my “feast or famine” approach often fails me, and that a realistic spending plan will be critical for me going forward.”
K.C., New York, New York
“I feel blessed to have found this program, where I discovered (or had confirmed) so many things. After twenty-five years of doing it, I’m still amazed at how addictive overshopping really is. Though I had always rationalized my purchases as “deserved,” I hid them from my husband. In the group, I abandoned this denial—my first major victory. (I couldn’t have done it without the insight and kindness of my group members.) I feel many things now—optimism that I can do it, fear that I won’t. I’m proudest of completing the Daily Weigh-Ins. Although I’m a little behind with them, it’s a practice I intend to continue for the rest of my life.”
S.T., Minneapolis, Minnesota
“I just wanted to say that your program changed my life. Instead of being bogged down my overshopping which is such a time consuming and emotional event, I have more time and I am enjoying little things more then ever before. Possibly for the first time in my life so thanks. I have purchased a few things that I need, might have delayed but overall, my feeling of hope is spiralling me towards new and better things then spending.”
MJF, New Jersey
“I have suffered from an addiction to hoarding for most of my adult life and wanted to let you know how much your posts on overshopping have helped me. They’ve made it clear to me that my collecting/saving behavior parallels very closely what you say about overshopping: I too “overshop,” but in my case the ‘shopping’ involves picking things off the side of the road rather than from the stores. Here in Australia we have a local government program called Curbside Cleanup that authorizes people to put all their unwanted items (with some restrictions) out on the curb as rubbish. The Cleanup goes from suburb to suburb throughout the year, and people like me go around “saving” things that would otherwise end up as landfill. For years I prided myself on being frugal and for my environmental efforts in recycling. I’m still proud of those aspects of my efforts. What I am not proud of is my cluttered living environment. I’ve also realized how driven my treasure hunting has been – the equivalent of ‘shop til you drop’ – and how destructive it has become to my family life and safety.
I was already becoming aware of the addictive patterns in my behavior when I came across your work, but what you’ve written has allowed me to clarify some of the underlying dimensions of my habit. Thank You! I found particular illuminating your reference to “needing to be able to sit with your anxiety.” Again, thanks for your work. You are reaching a far wider group of people than you may in fact realize.””
Jessie Morwood, Brisbane, Australia
“I kept looking at April’s web site for over a year. At the time the free group phone call was offered, I felt so low about myself and my overshopping that I was desperate for help. On the call, I felt such confidence in Carla’s ability that I signed up for the workshop—and I never regretted it for a moment. April makes it easy to succeed if you follow her kind and supportive advice. I’m not the same person who started the course; I now have respect for myself and have learned to be mindful. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to stop the suffering and low self esteem caused by overshopping.”
B, G. Vancover, Canada
“I heard about April by surfing the web and finding her web site. I was trying to find information about my compulsive shopping of clothes and shoes. I just couldn’t understand why I kept buying and buying when my closets were already so full. Most of the clothes I never even wore or would wear only one time. I felt so out of control. I went through two of April’s preliminary information calls, but kept telling myself the program was too expensive. Then a few months later I’d add up all I had spent on clothes since the call—and it was usually more than I would have spent on the program. I finally decided to go through the twelve week course. I felt like I had to do something, I was desperate to gain control of this area of my life. I am so glad I made that decision! It’s the best thing I have done to help me overcome my shopping addiction. As we went through the book, a chapter at a time, I gradually came to understand why I shopped the way I did and how to overcome the compulsion. Hearing the others in the group share their own experiences was extremely helpful; I didn’t feel so isolated anymore; my secret was out. Being accountable to the group was vital and helped keep me on track. I would highly recommend the twelve week teleconference course to anyone with a shopping addiction.”
J. M., Oklahoma
“The group has been very helpful to me in many ways. The first was the opportunity to share my experience with all of you and not feel judged in any way. I have been ashamed to admit my overshopping problem to myself let alone anyone else. Even my therapist didn’t understand when I tried to explain to her. The group has helped me with specific strategies to overcome my behavior and I now find myself more mindful when I do shop. I have learned the reasons why I got started in the first place and how I could change my life. For me to have accomplished this during the Christmas season was more than I could have hoped for. I was actually able to understand why I have overshopped in the past and I felt like I was more in control this season. I feel like I have turned the corner in becoming the type of person I want to be. It is not always easy, but I feel like there is hope again. Thank you, Carla, for your guidance.”
J. F., Virginia
“I am grateful to have discovered the Stopping Overshopping Program and through using the book & journals as a self-help companion I have made significant changes in my shopping & spending behaviour. I have found that i can shop mindfully as i am aware of my triggers and can avoid unnecessary purchases with this new awareness. I am now enjoying a sense of freedom from the constant pull to acquire material items along with new found hope as my financial health is on the mend.I highly recommend this comprehensive and holistic program that is supported with excellent resources”.
ML Sydney, Australia
“The thrill of shopping is gone. I have been pretty good about my Lenten resolution of not shopping. I did have to exchange an item, but yesterday I stopped in and looked around and just had no interest. I think I have just “shopped myself out”. Mainly I don’t like what I had become: being valued for what I wore from top stores. I don’t need that anymore. And I owe that to your help for which I can never thank you enough. I feel so different, so relaxed and unburdened. My Master Card dropped 66% in one month.“
S.T., Houston, Texas
“Several years of daily internet shopping had me feeling distressed and out of control. Finding April and completing her telephone support group quickly got me off the hook. The systematic and comprehensive approach really “gets” the overshopping compulsion. It also—and very helpfully—tracks the stages in the struggle to overcome that compulsion. The writing and exercises addressed my habit at every level: emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual. Six months later, I feel in control on the internet. At last, I’ve developed a happy and healthy relation to shopping.”
J. E., Los Angeles
“I really value all I learned from you. Shopping is just not something I want to do on a daily basis anymore! Most often I’m stopped by asking: where will I put it? I’m more concerned about getting control of the mass of stuff that I already have, which I’m gradually learning to unload. Slowly but surely, I’m developing the patience to alter (and take care of) the clothing I already have. Also not to expect too much from clothes; they’re just not that important! And if I want to look good, no better way than to take care of myself, exercise, and eat well. I’ve lost 15 lbs. since I was in our group and I exercise every day now! I”ve gradually gained a better understanding that those shopping cravings can be quieted. Thank you for everything!”
M. A., New York City