Five Step Recovery For Office Supplies Addiction

recovery for stationery addictionIn my last post, I tackled the very serious epidemic of stationery addiction.  I have been overwhelmed with the response to that post.  It would seem that there are sufferers who have felt unsupported and overlooked by the establishment.

I am here to serve, and so undertook to interview Professor Melskin Staedtler.  Professor Staedtler is a faculty member at the Smythsonian Foundation and her seminal work on this difficult subject matter – “My life is a sticky note – the truth about Office Supplies addiction” – is set to become a classic on this subject.  She has been busy touring the world and setting up self-help groups for addicts around the globe.  These ‘Pads’ are supportive groups for addicts who call themselves ‘Inkos’.  At present this is an underground movement but it is Professor Staedtler’s mission to bring this therapeutic approach into the mainstream.  Her vision is a world in which Office Supply Addiction is recognised for the serious issue that it is.

“It’s all about education,” she says, over the rim of her horn-rimmed glasses. “I mean, let’s face it, the teaching profession is one of the prime areas for finding addicts.  Approximately 50% of teachers in one of my research surveys admitted that they only entered into the profession because of their addiction to ‘Back To School’ deals.  It’s a tragedy really.”

She went on: “And children are being normalized into this way of life.  Parents unwittingly become enablers and often the primary point of supply.  I have seen whole families who literally could not function without their Post Its and wall planners.”

So, what can we do about this addiction?


“Firstly,” Professor Staedtler advises, ” Admit you have a problem.  So many addicts are in denial about the extent of their problem.  They blame it on their star sign – Virgos in particular – or justify their behaviour by claiming that they have OCD.  This is a classic tactic for using one syndrome to disguise another.  I call it ‘whiting out’ – refusing to face something so covering it up and trying to write over it.  Only when addicts can admit that they have a problem do they have a chance at recovery.  It’s the first, and most fundamental, step.”

What then?

“Next step is to explore the extent and particular flavour of their addiction.  Are they a journal junkie, or a sticker head?  Each flavour of this addiction comes with it’s own special form of therapy.


Such as?

“Well…. a stickerhead, for example, can experience real breakthroughs if they are able to use Post Its in strategic places to remind them not to buy any more stickers.  These can be in wallets, on cellphones – anywhere that is visible.  Yes, I suppose it is a form of replacement therapy, like Methadone, but the beauty of Post Its is that they are impermanent, that glue will fade in time.  It can be great for stickerheads to slowly watch the edges of a post it curl up, as their cravings begin to fade.”

“And, journal junkies are often treated with what I call ‘downreaming’.  This starts by reducing the size of the journal that they are using.  Eventually, the paper is replaced with a virtual substitute – the journal app, or google calendar.  This process of withdrawal is supported with a thorough programme of exploratory prompts and writing exercises.  So helpful.”

filofaxy fun blog

Step three:

Keeping a record of your recovery can be so effective for addicts.  I recommend sourcing some kind of printable ‘log’ which can be filled in on a daily basis.  Perhaps keep this in your filofax and use a highlighter to show your progress.  This could then be printed out and displayed on your notice board.”


Step Four:

Find your tribe.  Don’t be afraid to reach out to other addicts.  The community is very supportive and there are those who can share their inspiring journeys on the rocky road to recovery.  Joining a ‘pad’ can be a great start.  Perhaps even start one up in your own city, or online?”


And the final step to recovering from stationery addiction?

“The final step is to have faith in yourself and fill the space that has been left by your addiction.  Take up a hobby but avoid things such as crafting and scrapbooking – these are gateway hobbies and another example of ‘whiting out’.  Recovered addicts can also flourish by pursuing a corporate career path, or retail work.  There are so many ways that addicts can fulfil meaningful roles in society – they just have to be willing to remind themselves daily that they can function without a highlighter pen, or washitape.  That life without stationery is possible for them.  Freedom from this addiction IS possible.”

What an inspiration!  If you are an addict, then do put this recovery plan into place as soon as possible.  You are not in this alone.  There are many other addicts out there who would love to compare notes (and PostIts, and journal pages). My thanks go to Professor Melskin Staedtler and I wish her all the best with her mission.

Reach out my friend.  Leave a comment with your story and how you are using today to start your own long journey to recovery from stationery addiction.

You are not alone.






10 signs that you are a stationery addict

10signsof stationery addiction

Stationery addiction is a particular problem for aspiring writers.  By no means restricted to this particular demographic, evidence suggests that this is a rising problem for the Type W personality.  And it is time to address this insidious social problem before it reaches epidemic proportions.  Hopefully this post will offer you some signs that you may be in need of help.

Note from this blogger: I understand your pain.  I too fight this addiction on a daily basis.  Once a stationery addict, always a stationery addict.  Yes, you can fight the urges, but you will never be truly free of the desire to buy a notebook with each brand new idea.  We must learn to live with our desire to highlight and colour-code.  Acceptance is key.  Take each day as it comes and be willing to keep trying to fight your stationery demons.

Here are 10 signs that you are a stationery addict:

  1.  You have a whole drawer devoted to empty notebooks.  These may have begun as a random collection but as your addiction moved a little deeper, you may have chosen a particular notebook of choice.  Once chosen, you will have begun to stockpile this particular brand though you may have to compromise on colour and supplier on occasion.Top10_Stationery_Berlin_RSVP_02
  2.  You find yourself paralysed and unable to work if the colour of your ink or the diameter of the nib on your rollerball is too wide or too fine.  This can send you to your nearest dealer desperate for a fix before you can even consider returning to work.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  3. You can barely see your computer monitor for the plethora of Postits with which it is covered.  These Postits form a kind of mental matrix.  Without them, you have no idea who you are or where you are anymore. Read about this terrible symptom
  4.  One of the categories on your Bookmarks menu is called ‘Stationery Porn’.  This list may indeed be one of your most frequented categories and is full of sites from the basic street level stationery suppliers (eg. Staples) through to the more elite, ‘pure’ stuff such as this and this .Top10_Stationery_Berlin_Schoene_Schreibwaren_01
  5.  You cannot start a day without writing a To Do list on a special pad with TO DO at the top of each page.  Preferably this title should be in a jaunty calligraphic font, or perhaps an antique typewriter font.  These fonts are often indicators of a pure supply and are sought out by those in the know.ToDoList2W-500x500
  6. When you go onto YouTube, your Recommendations are often overwhelmingly stationery related.  Beware also of spending hours watching other addicts show you their planners/ filofax inserts, etc.  You may even subscribe to the channels of fellow addicts.  You know in your heart that these are your people, your tribe.6995046-mood-things-notebook-stationery
  7. You carry a highlighter with you everywhere in case of colour-coding emergencies.  This can be likened to a diabetic carrying insulin, and, for the seasoned addict, can be essential in staving off stationery-related panic attacks.648
  8.  When you feel emotionally vulnerable or depressed, your first thought is always to go to your supplier and get a fix.  This can sometimes be satisfied with some stickers, or new Postits, but in more serious cases, may manifest in buying labelmakers or new printers. Your supplier often knows you by name.  Bad sign.journals
  9.  You use the above labelmaker more than once a month.  The average labelmaker owner has been statistically proven to use their machine only 3-7 times per annum.  Addicts have professed to using theirs more frequently – sometimes up to 3 times per week! labelmaker addiction One woman described in tears how she had even found herself making a label for her label-maker which she had given a whole persona and even taken on holiday with her.  ‘June’ (name withheld for privacy reasons) said:  “I knew it was bad when I started to make label name tags for my houseplants.  I tried to quit but it was just too hard.  It was only when I was stopped at customs with my labelmaker, trying to smuggle in some black-market washitape that I realised how bad things had got….”  It’s a sad story, but all too common.
  10.  You spend your last $5 on a new washitape.  Missing a meal is worth it when you see it nestled into the washitape stable along with your other 20 rolls…washitape


If you, or any of your loved ones, are showing three or more of the above symptoms then it may be time to get some help.  But do not fear, help is at hand.

In the next post, I talk with Professor Melskin Staedtler, an eminent psychologist who has spent her life researching this difficult syndrome.  She may have some answers to help you face your addiction and finally find a way through it.

Stay tuned for that one.