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You are viewing a single post made by ButterflyChaser in the thread called YOU are my rehab!!.
Mar 14, 2010 8:54 AM CST
Name: NancyAnn
Jonesboro Ark
I'm overcoming my addiction to things as I work towards a better understanding and a more minimalistic life. I've always been a collector. I collected ships for my living room decor, teddy bear figurines because I thought they were cute, books (I'm an English major and had to keep every book I ever read since I was a kid), etc. If I picked up a hobby, I acquired every possible tool I might ever need for it, whether I knew how to use it or not. When I did ceramics, I had lots of fired bisque ready to paint and paint in every color imaginable. When I took up scrapbooking, I acquired an entire room of papers, cutters, inks, stamps, and other tools and supplies. Everything is neat and organized, but still it's just excessive. Even my gardens show signs of compulsion. My ENTIRE yard is a botanical garden. I have no lawn; it's all plants and mulched paths all the way around my house.

In analyzing myself, I've come to learn that "things" filled a hole in my soul. I suffered a lot of trauma as a child and quickly learned that people could not be trusted. Things don't hurt you; people do. Over time I became a bit reclusive, turning to things to soothe and heal me where people would not. I spent most of my life hiding from people and surrounding myself with beautiful, wonderful things.

Now at 46, I'm learning to let go of the things. It was really hard at first, but I started with small steps, letting go of what I could. Some things were just impossible. The thought of letting some things go, like my books, would feel me with gloom and depression. It was crazy, I knew that, to be so attached to the books. But I think books had always been my refuge. I was an A student in school and college, and books were my "happy place". So I started by getting rid of just a handful at a time. It took years to clear out the 1000's of books I had, but once I did, I felt relieved at not having to dust them or move them when I rearranged furniture. And it was a blessing to get rid of all those bookcases.

I've evaluated and re-evaluated every little thing in my house. And I've gotten rid of just about anything that doesn't serve a real purpose. It's great therapy actually to give up something this week that I couldn't even think about parting with two months ago. And the more I cull out, the more I want to cull out. I'm constantly going thru drawers, closets and cabinets and tossing items in boxes to be given away or sold.

Selling many of my items has really helped me stay focused on de-cluttering. Money is my reward for overcoming this addiction to "things". I spent over $200 this morning on groceries, vitamins and other necessaries, and all that money came from some of these "things" that I sold. So it felt like a free shopping spree. LOL

Another motivator is thinking about what my loved ones would have to deal with should I die suddenly. Since that was a very real possibility a few years ago, they spurred me into action. No one would want all the collections I had. If I thought of anyone who would, I boxed up the collections and gave them to that person to enjoy; he/she didn't have to wait til I died to "inherit" them. And watching someone else treasure something you treasured is quite nice.

As I become physically and emotionally healthier, "things" are much less important to me. I need my gardens, another hobby or two, my morning walks, my dark chocolate, and my fruit smoothies. Most of the other stuff is unnecessary, and I'm becoming more able to let it go. I've even quit being a compulsive shopper. I do go thru a store and gather up things, probably compulsively. But before I get to the checkout, I go thru my buggy to see if I REALLY want these items. Often I put back several or even half of what I gathered up. Facing my compulsion this way, and overcoming it, is liberating.

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