I am a 31yo female that has stolen from the age of four. I have never planned to go to the store just to steal. I will be in a store and just stick things in my pocket, purse, diaper bag, etc. It is not for the rush or for monetary value. When I realize I have already hidden the merchandise I feel sick and scared. Earlier this year I was caught shoplifting for the 1st time. Then I was caught in November. Seeking mental help, and counseling. Need a friendly ear to help you addiction.
There is something that triggers this action. Only a good and a professional therapist will help you to end this problem. There are also online professional therapists, do a good research. Wishing you to feel better soon.
Hi Jen! It's great that you're seeking support. Addiction in general and kleptomania in particular are (from my experience) extremely difficult (if not absolutely impossible) to conquer on your own. I have been struggling with kleptomania since I was five, and if you're anything like me it was and is triggered by stressful times in your life, but eventually it gets easier and easier until you can't even keep track of what you've stolen anymore.
One thing that sets kleptomania aside from other types of theft (and makes it not just a convenient excuse for shoplifting) is the monetary value of the things you steal. A trademark of kleptomania is that you are not stealing for financial gain or because you particularly need the things you are stealing. There has not been a whole lot of research done on kleptomania (which is one of the reasons that this type of addiction has such a stigma), but I can tell you from personal experience that when I stole it was to exercise control on my situation.
There are three things that were and are essential to my personal recovery from this terrible disorder. This is the first advice that I would give anyone who is struggling with kleptomania.
1) Seek professional counseling. I will be glad to be your listening ear, or your shoulder to lean on, or whatever I can, but nothing can compare to the professional training of a therapist.
Chances are, you won't be able to find a counselor in your area who specializes in kleptomania. Like I said, there's not a lot of research that's been done, and it's not a very common disorder, and so a lot of professionals are not trained to treat it. But don't worry! As long as your therapist has experience in stress and anxiety disorders, or compulsive disorders particularly (kleptomania is classified as a "compulsive disorder" and falls under the category of OCD), he or she should be able to help you. When I first started meeting with my counselor, she has to do some research before she could really help me, but she has been a God-send in my recovery.
If you have trouble paying for a counselor, talk to your church, your doctor, and/or your community's mental health program. There are a lot of resources to get counseling for those that need it.
2) The second thing that was absolutely ESSENTIAL to my recovery was a support group. Getting a support group is the HARDEST STEP YOU WILL HAVE TO TAKE. I encourage you not to take this lightly. A professional counselor is just that - a professional. She has seen much worse than you can show her. But your support group is made up of family and/or friends that you trust and who trust you, and baring your soul for their potential judgement takes a lot of strength.
3) The third thing that you will need is (as AA says) "faith in a higher power." I thought, when I first started recovering, that I would automatically become closer to God when I stopped stealing, but instead I found that I was further and further away, and that I had to seek Him out. But for me, my faith has helped me each and every day, especially when it comes to the fact that no matter what I do on earth, He is the only one who decides whether or not I get into heaven.
If you're not a Christian, or do not share my faith, please do not disregard the first two things because we disagree! Don't let my advice and my recovery be tainted by a difference of faith. Just let me know how you feel and I won't bring it up again. :)
On the subject of court and shoplifting: Will there be any legal action taken against you? If you can give me some more information as to what happened I would be glad to be that ear you needed, and perhaps I have some experiences that I can share as well.
I hope this helps.