“As long as we still owe amends, our spirits are cluttered with things we don’t need. We’re carrying the extra load of an apology owed, a resentment held, or unexpressed remorse. It’s like having a messy house. We could leave so we don’t have to see the mess, or maybe just step over the piles of debris and pretend they aren’t there. But ignoring the disorder won’t make it disappear. In the end, the dirty dishes, the crumb-filled carpet, and the overflowing wastebaskets are still there, waiting to be cleaned up.
A cluttered spirit is just as hard to live with as a messy home. We always seem to be tripping over yesterday’s leavings. Every time we turn around and try to go somewhere, there is something blocking our path. The more we neglect our responsibility to make amends, the more cluttered our spirits become. And we can’t even hire someone to clean up. We have to do the work ourselves.
We gain a deep sense of satisfaction from making our own amends. Just as we would feel after we’ve cleaned our homes and have time to enjoy a bit of sunshine through sparkling windows, so will our spirits rejoice at our freedom to truly enjoy our recovery. And once the big mess is cleaned up, all we have to do is pick up after ourselves as we go along.
Just for today: I will clear away what’s cluttering my spirit by making the amends I owe.“
JFT, Sept 4
This reading came to me around the time I got home from being away at the clinic, and it really struck a cord with me. In my life I’ve generally been a very cluttered person. My mother, on the other hand, couldn’t be more opposite. So I think I rebelled against being tidy, and I guess for a large portion of my childhood, my mother (probably for her own sanity) kept the house spotless of everything untidy. So she probably picked up after me for a while until eventually she became sick of it or I got old enough where I now needed to start doing my own shit.
Jump forward to today, and I’m also a sentimental horder. I don’t keep everything, but I do struggle to let go of things that mean something to me, even as small as a gift tag. Now over the years this can really add up to quite a bit of space & clutter. I’ve recently employed the Marie Kondo method of decluttering, and of course I started (as recommended) with my clothes. I gathered all my items of clothing and went through each item one by one, and I was honest with myself about why I still had that item (especially if I no longer wore it).
Some items were easy enough, they didn’t fit and I hoped I’d be able to fit into them again one day. Well I put them in the donation pile because, quite frankly, it now just reminded me of active addiction and how much thinner I was (I’m still working on my food obsession/disorder) and I knew I wasn’t going to fit into them any time soon. And while I am hanging on to them, someone out there is colder because they can’t afford a new pair of jeans. So in to the donation pile they went. In fact, that last thought was more what got me through being ruthless with my clothing and I ended up with 4 large bags full of clothing.
Once done I folded everything the #konmari way and now my closet looks tidier than I’ve ever had it in my life! And best of all, everything has a place, and it’s easier to get to! My whole issue in life has been packing things away so neatly I can’t access half the stuff so I end up hauling everything out again to get to something at the back I needed.
With the #konmari way, everything is in easy reach and at a glance I can spot tops I haven’t worn in months (having been one of those at-the-back items).
Next up was the kitchen, but in the divorce I downsized quite a bit so there wasn’t anything really to get rid of just yet, but I did reorganise the kitchen and it’s so much more inviting and functional now. I also freed up a lot of space so I now have more cupboard space for groceries and the shelves are being utilised with pots, crockery, etc now.
There is something so satisfying about having a decluttered space. Where before I would loath packing away dry dishes because of how awkward everything was packed (to be fair, we never really properly repacked after our last remaining housemates moved out), I now pack away in a breee, which makes maintaining the tidyness so much more achievable.
Why am I telling you this? As addicts, I think we absorb a lot of our surrounds into our lives moreso than we think. In the beginning we use drugs to enhance our activities -let’s use rock climbing as an example. We think it makes it a better experience. Eventually we start to get excited to go to rock climbing for the getting high more than the climbing. Then eventually, that gets boring and we start just going out to get high, and we ditch the rock climbing entirely. Eventually we don’t even see the point of going out and we start using at home and we limit our activities to those we can do around the house – let’s use gardening for this example. Even that eventually becomes too much work and we are now just “living to use and using to live”. Sound familiar? Thought so. All addicts have been there, no matter your DOC.
After we’ve lost interest in fun activities, what makes us think our daily chores will be any more interesting for us to do? So they too fall away, or at least by the wayside. You start not packing shit away, and your house becomes more and more cluttered. There is too much clutter to sweep around so you stop doing that too. You start only brushing your hair if you’re going out, which is rare now that you’re basing all social engagements around your using. You start not washing your clothes every other day, and now you only wash them when you’re on your oldest and most ill-fitting clothes (which is ok by your standards, because that’s just another excuse not to have to go out, so you can stay in and -you guessed it- use).
You can see my point. A cluttered house leads to a cluttered mind, and a cluttered mind is a breeding ground for our addict selves to come to the surface.