Former Denver Fire Chief Blames Shopping Addiction

“It’s painful to see how much my addictions have affected my life.” 

At first glance, one might assume this statement came from a smoker, drinker or drug addict suffering from physical, financial or social consequences of their addiction. In fact, David MacBean, a former fire chief said this in regard to his shopping addiction.

MacBean was the former Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District Chief of the foothills area west of Denver and is facing hefty sentencing for embezzling over $600,000 to fuel his shopping addiction.

He reportedly used the tax dollars to purchase personal luxury items like guitars, ammunition, photography equipment, ammunition, and guitars among other things all on the agency credit card. According to MacBean, “It was easy, and I was able to get away with it.” He then explained that getting away with it was just part of a larger host of issues he was dealing with such as depression and addictive tendencies; “I started to believe that if I could surround myself with stuff, that I could be happy,” he said.

MacBean faces up to 27 years in prison at his sentencing next week after pleading guilty for stealing from the Fire Protection District for over three years. “There is nothing I can say that would justify the decisions I have made. For me, it’s important for people to understand I feel terrible about this. And, most importantly, what I’m doing about it.” He is apparently seeking intensive therapy to deal with his behaviors.

Addiction can be very far reaching – and take shape in ways other than substance abuse, such as through compulsivity in spending, eating or in relationships. A common tool used in addiction recovery programs is to have those in early recovery reflect on how how addictions have directly impacted their lives- it sounds like MacBean has done just that.