Ann and Alice

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Ann and Alice
After Alice (left) revealed she was a compulsive shoplifter on The Oprah Winfrey Show , a viewer named Ann (right) felt compelled to confront her own shoplifting addiction.

"I've been shoplifting for the last 44 years," she says. "I probably stole once or twice a week: clothing, toys, knickknacks for the house, cosmetics. …I would tell myself, 'I don't drink, I don't do drugs, I don't rob banks.' I was trying to give myself every excuse that this wasn't so bad. But it was bad. The shoplifting started for me when I was 17 in my first relationship. It was a very abusive situation. Stealing made me feel like I was getting some sort of reward for having such a crummy life."

Ann says that seeing Alice step forward to speak of her addiction made her want to share her own story. "Alice's story was so compelling to me because of her bravery," Ann says. "I thought, 'If this woman can come out and tell her story to thousands of people, then I have to find the courage to do the same thing. I can't do it by myself.'"

Alice says that Ann's reaction is exactly why she wanted to tell the world of her difficulties. "When I was living in the shameful cycle of shoplifting and no one but my husband knew," Alice says, "I craved seeing someone get up on a talk show such as Oprah …and a woman…who looks normal, who is educated, who is articulate, who is married, who has kids, who leads a very normal life, get up and say that they had this problem. If I saw that, I might never have gotten arrested. My son might never have been exposed to that trauma. …When this opportunity came to me, I thought, 'Well then I'm going be that girl. I'm going give what I needed to have and that wasn't available then.'"
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FROM: Oprah's Follow-Up Show: Winter 2005
Published on February 01, 2005

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