Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Constant Craving

with 5 comments

Total Black: $1,084.44
Total Red: $228,537.79

Nope.  Not a post about k.d.  Although I did think about uploading that song—that is, until I googled the lyrics.   Odd.  At any rate, all day today I had these crazy bouts of spending urges.

“Buy a coffee on the walk to work,” my head told me.  “Go out and grab something to eat,” I heard.  Even on the walk to the theatre tonight for a 7pm shift, I felt an urge to stop by Starbucks first.  I had to tell myself, “You’re not hungry or thirsty. Keep moving.”  It was as if there were two mes in me.  Guess that’s where those cartoon images of good and bad angels came from.  I was nearly 100% successful.  After the theatre shift, I returned to the contract attorney position for a few more hours.  (Till 1:30am actually.)  On the walk back I grabbed two slices of pizza at this $1 slice place.

This has been happening for a few days.  Last night, for example, as I walked home, “It’s cold.  Fries would warm you up,” I’d hear.   Or earlier in the day: “You just came from the gym.  Go get a Gatorade.  Need to replenish those electrolytes!”  What I found disturbing about these sporadic “snack attacks”—or perhaps better dubbed “spend attacks”—is how random and intense they were.  I felt as if I were battling Burger King or McDonald’s for control of my soul.

I’m steadily making progress through Mind Over Money by Brad & Ted Klontz.   In the first chapter they discuss the compulsive urges people feel to alleviate stress or anxiety with some sort of soothing balm: eating for some, sex for a few, shopping too.  If I’m able to control any urges I’m having, it can’t be compulsive.  But that’s now.  Previously when money flow ran more freely, checking those urges were not a concern.  Now, however, I’m curious to learn triggers.  For example, I’ve stopped a few times at McDonald’s or Burger King after midnight on the walk home from work.  It’s relatively cheap, and one of the few places open quite late in this purportedly-sleepless city.  But sometimes I’m not hungry.  But leaving work, to return to my empty cupboards, to my messy apartment (who has time to clean when working over ten to twelve hours a day, six days a week?), and to my mailbox where any manner of doom and gloom might await . . . well . . . yeah, it stresses me out.  And according to the Klontzes, spending money alleviates that anxiety for a bit.  Plus stuffing fries down your throat definitely distracts from anything else.

So I’m seeing a few instances, trigger settings so to speak, where something sets me to spending.  Now just to keep that tape on record.  As the Klontzes reference in their book, even people who’ve had near-death experiences—bypass surgery, survived a crash—few really make meaningful life changes.

Change is hard.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

February 12, 2010 at 23:23

5 Responses

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  1. Listen Fool, wacha doing stuffing your face with crappy foods!! How are you going to find a rich boyfriend if you look like a crack ho?? Looks can go a long way to help eliminating that debt. You may find a sugar daddy, or even a better job. Don’t disfigure yourself trying to eliminate that debt – work [and eat] smart!!

    Prince Michael III

    February 13, 2010 at 13:36

  2. Prince Michael III is right. No one wants to hang out with ugly people. Sad truth!! Yes, I too have cravings – if I am going through a particularly bad cycle I indulge myself for a few days, gross myself out and then suddenly end it and de-toxify with fruits and veggie juices and running.

    Most of the last year I had managed my stress well because it was related to a job. I indulged only once a week – usually on the weekend. But more recently because of family illness – which is harder to deal with – I have been eating a lot more crap primarily ice cream. I let myself go for a few days – because I REALLY REALLY needed it – the fat in it numbs me [I used to drink but don’t like the hangover headaches but am now back on veggies and exercise. [When I go on interviews no one gives a crap that maybe I look ugly because of some crisis in my personal life – no sireee – they just sit back on their fat ass and judge me on on what they see].

    We all have to give in every now and then – it’s good for the soul. Provided you make up for it.

    Change is not THAT hard – when you wake and and see a troll in the mirror – you know it’s time to make a change.


    February 13, 2010 at 13:52

  3. Self restraint for health and money reasons is great. However, I think you should be focusing more on the big picture. The $2000 rent is far more important than a 5$ latte.
    Maybe focusing on getting a roommate? Selling stuff on craigslist?


    February 13, 2010 at 17:01

  4. Cravings are hard. But it’s possible to change your tastebuds slowly and over time. After months of eating more fruits, veggies and juicing, I find most junk food repulsive to my senses. I still have certain weaknessness though, but hey, u gotta learn to walk before you can run and so forth…

    Nice blog, btw. I can’t imagine ever doing a tally of my finances like that for the world (and myself!) to see. You’re a brave man.


    February 13, 2010 at 23:04

  5. Don’t kill yourself over treating yourself to some junk food. Although it may be a nice symbolic gesture toward abolishing your debt, buying a Gatorade or spending $4 on a slice of pizza doesn’t seem like it will make a difference in the grand scheme of things. “Impulse” buying a latte is not really what got you into this mess. In any event, I think there is some value in buying this stuff – just to keep you sane.


    February 14, 2010 at 12:23

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