Home Recovery Cleaning House

Cleaning House

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Bath towels.

I haven’t read much about how overeating’s unmanageability is reflected in the disorganization in our homes.

My eating compulsion began with a vengeance when I left home for college in the early sixties. I coped with stress and insecurity by taking food from roommates’ care packages and money from their purses to feed the candy machines downstairs. (Later while in OA, I made direct financial amends to those people.) My dorm room was a disaster area! One day the housekeeper threw out some clothes I had draped over a wastebasket!

I didn’t find OA until 1984. With the help of OA and another Twelve Step program, I was able to find abstinence and reach for my spiritual and career goals. However, my deep shame at the disorganization in my home plagued me throughout the years of raising a family and working stressful jobs.

After my recent retirement from a social work career, I finally faced the overwhelming task of putting my house in order. (Did I mention procrastination and its buddy perfectionism were high on my list of character defects?)

I am maintaining an over 40-pound (18-kg) weight loss. Each morning before putting my feet on the floor, I pray for an abstinent day and the guidance for what to tackle next. Throughout the day I ask for the right thought or action as I do this tedious work. When shame surfaces, I ask to have it removed. The clutter is a concrete reminder of the unmanageability.

I’m using all the Steps with this project, and order is coming out of chaos. I am taking inventory and discarding what I no longer need or want. When the trash pickup comes, it’s like dumping inventory.

I have had few cravings or urges to eat, even though boxes of old letters and writings trigger many feelings. It has been most painful to read things I wrote as a young woman new to the throes of this disease, with no idea what it was or that help existed. I am able to let these memories go now, with compassion for myself and with gratitude for a recovery program I can apply to all my affairs— even the mess in my basement!

— Anonymous, Wisconsin USA

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