I am a Miner’s Girl and I am a shopaholic.

Or rather I was a shopaholic. Not in a maxing-out-all-of-my credit-cards-on-expensive-shoes kind of way (although I have definitely bought shoes that I really couldn’t afford), but more in a,can and will shop anywhere, anytime kind of way.

But this year, I’ve changed. I’m shunning those racks of snuggly, soft winter woolies, slinky dresses and shiny shoes. I am ignoring the smell of buttery soft new leather and the luxurious perfume counter. I am not missing the weight of shopping bags, stiff and new with the promise of something pretty inside (honestly).

Each year for the past three years I have chosen to adopt a cause, picked something I care about and decided that this is my year to make a difference. For example two years ago I decided that I was going to stop using chemical cleaning products (this is where someone will pedantically point out that water is a chemical, but you know what I mean) and last year I gave up buying any beauty products that didn’t state they were not tested on animals on the label.

At the start of this year after returning home from the UK with a suitcase packed full of new purchases, I turned on the radio whilst unpacking, only to come across a program titled ‘Can Choosing to Live with Less Make You Happier?’ and I looked at all my shiny new purchases crammed into my wardrobe and thought, do I really need these?

Now, I am not about to get all preachy and rant on about the fact that everyone should stop shopping, or get all hippy dippy about how I feel so much more ‘free’ without the constraints of shopping, but six months in I need to share this story before I crack like my old leather boots.

The program touched on the obvious economic and environmental aspects of saving both money, (always tempting) and the planet (which we all think would be nice to do), but also looked at psychological issues such as hoarding or shopping addiction, and as I listened it started to dawn on me that I had a problem. Like I said, not a huge problem affecting my life and relationships – I wasn’t selling my vital organs in order to buy Chanel and Gucci – but I was definitely developing a little dependency.

Over the last few years I had come to notice a correlation between Mr Miner being at work and my shopping habit. I would shop because I was bored and it gave me something to do, but also because it was a little thrill that made me feel better and I would reason that because he was away and I was on my own, I deserved a treat.

It could be anything from a new jacket to a fancy moisturiser, but my go to treats were lingerie and pyjamas. I mean lingerie is an essential, right? And when your other half is away you need something nice for when they get home, plus it makes me feel good. Almost as good as it feels to have a bath and cover myself in moisturiser and new pyjamas, before curling up and treating myself to a girly movie when I’m all alone.

But then the guilt would come… I probably shouldn’t have spent that much on things I don’t really need. Should I take something back? Perhaps the pyjamas, I mean how many pairs of pyjamas does one person need? But… they’re so pretty, my favourite colour and so, so soft… plus it’s cold and I haven’t bought any new ones for at least a month. After all I’m saving money staying in ALONE tonight. I deserve a treat. I can live on soup and toast for the rest of the week. Perhaps after I get a take away tonight. How much do you have to order for them to deliver? I’ll probably have to buy extra. I’m sad, I definitely need my pyjamas… and perhaps a new fancy moisturiser for after my bath… and maybe a DVD…. And so it goes on.

And I don’t want to sound flippant, I mean I’m not drowning my sorrows in drink or drugs, but I can understand how easily I could do that. Treating yourself to a nice red wine because it’s Friday night and you’re home alone, but there’s none open so you’ll have to open a bottle and now it’s open you might as well finish it. And the next night you feel guilty, but why should you? This is normal. Open another bottle. And so it goes on.

So despite the fact that it is winter and I have bought no new clothes for six months and those fluffy pyjamas are crying out to me, I am determined to make it to the one year mark, by which point I’ll no longer need them anyway.

If you or someone you know need help with addiction, please contact Lifeline.