My court date that I last told you about went good. Actually, I just got released from probation a year and 3 months early! My life has been wonderful. Thank you so much for your help!
Hope all is well, --Miranda, Michigan
I completed the 10-session program with Mr. Shulman and found it helpful doing this by SKYPE. It was the next best thing to meeting in person since we were able to make visual contact as well as audio contact. I encourage anybody who lives far from Michigan to not let that deter you from working with Terry. Reading his book SOMETHING FOR NOTHING in advance and doing all the exercises was key. It allowed us to focus 100% of our time on helping me establish tools to help me live a safe and honest life, totally free of shoplifting and grey area behavior. Having my husband read Terry's book was also very helpful. There is no easy path to recovery - anybody who thinks there is isn't being realistic. If you are tired of living in the darkness of your addiction and really ready to learn a new way of living I recommend working with Terry. You will get the most benefit from his program if you commit to doing the hard work required for recovery. Being part of the CASA email support group and the phone support group have been additional benefits of working with Terry. These benefits have been invaluable as I journey forward. I will never be cured but I am living a safe life and that is magical. I never thought I could do it. Thanks, Terry! --Dee, FL
Thank you for the emails and updates. I will be free from shoplifting for two years in September. Thank you for showing me the way, providing the light in a very dark tunnel. --Paula
I'm so glad I found out about you and your book(s) when I did a google search several months back. I never imagined there was such a network of support for this problem, and you are the main person behind all of it. The support has been immensely helpful. It's been so liberating to write and speak freely about my shoplifting problem when it's been such a big secret for so long. I thank for for your personal interest in me and my family and how this addiction affects all of us. I don't feel like I'm "all better" yet, and maybe I never will, but I have been treating this like a real addiction for the first time by staying away from stores, and I have come to realize that it must be this way, at least for now. I don't feel strong enough yet to be out shopping alone. Maybe someday that will come, but at least I am not stealing now and playing Russian Roulette with my life. Thank you for your kindness, caring, and support. Thank you for what you're doing for addictive shoplifters. You are a true pioneer. --Susan in NY.
I wanted to thank you for writing "Something for Nothing". I finished reading it last night. It was uncomfortable to read....your honesty is inspiring....much of what you say....your thoughts and actions are similare to what I've struggled with since a kid. I'm in my 50's now and was finally caught a few weeks ago.
My shoplifting activity started when I was in my early teens. I stopped for several decades, but when my wife was in the late stages of metastasized breast cancer I started again. It continued after she died several years ago and I became very depressed. Shoplifting gave me a temporary relief.
I didn't need the things I take. I could well afford them. It's insane that I continued.
Being caught was horrible. I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed. And to make matters worse, I work in the loss prevention business (I've not stolen from my employer).
I'm trying to see it as a message. To stop. To change. To create a better life.
Thank you again....your book has helped me realize I'm not insane. And started me on the road to recovery. --R
I found Terry by googling & researching how I would get help with my shoplifting problem. I was embarrassed & unsure of how to confront the issue. Terry got back to me within 24hrs of calling him. I went through 10 sessions & found him to be a great help with all my shoplifting & over spending problems I felt comfortable disclosing the details of what I thought was an unsolvable problem. I would highly recommend Terry to help you with your issues. -- Leah (Canada)
I am doing pretty good. No shoplifting for almost 5 months! I have had urges, but have used the tools and the phone to stop my actions. I cannot thank you enough for all of your help with the therapy that I received from you. I truly know that without you, I would have never got through my addiction so gracefully. I now understand that I can accomplish what I dream of with jard work, and with the help of others who have addictions like myself. I know that I will never be cured, but I can remain in recovery with the help of you, CASA, the teleconferences, and always using the tools that the 12 step program provides. I really have never felt so good about myself in all my life! I believe that I am now making a difference in my girls lives. Thank you for answering the phone that cold December 8Thmorning when I called you ready to ask for help. I will never forget the blessing you have been in my life.
Sincerely, -- S.H.L. (Ohio)
If only I had not been caught stealing, I would never have gotten to this place that I am right now....
I would have never looked for Terry Shulman! I would have never started my recovery in therapy with him.
I would have never learned how it feels to be forgiven.
I would have never been able to experience truly forgiving someone else.
I would have never become closer to my little sister or my mom.
I would have never been able to understand and forgive my dad or be able to have such an awesome relationship with him now.
I would have never met my soul sisters from my phone group!
I would have never been able to have friends that have actually experienced what I experience, and who understand without me even explaining what I do!
I would have never found this group where I have read and learned so much from people who feel like family to me even thought I have never even met them!
I would have never been able to hold my head high when telling my children my rules and really believe that I was making the right decision.
I would have never been able to teach my children right from wrong, and felt okay doing it!
I would have never been able to trust that God, my Higher power, knows exactly what He is doing, and that I can get through it all with a little prayer and a lot of Faith!
I would have never been able to listen to advice given to me from complete strangers and felt as though they were speaking from experience, not judging me.
I never would have been able to appreciate what I have because I never knew what it was like to be in jail and have nothing!
I never would have appreciated "having no control" does not mean that I am out of control.
I never would have been thankful for all the simple things that I see every day like the flowers, the sun, the clouds, the rain, the wind, the birds, the bees, and the grass.
I never would have fully understood the gift of true friendship and honesty with those friends.
I never would have met Patti, my hypnotist, who took away all of the shameful hurt feelings that I had bottled up inside me since I was 6 years old.
I never would have experienced waking up every morning without the urges of stealing and committing illegal acts.
I never would have been able to relax and be able to laugh at some of my old behavior.
I never would have understood that I will always be IN RECOVERY, and NEVER RECOVERED.
I never would have been grateful to be in recovery instead of mad that I would never be recovered.
I never would have seen that my actions were causing so much pain and agony for me and for those who love me.
I would have always been so selfish in how I treated others by my actions.
I never would have understood why I was crying out by stealing and would have never tried to understand how to stop those actions.
There are so many more the list is never ending, but I must share that I am so glad the I got caught, because I never would have been the true me that I am now, and this is how I hope to stay now and forever, with you all, on-line, on the phone, in therapy, and hopefully one day in person.
Thank you all for helping me to become the happy, content individual I am today. I will always choose the high road from now on, never again the easy road of shoplifting, and dishonesty!
Blessings to each and every one of you!
Sincerely, --S.H. Ohio
Hi Terry, I thank you so much for everything. Thank you for all the work you have done and for the online CASA as well. It has been an amazing hard and scary four-month-plus journey for me since Jan 19, 2011. I've learned so much from you about myself since working with you and reading your book. Reading the daily posts, listening and sharing thoughts and hurt feelings on the teleconference meetings has been truly a savior for me. I am extremely grateful for you and the knowledge you have in this addiction. You are awesome in what you do and I would not be where I am today right now without your hard work and dedication to help me understand my underline issues. Thanks a million, Terry! Warmest Regards, --TT, Pennsylvania
I had been stealing since age 10—over 30 years. After five prison terms and a recent arrest for shoplifting, I was facing more time in State Prison. Then I found Terry. Through Terry and the CASA meetings I was able to finally understand why I stole. I have not shoplifted since my work began with Terry and the meetings. I have a new outlook on life. I am able to control my urges without medication. I have even been blessed in court. I will not be going back for a sixth term. Terry's letter helped sway the judge to let continue treatment. I no longer feel that life is unfair and I can get "something for nothing." I realize nothing is worth it. Shoplifting has a much higher price that the cost of the item. For me, the cost of that stolen item was anxiety, panic, suicidal thoughts, depression, years of my life away from my kids in prison, lawyer fees, fines, etc... I am grateful for my new way of life. It feels great and I can finally take a breath without fear. Thanks Terry! --Karen, California
I finally got to watch the CNBC documentary on shoplifting this past weekend in which you were featured. I really enjoyed it and it was a great reminder of how serious the rest of the world views this issue. Needless to say, seeing you on screen also reminded me of the value of our work together. I'm doing well, taking one day at a time and keeping incredibly busy. Thanks for all you do to continue this campaign alive. Sincerely, -- L.S., Utah
I faced my fourth arrest in 30 years a few months ago and my attorney asked me to contact Mr. Shulman. I realized that I was addicted and it was no longer a matter of choice. I knew I needed professional help, compassion and understanding, and the tools to deal with my situation. When I called Mr. Shulman I was highly impressed with how sensitive he was towards my volatility those early days after the incident. Throughout our sessions, he taught me about the danger signs, tools to fight the urges, triggers coming from external environments, warning signs coming in from internal conflicts, and a 12 step program towards recovery. If I had enrolled in this therapy earlier in my life, I would be in a much better place now.
Thank you Mr. Shulman. -- L-C
Happy Holidays to you! It has been over a year since I had my 3-day program with you. I couldn't have stayed clean without those sessions.
Thank you so much for helping me get my life together. -- Tammy, Michigan
Dear Mr. Shulman:
I have been following your site for a few years now -- I am a recovering shoplifter for almost five years and I've been through hell and back in that time. Following a sexual assault, I became a compulsive shoplifter and was arrested and convicted twice for stealing from two grocery stores -- (2005 & 2006). I have been out of job for over two years and can't find anything remotely decent or anything that pays well because of the my history and the background checks employers perform. I am just at my wit's end, frustrated beyond belief yet hopeful that things will turn around at some point. I am in the process of trying to get my record expunged too but that takes a great deal of time but obviously, it is worth the wait. But until then, I just feel trapped and awfully sad because I can't utilize my talents.
Thanks for your website, your candor and offering hope for so many of us. I have also read your book "Something for Nothing." I believe shoplifting is a silent disease that few will discuss because it's embarrassing and for many of us who don't need the items we've stolen it seems like such a waste yet it filled a deep void for me many times. Through a lot of hard work in counseling and therapy for many years and being honest with myself, I changed for the better and became a stronger person. If there is anything I can do for your organization, please let me know -- gratis, of course! Keep up the great work! – A.H. , CT.
It is impossible for words to express the gratitude I feel for all that you have done for me since we met 6 months ago. I was so fortunate to find you & to be able to work with you intensively for 3 days, and then again 3 months later. Your incredible ability to accept me for who I am, and to be totally understanding & nonjudgmental, has helped me to begin to accept & love myself. I have suffered from low self-esteem for many years, perhaps my whole life, & have seen many therapists. But it wasn't until I worked with you that I was able to move forward & truly start to heal. You made it possible for me to feel totally safe in telling my WHOLE story, which included years of shoplifting, & all the shame & guilt that entailed. You have helped me to realize that I am not alone, & that I am not a bad person, but rather one of many people in the world who is in pain & acting out in a way that is only causing more pain & isolation.
Thank you for helping me to learn how to truly know & care for myself, which makes it possible for me to know & care for others. Thank you for sharing your strength & courage & wisdom. You inspire me to be a better person -- a person who strives to live honestly & with integrity, & who gives & serves others instead of takes. I am so grateful for knowing you & having the opportunity to work with you. Wishing you much joy & peace! -- S.E., North Carolina
I just wanted to say "Hi" and let you know how I am doing. I received counseling from you over a year ago. Anyway, I want to thank you for what you have devoted your life towards. You truly made a difference in my life and helped me get back on track (a place that I clearly hadn't been in a while). I have been clean since then (over a year) without temptations or even thoughts of returning back to that lifestyle even with the many changes that have occurred in my life during the last 6 months.
I go to church weekly to thank God for my life and how fortunate I feel every day. I will never forget how you helped me. I am still very close friends with the girls that caught me and thank them for support as well. I am sure that your job isn't always easy........so, Thank you. -- Emily S., Arizona
Thanks to your guidance, our brief discussions and your book, "Something for Nothing," I have stopped shoplifting. I attribute all of my work and success, though brief, sobriety from shoplifting, to you, your book, and following a CASA type program. I was lost and horrified until I found the answer through your words of wisdom and knowledge of the subject matter. I've also enjoyed your newsletter each month and have watched and listened to all of your appearances in the media regarding shoplifting. Thank you, Mr. Shulman, for giving me a life of freedom, honesty, a life free from running scared and the fear of loosing my beautiful family. I remain eternally grateful to you Mr. Shulman. Peace! You are an amazing person to have done all of this selfless work to save other humans from deep depression and hell.
Very Sincerely Yours, -- Mary Z-D.
I have abstained from shoplifting for months now from the day I started therapy with Terry. I was ready but needed an extra hand to stay motivated. Terry gave me insight and consistently reminded me of all the harm that could come to me and my loved ones were I to continue with my self-destructive behavior. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, he helped me to stop not only out of the fear of repercussion but also for the peace and confidence it would afford me and allow me to grow as a spiritual and ethical person.
Terry helped me to see that this addiction did not make me a "bad" person but that I would have to take responsibility for it in order to feel less like a victim of it and, therefore, less in control of it. These are also things I learned in his book but having him help me apply his knowledge and advice to my own personal situation was invaluable and essential in helping me become and remain abstinent. I hope the same for everyone who is reading this. Thanks Terry :) -- Sincerely, Wendy, NJ
Nearly one year ago, after my second arrest, I knew I needed help but I still didn’t seek it out. After my third arrest, a few months later, I still felt the same but I knew I had to do something this time. When I first heard about Mr. Shulman and his counseling program I didn’t take it seriously. If anything, I figured people probably just sought his help to get him to write letters on their behalf to help reduce their court sentences--who wouldn’t want this kind of assistance? How wrong I was.
It didn’t take me long after speaking to Mr. Shulman myself to know he really wanted to help me. Not only did he help me understand my shoplifting issue but helped me get a hold on my life. He was there anytime I needed him and was willing to discuss anything and everything. He helped me tie together lots of different aspects of my life to help me understand what I was really dealing with: the underlying issues.
The best thing I did to help myself get a handle on my addiction and my life was to contact Mr. Shulman and to utilize the CASA online support group which Mr. Shulman started and co-moderates. The support group has been an invaluable source of assistance and encouragement: it’s helped remind me I am not alone with my problems and now I have a place to share both my problems and successes and a means to help improve my life.
I hope someday to put shoplifting behind me and go on living without the worries I have now. Since completing Mr. Shulman’s program, I’m doing well and, if the need ever arises, at least I know I have the support of Terry and all my new friends at CASA. It’s a nice feeling knowing I have people out there who understand me and support me without prejudice and without reservations. We could all us friends like that. -- Don, PA
I hope this holiday season finds you well. I just saw you on the local news last night speaking about shoplifting. As usual, you are still helping people with this horrible secret addiction. I wanted to let you know that things are going very well for me in the last three years since I completed your counseling program. I’m pretty much free of evil thoughts. I speak openly with my husband and family about myself and I finally told my best friend about my “secret life” and now she knows why I don’t carry a purse into the stores! I miss you but continue to follow-up with a psychiatrist who is helping me, too.
I just want to say thank you. You saved my life during one of the darkest periods of my life. I would not have made it this far without you. You are amazing and you’ll never be forgotten by me or my family. Thank you for giving me my life back. -- Fondly, N.S., Michigan
I hope that your new year is off to a good start. I can't thank you enough for your help. I have been 100% clean since March!!!! I feel absolutely liberated about that. Sure there have been temptations but I keep telling myself "It's not worth it, you are better/stronger than that". I am at the point where I hardly even think about it anymore. I feel liberated and at peace. I feel like myself again. Thank you again for your help in making me the person that I so wanted/needed to become. -- Emily, AZ
I am a 43 year old wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Canada and has been charged for the 2nd time for shoplifting. The first time was actually employee theft 20 years ago. I spent 90 days in jail and thought that I would never shoplift or steal again after that experience. And it worked for about 15 years but then I found myself shoplifting again and it became worse and worse.
Recently, I was charged for the 2nd time. The bottom fell out of my world again. I have lost my job, my self respect and the respect of others. When I was at my lowest point and feeling close to suicide, assuming that there was no hope for help and that no one would understand what I was going through, I found the Shulman Center website. I read the web site that night till about 2 in the morning. For once I was reading testimonials from people that DID understand and I finally felt that maybe there would be hope.
Two days later I was in contact with Terry who did a phone session with me. I scheduled a 3 day session with him in Michigan (I live in Ontario ) and have absolutely wonderful things to say about my experience. While there I was fortunate to actually attend one of the CASA support groups that Terry has started. What an amazing experience that was. My husband also attended the CASA group and part of my therapy with Terry. This was very valuable for both of us.
I have made it (so far) this Christmas season without shoplifting. I am very proud of myself and feel very liberated every time I walk out of a store. I have limited my shopping, do not go into a store with a purse or reusable bags and often leave my jacket in the car too. I feel stronger than I have in years, but am not naive enough to think that I have kicked the ass out of my addiction. I know now that I can never let my guard down again. I will continue to benefit from the support that comes from the kind and understanding people such as Terry and those in his support groups have. Thanks Terry. -- Cindy ( Ontario )
Just wanted to let you know I saw the CBC production on shoplifting that featured you and your work. It looked very good and I hope it brings a new wave of clients to you to help as you have done so well with my son. Actually, I wish there was no need for your service but life is what it is and you are making a very positive difference for people who have no where else to turn. I wish you the best.. -- D.M., Canada
I am 49 years old and was arrested for the 4th time for shoplifting. I had to face the fact that I was an addict and I was not going to stop by myself. I was desperate to figure out why I was doing this and how to stop.
I went online looking for any type of intensive program that specialized in shoplifting. The only program that seemed promising was Terry Shulman's three day intensive therapy. I talked to Terry by phone a few times and then went to his three day session.
Going in I felt shame, guilt and worthlessness. We delved into my past for clues and discovered rejection and abandonment I received as a child and young adult. I am also a very anxious person. I would get pent up with anger, guilt and anxiety and would shoplift. I had a relief or calm afterward but then the cycle would start again.
With Terry's help, I was able to work on my past and present issues and make a plan of how I would stay clean. We also worked through his book, “Something for Nothing”. I really needed the 3 day intense counseling to get me off to the right start on my life without shoplifting. Coming out of the 3 days I have a more positive attitude, less shame knowing I am not alone and confidence in my ability to not shoplift again. -- TL, Michigan
I found your website at one of my darkest moments. I was facing trial on my second shoplifting arrest and wanted desperately to change my life. I couldn't tolerate the person I had become anymore. After an initial discussion with you, I read your book, Something for Nothing, and then participated in your 10-session private phone counseling.
I had never talked with anyone about shoplifting, so I was very nervous. You made me comfortable and in 10 weeks, I can't believe the ground we covered. I learned so much about myself and my addiction. And you provided me with the tools I need to stop.
Today, I am leading a much happier life, I feel like a whole person again, and I have stepped from the shadows of addiction into the light of a life filled with hope, joy, and honesty. I am becoming the person I have always wanted to be!
Thank you, Terry! -- B.B, Florida
The first time I heard about Terry Shulman was through his website. After my arrest for shoplifting, I was on the Internet trying to find an attorney and trying to understand what I did. What amazed me was that here was a man who not only admitted in public what had happened to him but also that had built a stepping stone to help others. I bought his book immediately and was fascinated and relieved to find out that I was not alone. I hesitated to contact Terry but I am so glad that I did. Through counseling with him I was able to be more open, without the shame I felt talking to my therapist and attorney. It was very comforting to talk with someone who could really understand what I was going through.
Terry also helped me not only through our sessions but through letters he wrote to my attorney who in turn gave them to the judge and my probation officer which gave them insight into my problems. Terry also gave me hope that it all would end well and it did. Thank you, Terry, for everything. I am glad that you have crossed my path. -- ER,Ohio
I read both of your books—first page to back page—three, four, maybe even five times. “Something for Nothing” is such an informative, beautiful, fabulous book. It’s just extraordinary. You cover so much and you’re so honest and there’s so much integrity to it.
You are such a hero to me and, I’m sure, millions of others. I just think you’re brilliant and compassionate and empathic. That you’re spending this time and sharing all this information about yourself and others and helping is such a wonderful way of healing. So, I wanted to acknowledge you and tell you “thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”
There’s so many people and so many companies that could utilize you and have you do seminars for them. You’re just really doing a beautiful job and I thought that I was the only one out here experiencing this and feeling shame about it. I just don’t know how else to thank you and acknowledge you and give you commendation. I don’t know how else to say it except “thank you.” Feel free to use my words. Again, I’m speechless. -- T.S., California
"My work with Terry has been very enlightening! He guided me on a path of self-discovery and growth and offered the support that can only come from a person who has been there himself. Through the 10 sessions, I learned many new skills for living with this addiction, had the chance to try them out and then got to share my experiences in my next session. I felt that together we built a solid base for my recovery and I highly recommend Mr. Shulman's counseling." --T.C., Chicago, Illinois
"I had a healing, cleansing experience by counseling with Mr. Shulman. He not only helped me understand why I had been stealing, but gave me the tools and the confidence to see the warning signs of future relapses." --Dave, Port Huron, Michigan
"Mr. Shulman, you helped me begin my recovery journey and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I have a new relationship with money now--I've even become a generous tipper! But most of all, I feel good about who I am. I feel at peace." --D. W., Baton Rouge, Louisiana
"My willingness to change and Mr. Shulman's program have truly changed me. If I had known about this program earlier, I could have avoided so much pain, trouble and legal issues." --A. C., New Orleans, LA
"I had a serious problem I could not kick by myself. I had no idea there was any form of help for people who shoplifted or stole. Why was I doing this? Why was I throwing away my once clean and honest life and risking all? I entered Mr. Shulman's 10 session phone counseling program and read his book. Mr. Shulman helped me understand my past and why I started shoplifting. Now, four months into my recovery, I have the tools to help myself avoid shoplifting and I have a solid plan to walk safely through my life from this point on. I am very relieved to learn these things and now firmly believe I am not a criminal nor a bad person. I would highly recommend Mr. Shulman's book and counseling services. He provides a safe and supportive environment to begin the road to recovery." --Jim, Albuquerque, N.M.
I just want to thank you again for all your help. Words simply don't express how grateful I am to you. You helped me feel that I am not a bad person and that I'm a very important person to my family and in my own right. You have helped me understand that my past is what has made me feel sad and alone. Through our therapy session, I learned to value the love my family has shown me every day. I finally feel more at peace and like a new person and hope to one day have complete trust from my daughters and husband. Again, thank you for helping me. --M.A. Chicago, IL
|Something for Nothing
Shoplifting Addiction and Recovery
By Terrence D. Shulman
Click to Email
JD, LMSW, ACSW, CAADC, CPC
The Shulman Center