Support groups exist for many serious addictions, and overspending tendencies are no exception. Overspenders anonymous is one such support group for individuals who make purchases on impulse or emotion and who spend more money than is earned. Sometimes compared with debtors anonymous, this religious-based help group is designed to help offenders recognize the triggers that might send individuals on shopping sprees for needless items when there are bills yet to be paid.
The support group for overspenders is designed similarly to the alcoholics anonymous program by including 12 steps to recovery. The similarities between the two programs include an acknowledgment that help from a higher power is needed to recover from the compulsion of overspending just as it is called upon by alcoholics. Other steps toward recovery include admitting that there is a problem, examining the moral implications of indulging, and apologizing to any individuals or parties that might have been hurt as a result of an individual's addiction.
Individuals who make purchases based on emotions and who may rely on adrenaline highs received after buying items would qualify for an overspenders anonymous program. When purchases are used to reward one's self to an extreme, this might also qualify someone for this type of recovery program. Psychologists suggest that overspenders anonymous members might use spending money by covering a meal check with someone else, for instance, as a way to gain friendship and acceptance. Another sure sign of someone who is in need of help is the behavior of hiding purchases and shopping bags from other people.
The frequency with which overspenders anonymous meetings occur varies depending on the organizer and the location, but the recommendation is for addicts to attend weekly gatherings. It's possible that support might only be available through the Internet or even in books and other publications if an individual does not live in close proximity to meetings. There are individual chapters, however, that are organized throughout the U.S. and internationally, including places such as New Zealand. Scheduling for meetings changes and depends on the region, and an Internet search should provide a listing of the latest events.
Like alcoholics anonymous, shopping addicts are urged to appoint another recovering overspender, who has been through a successful recovery, as a sponsor. It is also recommended that spending addicts ask other trusted individuals to shop on behalf of the offender. These tips are all part of the overspenders anonymous program.