There’s this depressive sludge I’m crawling through right now, as a hoarder that is decluttering and packing up my collection, that eerily reminds me of other addictions. The biggest I learned as a furniture mover was that it’s easier to move other people’s stuff than your own because you don’t have an attachment to their stuff. Learning the decisiveness to keep or toss material possessions, while pretentiously first-world, does remind me of quitting other addictions.
This will essay will be pitiful and self-loathing.
Believe me, I’m on the front row to understanding how terrible it seems to compare hoarding tendencies to serious medical issues like physical addiction to alcohol. It’s the inherent greed of ‘owning too much stuff’ that sits this problem closer to the despicable people that play up their mental illnesses or other issues for sympathy, but here’s the thing: dredging through these negative emotions and depressive thoughts can, even as a vestige reminder, perhaps help others in either the hoarding or the addiction camps.
It’s all the same, really.
This moving process has blocked off one of the avenues I used to stop drinking. When I’d feel down, I’d go to the liquor store, browse the shelves for bottles that looked cool or filled particular holes in my liquor collection, purchase, and consume them. When I finally stopped that terrible habit, that disposable income was still there along with that pleasurable sensation of going to the store and browsing, so instead, I re-routed that sensation to buying stuff I would later hoard. Now that I’ve stopped that, I have less incentive to leave the house, so I’m surrounded by this coffin of depressive de-hoarding.
What do you do in these situations but phone a friend?
That’s what sponsors within addictive communities are: people that know your crazy mindset, can empathize with how trivial it may seem for those on the outside that might just say “well, don’t consume so much, cheer up, buddy, and have a good evening,” and to help you through those toughest spots. It shouldn’t matter, then, if it’s a life-threatening addiction a substance or just some peculiar item that only negatively impacts you. If you have someone that you can talk you down off the ledge of purchasing more alcohol or clutter, isn’t that sponsor a good friend?
I asked hoarding master, Collector about this:
“When I’m cleaning up I have one of two mindsets. If it’s working out, finding some great way things will work out more efficiently, I feel great. If it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it feels hopeless.” Over the past few days, I felt in the same kind of post-alcohol stupor I had years ago, where I’d look around and just feel tired. I have so much stuff yet to pack and time is running out. All I want to do is return back to that old normal.
Just like all that I wanted to do nearly six years ago was drink.
Note to self: stay strong.
|Quotes:  Collector. When I brought up how he was like my hoarding sponsor, he said: “Maybe, if I’m the equivalent of a sponsor that still actively drinks, but just tries to cut back.”|
|Sources: My personal experiences|
|Inspirations: The Sober Living column has always been the place for me dredging through my worst emotions. This moving process hasn’t been kind to my emotions the past few days. Writing these essays usually are the most helpful, and I think it’s because we all really just want to express our thoughts in an environment where we can feel like we’re heard. I always operate writing for Better Zombie like I won’t receive any readers or feedback, so it’s a weird sort of echo chamber, but I imagine it’s like I’m writing this to you – a sympathetic person that clicked on the link through some weird chance, and got to this point to say “yeah, buddy, I’m cheering for you. Hang in there.” That’s what I’d like to think.|
|Related: Other Sober Living and Moving Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My first box of stuffed animals, which yesterday, completely exhausted my mental reserves.|
|Written On: December 7th [30 minutes]|
|Last Edited: First draft; final draft|