Addiction: the continued repetition of behaviour despite adverse consequences


Being a student with an addiction to spending is like being a vegetarian with a craving for meat. Both equally incoherent and very inconvenient.I write this from my Antarctic front room, cold and hungry with 20p ASDA noodles (which I’m horrified to say were 11p last month) planned as my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next few weeks. How did you get in this situation you may ask? Addiction. Reckless, unruly addiction. The answer of many a homeless person (which I basically am/on my way to) and the cause of all evil. Kind of. Drink? Drugs? No. This is far worse. I’m talking money. Cold, hard dosh and I can’t get enough of it.

Drink and drug addictions are glamourized, pinned to rock icons and soul legends who all share their deep, talented souls in the 27 club. But an addiction to spending? That’s bad. Shallow and greedy, it’s not an addiction, but seen as a dirty habit stemmed from a lack of self-control. Which is all true of course, but it’s an addiction all the same and really should be dealt with sympathy.

Even now after two days of budgeting, I am suffering from withdrawal symptoms. My whole body shakes - which could be because I can’t afford to put the gas on - and my head absolutely kills. My eyes dart back and forth looking for my debit card, any credit card and hopeful signs of discarded pennies. To outsiders it looks as though I am nervously tapping my fingers. But I know the truth – they are pressing invisible buttons, making the movement of my pin number on a card machine. Isn’t this the sign of somebody who needs help?

I wasn’t always like this. I led a happy, carefree childhood, the type of girl who preferred reading books to shopping. But then the books became magazines, and the pages of writing were replaced by pages of adverts. Beautiful models smiled at me from the glossy sheets, promising me that I could look like them if I bought what they had. Beauty writers said that all I needed was this one wonder-product and my life would be complete. They sold me a dream and I bought the lies. Moving to uni meant that all of a sudden there was no-one there to check what I was spending, or to tell me to return unnecessary items and more importantly, it gave me my student loan. Bingo. Card in hand, my Barclays VISA and I soon became inseparable, only ever parting as I handed her over to the shop assistant on our daily Topshop visits.

I was living in a dream world, a land where I was a Sex in the City girl drinking Cosmopolitans whilst carrying beautiful paper bags with equally beautiful clothes inside them. But reality hit when I checked my bank balance for the first time since my loan went in: I was simply a broke student living in Southampton with £27 pound to live off until my next loan. The first few days after this happened, the veracity of what I had done hit home. How could I have been so stupid? I had no money and nothing to show for it. I vowed to change my ways completely, never to buy a single item of clothing again and to be especially savvy with my food shopping. The next day I succeeded in doing my entire weeks shopping for just £9 and even managed a night out for free. But then in a moment of weakness, I bought a KFC, a stash of chocolate and a lemon. And now here I am. A broke student living in Southampton, with £4 until my next loan.

 Rather than continue to sit around in a state of despair, I have decided to compose a list of what good has come out of this. Every cloud has a silver lining after all (although it would be nice if that lining was made up of silver coins). Firstly, I think we can all agree that I have learnt a vital life lesson here. The value of money is something my mum will be thrilled to know I have learnt, albeit the hard way. Being unable to ask my parents for help has definitely made me more independent, so I’m halfway there on being a Sex and the City girl. Secondly, this should mean that next term I hopefully won’t be making the same mistake as I’ve realised how much unnecessary money I waste. e of money is something, ith my food shop

And finally making mistakes and learning from them is part of student life and growing up. Going a bit crazy while you’re young is something that we can look back and laugh at when we’re old and wise. I’m not saying we should specifically do stupid things so that our future selves have something to crack at, but hey, if it means I’m still laughing when I’m 50 then that’s good enough for me.

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  1. I totally hear you, as a broke student also in Southampton I'm now into my overdraft! My loan's minimal anyway so I just tell myself I'd rather enjoy myself and be in my overdraft than be miserable budgeting my last £100 after bills to last me until my next month. Nuh-uh, nobody ain't got time for that! xx

  2. Outstanding piece of journalism, ...........amazing, schmazing writing at its best, quirky, funny and sad but true..................................................... u go gurl.............................