AGoholics Anonymous

Hello friends, and happiest of holidays! I’d like to talk with you about a serious problem that affects many, particularly during this time of year. While the season brings much joy, wonder, and merriment, for some it can also trigger certain behaviors in women and girls alike.

That’s right – I’m talking about AGA {American Girl Addiction}.

Rachael Pavlik (1)

American Girl Addiction {or AGoholism} is a chronic disorder characterized by an obsession with American Girl dolls and accessories. If you don’t have a daughter or niece, you may be spared this particular scourge {but you and your son probably have a raging Nintendo DS or Minecraft monkey on your back to deal with, so don’t look so smug}.

For us it started when my daughter was a toddler. She was lucky enough to receive an American Girl ‘Bitty Baby’ doll from one of her well-meaning pushers grandmothers. {I honestly can’t remember who to blame.} “Oh! So precious!” Nana cooed. “And look at all the cute little things you can get to go with her in this here cataloguecatalogue…catalogue.”

“Hi! I’m Mia. Hand over your wallet.”

Famous last words. I didn’t know it at the time, but Bitty Baby is the gateway drug to full-on AG addiction. Soon the catalogues and emails started coming. And we started buying. My daughter scours the catalogue and AG website every month planning what we’ll get next. We make monthly pilgrimages to the AG store in the mall. Should we pay the mortgage or get the Spa Chair With Hairstyling Kit?! Once they have you on the mailing list, you’re a lifer. It’s like you’re in the most adorable mob ever. Oh, sure, it’s fun at first. The outfits, the books, the matching PJ’s. The historical dolls are very educational and the American Girl message is a great one – “Follow Your Inner Star” *Inner Star sold separately, page 21*. But then you completely drink the Kool-Aid and find yourself on hold, ready to b*#@! out an operator because you’re still on a waiting list for ‘Ivy’s Rainbow Romper with matching charm bracelet!’ and you have to have it by Christmas Eve. Stop the madness. Put down the phone and the tiny monogrammed hairbrush. You don’t want to do this. I’m here to help you recognize the signs of AGoholism and make steps toward recovery.

Step 1 :: Admit you are powerless over American Girl and your daughter’s room has become unmanageable.

Do the names McKenna, Kit, or Addy ring a bell? Of course they do. Your daughter has one or all plus the books and outfits. Do you often find tiny, rounded shoes all over the house? Are the shoes nicer than your shoes? Can you walk through your girl’s room without tripping on Julie’s wooden four-poster bed with silky scalloped canopy? Shhh! Julie’s pet bunny, Nutmeg, is sleeping!
P.S. Ask yourself why the holy heck a DOLL needs a pet BUNNY?!

Step 2 :: Believe there is a power greater than yourself.

With a wallet greater than yours… Namely, the grandparents. Clearly this is their fault anyway. Let them buy this overpriced crap! Restore your sanity. And your credit score.

Step 3 :: Make a decision to turn your will over to the care of others.

Again, “Let go and let Grandma.” We just went over this. Pay attention.

Step 4 :: Make a searching and fearless inventory…

…of all AG accessories. Really? You actually bought Saige’s Art Easel and matching Hot Air Balloon?? Damn, you’re sicker than I thought.

Step 5 :: Admit to Grandma, yourself, and others that you have a problem.

And you are a real sucker. She knows, honey. She. Knows. It’s gonna be okay.

Step 6 :: Remove defects of character {and your name from the AG catalogue mailing list}.
This will be a tough one, because American Girl seems to send out a catalogue every frickin’ week. They are like the cockroach of the catalogue world. You may kill one but, oh, there are more lurking in your mailbox.

Step 7 :: Humbly ask for help.

Ask grandma if the catalogue can now come to her house. Nanna loves getting mail! Boom, you just took out the middle man. Genius.

Step 8 :: Make a list of all persons harmed by your crazy addiction.

Hmm…my son did have to go with us to the American Girl store that one time. For about 30 minutes… We didn’t make him sit and drink tea or anything, but still, I guess that’s pretty traumatic for a 10 year old boy.

Step 9 :: Make amends.

To my son? He got to go to Gamestop afterwards. Whatevs, he’s fine.

Step 10 :: Continue to take inventory.

Of doll crap, and when you accidentally buy more, promptly admit it. {Or, hide the receipt from your husband…whatever works.}

Step 11 :: Seek to improve…

…your daughter’s contact with other toys. Remind her about Barbie, and coloring, and, hey, look! It’s a Rainbow Loom! Omg, did I just say that out loud?! Vacuuming rubber bands is still cheaper than a $150 doll armoire.

Step 12 :: Help others.

These days, whenever I see a friend or little girl with an AG catalogue, I immediately walk up to them, slap the catalogue out of their hands, and stomp on it. Because I care. These poor suckers need to recover too. They just may not know it yet. Perhaps at one time your daughter even begged for play dates with these other AGoholics just to check out their doll loot!
It’s a sickness, I tell you. Cut all ties with these people, for they are evil enablers.

I hope these steps can help you break the cycle of addiction and help you and your daughter develop a healthier relationship with American Girl. I’ve been there, friend. I understand, and I want you to know there is hope.

Actually, Hope is on page 53 and OMG look at her cycling outfit! Precious!

Hey, one day at a time.

Happy Holidays! 😉

Rachael Pavlik (3)

[hr] Rachael Pavlik (2)About Rachael P.

Rachael is a mother, a writer, and a Pilates avoider. Not necessarily in that order. Originally from Louisiana, she cooks an etouffee that would make you smack your mama. Author of her own outrageous {and outrageously popular} blog, RachRiot, she is also a co-author on the best-selling anthology, I Just Want To Pee Alone. She regularly contributes to Houston Family Magazine as well as Aiming Low and List Of The Day blog. She lives in Houston, Texas with her Current Legal Spouse and two above-average children. Follow her Facebook fan page, blog, and twitter @RachRiot .


  1. I only have boys. I do not know of this American Girl Doll.. But I saw a show one time, R.L Stine’s the haunting hour…. And this doll straight up turned this woman’s daughter into a doll and took her place in human form!!! Get those devilish things out of your house before it’s too late!!

  2. So true! Bitty Baby is definitely the gateway drug. Currently we have Bitty Baby, Caroline, and a doll that looks like my daughter who my then 5yo named “Sparkle” (no hooker jokes please). They party in my daughter’s room like it’s their own personal dorm room. My daughter is resigned to her bed in the corner and must pick her way through the armoire, bed, styling chair, scooter and other assorted drug paraphernalia daily.

  3. My name is Frugie and I’m addicted to AG. My daughter is 13 and hasn’t touched them in over 2 years and I still look at the catalogs.

  4. Hi, my name is Karen, and both of my daughters are recovering AGoholics. We even went so far as to go straight to the supplier – a 5-day trip to the AG store in Chicago. I have to say that there are many things I miss about those days. Loved your post!

  5. I have neither a daughter nor a niece but this post made me roar! I will pass it on to the appropriate friends and family for review and to get them the much need help for their addiction. Thanks Rachael!

  6. That was amazingggg!!!! I had Samantha growing up and its still in storage somewhere just waiting for when I have a little girl. lol! I only ever got Samantha a couple of outfits, and tried to find or make her clothes, so my parents were lucky with me. My SISTER on the other hand, whew. She had bitty baby, and the crib, and a gazillion accessories. And then she needed a doll like mine, so she got one of those too. The magazines are amazing, I am doomed. My husband will have to confiscate the magazines for sure. 🙂

  7. My name is Sara and I am an AGoholic. I haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Unless rock bottom means staying up until midnight to see what the new daily deals are (despite being disappointed EVERY. SINGLE. TIME). In that case, I’m a the bottom, come join me.

    Monthly trip to AG? I’m slightly glad that our closest AG is a two hour train ride and 15 minute bus ride. That said, we made a trip out of it with my sister, 12 year old niece and my daughter for her 7th birthday. It was glorious.

    I though, am an AGoholic of my own making. Grandma approves and helps, but does not get involved. See, I’m 28 years old. Which means that AG dolls were just as popular today as they were when I was a little girl. But my parents couldn’t afford to buy me any of it.

    Never mind the roof over my head, clothes on my back, food in my belly. Nevermind my parents scrimped and saved so I could have a new computer for my 16th birthday. I have redeemed though. In the form of JLY55, Marie Grace, the Our Generation kitchen, Molly’s table and chairs and boxes upon boxes of clothing.

    So anyways, what were we talking about? Oh right. Want to go to AG with me?

  8. Rachel I am right there with you. As a matter of fact I spent 3 ok maybe 4 hours last week circling the AG store with my oldest, her best friend, my mother and grandmother. We checked out every little thing at least twice. This is all fine and dandy except that we have been to this store in the past and each time we walk in we all pretend it is the first time. I come from a family of AGoholics it started with my grandmother but I vow to break the cycle now. It just starts with one right!

  9. Um yes! yes! yes! This is perfect! I had Samantha when I was a little girl & the moment I found out I was pregnant with my oldest, I put my name on the mailing list for the AG catalog. Yeah….. I had a boy! lol

    Now I have a girl, she’s 20 months, this is going to get very scary! She’s getting a Bitty Baby in March for her 2nd birthday! Oh my!! Here we go!

  10. Hand raised and head hung in shame. What can I say? I loved AG when I was 10, and love it just as much now at 31. Passed on my Samantha to my oldest. Then moved onto Bitty Twins. Kit, Julie, McKenna. Another Bitty for my youngest. Don’t really see any signs of stopping. Perhaps we could arrange one of these catalog hand slappings – kind of like shock therapy?!

  11. Hello. My name is JD. And I am, sadly, a relapsed AG-oholic. My first downward spiral into the world of AG was when I was a girl. I managed to recover from that dark time when my eyes were opened to the wonders of real-life Boys. Hallelujah.

    Now my eldest has my Samantha doll. And my youngest has a Bitty Twin. And a hand-me-down Lainie. Oh, and the eldest has McKenna, too. Plus there are overflowing bins of clothes and accessories under my girls’ beds. Those dolls have better wardrobes than I have ever had.

    And … wait for it … grandma is getting both my girls AG dolls for Christmas. She is an enabler, that woman.

    By the way, I also know of that Saige painting set because I bought it. And Saige’s party dress. And her PJs. And other Saige things. Because IT’S ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 31 SO I MUST BUY ALL THE THINGS.

    Obviously, I need help.

  12. Hmmmm….can’t say we are recovering…I fear I am sliding down the slope! While reading this hilarious post, I realized….that even though the OTHER grandmother is responsible for the purchase of the AG dolls (Bitty baby, Bitty Twins and now Saige – who will be under this year’s tree)..there are accessories for Saige under MY tree – and I have found myself saying to people….well I live really close to the AG store, so if you want me to pick up something for you…

    Let’s see and even though McKenna is a doll, I know all about her tumbling, how she got hurt, etc. as if she if one of my granddaughter’s live friends. Geez!

    While in the AG store earlier this week, I was feeling all superior as the young gentleman in front of me spent $463 on Saige, her horse, clothes, etc. I was thinking, well at least we have our AG purchases under control… my question is …DO WE????

  13. But you’ve left off the point where you start selling the dolls once your child out grows them. That moment when you see Kanani sell for roughly double her original price on ebay

  14. I did not find out about these dolls until my niece needed one. I am a mother of 3 nerf loving LEGO building boys.

    She needed one I saw these beautiful dolls Omg!
    I wish I knew about these dolls when I was a child.
    I bought her a truly me doll curly blonde hair just like her. She loved it. I loved it. So I said to myself. I’ll buy one for me. You know to keep for a grand daughter I might have some day … I bought Mary Ellen, she is gorgeous. So then later I bought my niece Rebecca. Then I decided we’ll I’ll get one for me (new in box never to be touched) Samantha

    Samantha turned into Kit and Felicity, Nanea and wellie wisher Willa.

    It was too much where was I going to put all these dolls

    So I decided I’ll just collect the mini dolls they take up less space and I can get all of them.

    So yes I have 11 minis and 6 big dolls. All for my future grand daughter that doesn’t exist

    Yes I have a problem


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