Are You Addicted to Prepping?

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Are You Addicted to Prepping?

And if so, what can you do about it?

For many, prepping has been a mission and a passion for many years. It all starts innocently enough. We are bit by the prepping bug and typically start storing some extra water, food, flashlights and batteries in response to a widely publicized natural disaster. Soon we move on to first aid supplies, home defense systems and bug-out-bags. And it goes on from there.

Somewhere along the way, prepping takes over our lives and becomes a significant lifestyle shift. Our spare time is spent planning for the BIG EVENT, be it a natural, man-made or even a politically motivated apocalypse.

Are You Addicted to Prepping

We have read the books, watched the DVDs, compiled resource manuals, and purchased gear. And still we are compelled to do more.

And so I ask: Is being prepared an addiction, an obsession, or a chore? Can we call it quits if we had to? Do we know when enough is enough? Or are we hoarding? And what is the difference between prepping and hoarding?

These are tough questions which we each must answer for ourselves. To get you started, let me offer up some definitions so that you can begin to formulate a response and arrive at some personal conclusions.

  • Addiction: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.
  • Obsession: a compulsive or persistent preoccupation, idea, or feeling.
  • Chore: a routine or minor duty or task.
  • Hoarding: a supply or accumulation that is hidden or carefully guarded for preservation or future use.

Perception often blends with reality so what I say next needs to be taken within that context.

In my own household, it seems as though every spare moment is spent learning or doing something related to preparedness. When we shop, foremost in our mind is “would this work if the SHTF?”. We learn new skills and revisit old ones so that we stay current and up-to-date with our survival skills. We garden because we feel we have to and not simply for the joy of it. Even as we consider moving to a different home, the punch list of must-haves is dictated by the need for isolation, storage facilities for three years worth of food, and a place to raise chickens and goats.

This business of prepping can be utterly exhausting! And not only that, with extra money being directed toward the purchase of prepping supplies and gear, the budget often gets stretched to the point were a non-prep related purchase becomes a gut-wrenching exercise in guilt.

This is not an isolated phenomena. The like-minded people I pal around with feel the same way. With a life that was busy to begin with, the additional time and energy taken up with prepping activities takes precious hours away from the rest of our lives. A breaking point is reached and without realizing what has happened, prepping becomes work.

A Call For Balance In Life

How do you feel? Has prepping taken over your life to the exclusion of everything else? Do you feel you have balance in your every day activities? Or not so much?

To help come up with answers, I would like to share a quiz that includes topics I ask myself when I feel overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list:

Do you have more than enough time to do what you want to do?

Do you spend quality time with the people who matter to you?

Do you have at least one hobby or pastime outside of your work, family and prepping activities?

What have you done for fun and entertainment lately?

Do you treat yourself to something special at least once a month? What is that?

Do you sleep well and do you look forward to getting up every day?

When is the last time you spent a day doing nothing more productive that watch a DVD or read a book?

When is the last time you ate a meal at a table, without the television or other distraction?

Do you have something to look forward to such as a vacation or special event?

I hope that you will take the time to ask these questions of yourself, for in spite of the dire outlook for our country and our planet, we still need to get on with this business of life. What we perceive as a bubble in time may go on for decades and, depending on your age, a lifetime.

The Manifesto

Be content with the knowledge that you have prepared to the best of your ability and then move on and move forward. Embrace the life experience now. Do not wait for some undetermined time in the future to have some fun, to relax, and to savor just being alive. That future, if the SHTF, may never come.

Take the cure from prepper addiction and prepper obsession. Continue to prep but recognize and accept it for what it is and move on to include other things in your life. Go out for an occasional movie. Have a few beers with friends. Shut down the computer for a day or two and share some special time with your sweetie. But most of all, be balanced, be happy and go for the gusto.

Being prepared can be a chore, yes. But it can also be a chore with a happy ending.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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One Second After: For many, the novel “One Second After” was a game changer that convinced them of the need to be prepared. If you have not read this book, you really should.

Lighten Up: Love What You Have, Have What You Need, Be Happier with Less: The first Peter Walsh book I read was It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff and I have to tell you, it inspired me to get rid of the clutter in my life and to start focusing on the things that really mattered. His latest book, Lighten Up, is more of the same and truly an inspiration. Great reads and especially good if you feel you have fell like you are hoarding rather than then prepping.

Clara’s Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories, and Recipes from the Great Depression: If you don’t know about Clara, be sure to read Depression Cooking: A Visit to Clara’s Kitchen.

Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart: An instructional guide and planning tool that addresses defensive preparation of a location. If the government can no longer protect your home, farm or property, Holding Your Ground will teach you how.

550 lb. Type III Nylon Paracord: I wish I had known about Paracord years ago. There is no reason not to have a few hundred feet around your home, in your car, and in your bug out bag.

Magnesium Flint Firesteel Fire Steel Starter: Here is how to use it:

1. Place the flint on ground upwardly, and put the scraper vertically to the flint, then scrape some magnesium powder on inflammable material like paper or branch

2. Place the flint on ground at about 45° and 2.5 cm from the magnesium powder scraped just now, then scrape the flint fast to produce spark so as to light up the inflammable material.


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30 Responses to “Are You Addicted to Prepping?”

  1. I have in some sense been prepping for the last 35yrs. I moved out of the city, bought cows, chickens, gardening, and we can. I got serious about prepping 3 years ago. I have stockpiled enough food for all my kids and grandkids that should last for years. I have done a lot to make sure that we will be able to keep what we have if need be. It doesn’t consume my life, but I believe we really may need to use them someday. From solar flares. terrorist attacks, the economy, the dollar, natural disasters, and the increased usage worldwide of fossil fuels, that our chances of something happening is greater than 7-8%. We have insurance on our homes and cars. I believe this risk for me to have to use my preps is greater. Prepping does stay on my mind daily. There is a lot of peace in mind to know that you can survive and protect your family. The way the prices of groceries are going up each week, we are getting an edge on inflation.

  2. I guess I am fortunate that my hobbies and work all fit a prepping lifestyle. The part that is work is work, but I still enjoy it. The parts that are hobbies are most enjoyable of course. There are some hobbies that I don’t do as much because they don’t necessarily fit in with prepping, but I still do them when I want to. So I don’t think it’s an addiction, or I’m hoarding. It’s just an integral part of my life, and the security prepping brings gives me peace.

  3. I have lived the self reliable life as long as I can remember. My parents and grand parents taught me that this was everyday life being prepared. My life is full with friends and family. I am a 10 year member of the RHSociety and love all the friends I get to travel and play with. DH and I are hunters and avid gardeners.There is such a genuine pleasure doing things we like together. Do I plan to ever stop prepping…no not in this life! It does not consume my life…no! However it does enhance my life in teaching others that want to learn.

    • Madgie, I’m guessing you meant, the Royal Horticultural Society?

      There are many RHSocieties out there:

      the Royal Horticultural Society
      the Remote Healthcare Society
      the Riverbank Historical Society – Website and Domain information data
      the Red Hat Society Queen Mother Board

      That was only page one.

    • Hi Helot, I did mean the Red Hat Society. My membership with the (RHS) has been a source of great fun,travel and friendship in my life. In essence I was expressing myself as an avid prepper but with multiple interests outside the prepper life.

      Great thread and interesting replies!

  4. Imho, it is not possible to be enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming.

    Slavery is something which is physically forced upon others.

    I read somewhere that there’s no such thing as “an addiction”. It’s a made-up construct and a cop-out.
    The article was similar to this one:

    ‘Mental Disorders do not exist’


    At any rate, I like this take on “addictions”:

    “all addictions become a problem when they start to interfere with your human relations and communications with the people around you.” …


    Until then, live and let live.

  5. I am relatively new to prepping and am reading everything I can to learn better, simpler ways to build a store of all that is needed to live through disasters, natural or man-made. My observations, however, of many prepper websites and blogs is that everyday life for so many preppers is being thrown aside in favor of just one more filtration system or a better way to start a fire under any circumstance. There seems to be a paranoia among a big number of folks inclined to prepare. I am concerned that these folks aren’t living their day-to-day lives in favor of prepping for tomorrow. We should all be prepared, yes, and we should work to help our family, friends, and neighbors be prepared. But not at the expense of viewing every moment, every object, every experience as another prepping opportunity. The smugness of being prepared should never replace the joy of living. When the SHTF and we are all holed up in our safe places, it will be more comforting to recall our carefree days than to worry about why we didn’t buy 1 more candle. Be prepared, definitely, but live each day to the maximum. You won’t get a second shot at it not matter how well prepared you are.

  6. As my spouse continues to remind me….What happened to our vacations and quiet evenings on the lake? I am constantly researching and building “stuff” for preparedness. I love the DIY stuff that requires no electricity to use. We keep buying one lottery ticket a week to hopefully win enough to buy the items we really need. There are just so many interesting Blogs and websites to read and learn stuff on..

  7. I don’t think you can or ever, or should stop prepping. I guess I am addicted because I want to have an easier life WSHTF. With prices going higher & higher, I feel I’m also just buying things on sale for use later if nothing happens. We can always do better at everything we do. There may be a slow down of course. However I can honestly say yes to all your questions above. For instance, Sat. we were driving by a dollar store that has some great wine glasses. 🙂 While there I purchased some more candles and lighters. Most people wouldn’t think of doing that. If that makes me a “Hoarder” because I already have some, so be it. When you are constantly aware of what you will be needing, it just becomes second nature. I’m still canning and while I have a good storage of food & items, I feel I will be the one to help take care of the rest of my family. If I have the opportunity to purchase or grow something that I will use later in life, I have just saved myself money and/or will have less work in the future. We will be going on a road trip vacation in a couple months, but unlike most, I will have our bags with us just in case.
    Jim, keep storing water. Don’t let anyone discourage you from doing so.

  8. I feel that the TV program about “hoarders” (which I have never seen) makes many people not prep for fear they will be labled the derogatory term of hoarder. That program was a big dis-service to peppers everywhere! (Even FEMA recommends prepping!!) And, yes, I know that technically prepping and hoarding are almost the same thing, but hoarding has too many bad connotations attached to it.

  9. I was storing water in juice bottles, until my sis came down for a visit. She accused me of being a “hoarder” like the people shown on TV. I told her that if she would get me a 5 gallon water dispense and a couple of bottles of water for it then I would stop collecting water in juice bottles. She got me a water cooler that also has a water heater (great for re-hydrating MH freeze dried foods) and it has a small refrigerated compartment, plus 3 water bottles for it.

  10. Gaye, I think great minds think alike. I am ready to start enjoying life. I think I have everything in place that a reasonable person would have. I am trying to get rid of my goats and pigs that have to be fed daily, but I can load up the feeders for the chickens and rabbits, so I can bug out for a long weekend. I think I am becoming a hoarder, so I am quitting. As soon as my garden is in, I am taking off to enjoy retirement. Visit people that I miss.
    Thanks for giving me the ok to do that.

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