Reading the success stories and comments of others who have
stopped shoplifting can give understanding and hope to people who are struggling
with a shoplifting problem.
It is important for you to know, however,
that different people decide to stop shoplifting for different
reasons. You must choose your own reasons. For some, it is
to avoid future penalties from the criminal justice system
or from their job, family or friends. For others, it’s
realizing why they were shoplifting and how they were hurting
themselves and others. For others, it is a desire to end their
struggle to “resist the impulse”.
To help you choose your own reason to stop
shoplifting, NASP has quoted below some of the common reasons
stated by thousands of people who participate in one or more
of NASP’s programs each year. It is our hope that these
people’s comments will offer you added food-for-thought
in addition to reading the success stories which other people
may choose to share on this website.
“To stop hurting myself.”
“To regain my self-respect.”
“Because the reward is just not worth the risk.”
“I finally woke up to the reality that I was self-destructing.”
“I realize now that shoplifting is not the answer
to my problems.”
“If I get caught again, the judge will throw the
book at me. I donít want to end up behind bars.”
“I was lucky this time but I canít hurt my chances
of getting a good job.”
“I realized that shoplifting is only making my
life harder than it already is.”
“I donít want to keep living my life in fear of
“My husband told me that if I do it one more time
he would leave me and I donít want to destroy my marriage.”
“Shoplifting helped me to take back a little control
in my life but it started to control me. I couldnít let that happen.”
“I stopped shoplifting when I stopped obsessing
about never having enough money.”
“When I got angry, Iíd had to get even. Now I
know that I was just hurting myself.”
“I stopped getting the rush and began to feel
only guilt and shame for what I did.”
“I wanted to stop being afraid to go into stores.”
“Since I stopped shoplifting, I sometimes feel
the loss but I also feel the peace.”
“I always felt guilty spending money on myself
but now I know I deserve it.”
“Iíve lost a lot in my life and trying to make
up for it by shoplifting was causing me to lose more.”
“I used to give away the stuff I stole as a way
to receive more love and affection until I realized it was an old problem
for me about never feeling loved. I got help.”
“Seeing my mom crying and worried about me. I
donít want my family to go through the same thing again.”
“Listening to my friends caused me to make the
worst decision of my life. Iím going to take more responsibility for the decisions
“My grandmother was so disappointed in me. I have
to work hard to regain her trust.”
“I realize now how the choices I make today affect
“I will never shoplift again because I realized
how the stress from shoplifting has caused me health problems which I feel
is a punishment from God.”
“Knowing full well that what I did was wrong,
I still needed this type of program to really show me how bad it was getting
to be and what it could do to my life if I didnít quit. Truly, I had too much
“I finally came to accept that if I didnít stop
shoplifting it would lead to prison, insanity or death.”
“I got caught and arrested and that was the most traumatic experience in my life. I lost my urge after that but I then took the educational course offered by this org. and I am always aware of the risks and the consequences and the morality of shoplifting. I can never let my guard down, it means my life.”“I was caught shoplifting about a month ago. People from my school worked at the store at which I shoplifted at, which made it even worse. At that point, I was shoplifting multiple times per week. Mostly, it was due to the fact that our family has had very little money, and it's very stressing. So many of my friends, and people at my school, live on the lake, or in the "rich" community near-by and it was hard to deal with. I didn't, and still don't, believe in myself, and that's always been a problem. Shoplifting was something I could get away with, I could look like I had more money, and get the items I wanted without having to stress my parents for the money. I had never been caught.
Then I went to the local grocery store with my mom and brother, I had shoplifted from them so many times before, and gotten away with it. Why not once more? So I did, I shoplifted a bottle of Sally Hansen Nail Strengthener. I thought I was done, I was about to leave the store and everything was great...until a security officer stopped us at the entrance/exit. He took us upstairs. It was the most humiliating, degrading, horrifying moment of my life. I regret it SO much, honestly. My parents now have to pay a $200 fine for what I did, and I'm not allowed in ANY of their stores in the state for an entire year. If they find me in one, I will be arrested.
Now, that was a month ago. I haven't shoplifted since. I feel so much better about not doing it, however I still get that urge whenever I'm in a store. I hope you guys/girls who read this will stop. I seriously understand where you're at, if you haven't been caught, trust me, you will. I'm 16 and this might sound cheesy but I don't know what else I can say. I just really hope you'll read this and take it to heart. If you can't quit, get help, don't get yourself in too deep.
Don't think you're a bad person either. I was one of the least likely people who'd think would shoplift. I'm a 3rd year member of my high school Drill Team, AP/honors student with a 3.3 GPA, perfectionist, in band, love to sing, officer in Key Club International and the over-achiever of the family. No, I'm not trying to brag, I have so many problems, it's crazy. I can't tell you my last full week at school, because I've been gone so much, you don't even know. I struggle with Anorexia, but you definitely couldn't tell.
Now, my point in telling you ALL of this? I'll restate it, to get you to either get help, or resist the urge before it's too late. I almost got a criminal record, that means no jobs...and when you have to pay for insurance...that won't work. If you get caught you WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH IT. THEY WILL NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOU. I hope this helped.”“Shoplifting made me feel so bad as a person. It got to the point were I was stealing personal hygeine things. Not even things I simply just wanted but needed. I got away with shoplifting so many times and when I did finally get caught it made me so sick. What kind of person does that. It made me ashamed of the person I had become and the person I was never going to be becase of this. The only thing that got me through getting caught was my boyfriend. He told me he would always love me but still made it clear that was I did was totally wrong.”“Within the last month i have been arrested for shoplifting. I never thought that i would ever get caught. I am a very good student on a scholarship. Ever since that night when i was arrested i have felt so guilty and ashamed that i would do such a thing...but i did not realize it until i got caught. I guess i felt that it was ok as long as i was not caught. Even thought it is completely wrong. When i think about it...i was stealing stupid things. There was no reason for it. After all that is said and done i have decided to donate the amount of money that i was caught stealing to a charity. It wont make up for my mistake but it will help someone else.”“As a teenager, I did a lot of this so called misdeed. I never thought I'd get caught, but I did, six months after my 16th birthday. To make matters worse, a girl who attended the same school as I and she sat right by me in homeroom (we had been in the same homeroom for five years; it just so happens that she is now married to an attorney.) just happened to be in the store. It really, really scared the heck out of me, scared some sense into me, and I'd like to share with you that I've been nice and clean for the past 36 years. My parents were very disheartened about my misdeed; I know it disheartened the girl who just happened to be in the store at the time. The No If's, And's, or But's TV commercials need to be brought back on the air; they do a good job of scaring would be shoplifters out of a bad habit. I think 36 years of being nice and clean is a good record; I just got off with a lecture, but the store manager did call my house and notify my parents. He told me should I do it again, I'd be heading for juvenile hall. I never did do it again, and I never did end up with a mark on my record.”“i come from a poor family...we have little money though we still eat and make it through... its hard for me to except the fact that we have little money when everyone around me is so much richer... i saw shoplifting as the easy way out b/c companies had plenty of money to spare an extra shirt...well one day i got caught... i was with my mom...the shirt that i thought id take was only seven dollars...but i was thinking well i have ten and i need to put gas...so ten whole dollars seemed way better than three... well to my surprise as me and my mother were getting in my car a man came up to me... i was confused at first this had never happened before...i thought he wanted to sell me something...well he told me a shirt was missing from the dressing room and that he needed to search my purse, well i tried to tell him i left in in the stall and that i would show him...to this day i dont know what i was thinking... i thought that maybe hed be dumb and i could put the shirt back or that id fool him and he wouldnt see that little zipper in my purse... well all these thoughts were going threw my head like a thousand miles per minute and i was terrified i had no idea what to expect...well my mom came around the side of the car and she was also confused...by that time the man asked me to open the zipper and so i just gave in...i remember feeling so low, so dumb and i thought how could i have gotten caught i was careful...well the man got the shirt and my mom began crying i remember her saying, "No!! No!! Im so embarrassed" Oh, My God! Your going to Jail! No!!"...i remember telling her,"No! i cant!" i was so ashamed... we walked into the mall...J.C.Penny's and everyone was staring i had to walk behind the man, luckily he wasnt in uniform so everyone seemed confused, yet they knew what was going on... i sat in the office of the security men and waited as they typed the report and told me what was going to happen...my mom crying the whole time...i remember thinking...of how i loved her and how she saw the real me...i thought is this me? hand cuffs? jail? a low-life? no it wasnt! im the cheerleader! class president! most likely to succeed!! yup thats me and here i was in a chair about to be arrested for shop lifting, little did i know i was going to jail...it didnt hit me until they hand cuffed me and put me in the unit... i thought id get a slap on the hand and be sent home... no way!! thats when reality kicked in and i faced the devils world!!! i was sent straight to a local jail... where i was stripped of my dignity...there the officers had no respect for me i was a criminal...not my mothers daughter or my fathers pride and joy, but a criminal...cold and alone...also GUILTY!! i was searched and i felt violated my shoes were taken and my hair tie...of all the things my hair tie...i was scared...but i wasnt in charge, the officers were...they didnt care who i was or what my story was, they'd heard it a billion times...just stick me in there and get on with it...they had work to do... they finger printed me and everything...i didnt know how to take the black stuff off,but did the lady care of course not she wanted to go to lunch... i was given one phone call, but it didnt work...i couldnt reach my mom and i had no way out...so in to the cell i went cold and alone... there was another girl there but she was sick, dirty and had lice...i was terrified, it seemed like i was in there forever!!! while waiting the officers left no one was there to help me or answer my questions, no one cared!! when they finally came back...they told me i was to be released... the judge asked me how i plead?? i was thinking i dont know!! im sorry!! i plead nolo...i still dont know what that means... as i got my stuff back i walked out to see my mom i was so relieved...but she wasnt...she didnt understand... its so hard... i wanted to make her understand but she doesnt...500 dollars and a bad record later ill never shop lift again... though i think about it all the time i know what i did was wrong...it caught up to me and i payed the price!! i hope some day i can fully forgive my self and regain my self-esteem...”“Shoplifting embarassed me so much. My mom came in and was soembarassed of me. I felt like a failure. I am a student with a 4.0 GPA involved in many activities in my school and community. I attend church every sunday. I know I made a huge mistake, and every decision I make from this day on, will be reflected on this expeience. Now I know what a little mistake can do to my life. Also how big the impact was. I shplifted, because I am not usually a risk taker, and I felt like I was taking a risk. But now, I know what those risks can do to my life.”“It's too soon to call my story a bona fide "success"...at least in terms of years and years, since I only completed the home study course just recently. I want to say right up front that I had a pending court case, and had no idea if I'd even be afforded the opportunity due to prior convictions more than ten years ago.
Nevertheless, I searched around online to see if there was any way I could get help, because I knew I needed it. I found NASP and immediately invested the small sum of money to get the home study course.
I have a much clearer perspective than I did previously, and let me just say that I am a very introspective person and have strived to gain insight into my behavior for many years.
It may seem like a small thing to do, but I came up with the personal plan as outlined in the program, and I cut out those wallet cards, and yes, they are definitely in my wallet.
They are a suprisingly powerful support tool for me. I will read a card and remember the pointers. I also think of the promises I have made to myself. What is the most important phrase I repeat over and over?
"I'm a better person than that"...it gives me strength the be the loving, thoughtful and decent woman I am for the 99% of the time I am NOT in a retail establishment.
Prior to this program I felt shame, worthlessness, depression worse than any I'd known in many years, which only would have fueled the problem more.
It is amazing what value there is in substituting "lousy" with "worth more than any temptation".
I don't know if this approach would work with everyone--it has to come from within, and a person has to sincerely want help. It cannot be faked.
I went to court yesterday, still not knowing what the outcome would be.
Guess what? I was offered the chance to take an "awareness program" and community service. I had no idea if this course, which I had just taken, would even satisfy the requirement (and the court-ordered program would have cost twice the amount). I met with a probation officer (even though I was not placed on probation). Her job was to make sure I knew what my responsibilities were and how to fulfill them.
I told her about this program. I showed her my wallet card. I shared what I had learned.
She was impressed with SA (and I don't get the impression she was entirely familiar with it). She gladly accepted the home study program in lieu of what the court had ordered.
I want to make it clear that I have other issues; but who doesn't? Mine involve taking my antidepressants and mood stabilizer medication. I'd just lost my job and was worried that I would run out of meds since I lost my health insurance. (I'd been laid off because of company cutbacks; the job loss was by no fault of my own, but I took it personally, which just made things worse.)
The charges have been dismissed. They will remain dismissed so long as I do not break the law for one year and complete the community service within six months.
Now you tell me: is this or isn't this a "sign"? Is this not a chance for a brand new start?
All of the punishment in the past could not achieve what I gained by this experience.
I take this very seriously and am so grateful that I know support is only a phone call away.
The relief I feel is more than I can describe.
Thank you so very much!
I am not afraid to use my first name.
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