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Decluttering Brain and House in Sobriety.

Old 02-18-2010, 04:48 PM
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Decluttering Brain and House in Sobriety.

Well, on a thread I posted about switching up liquor stores some of us started to digress into another topic: Clutter and cleansing. It seems that as I am getting more clear in these early days of my sobriety (one month) that I am starting to clear out "stuff" that I have accumluated. As I explained my mom, dad, uncle, and friend all died a few years ago...and I had been drinking ever since, as my "healthy" method of self medicating (NOT!). I also grabbed a bunch of their things in an attempt to hold on to all of the ones that I loved that were leaving me. So in addition to just having a lot of my own stuff I now have a lot of theirs. I have a small home with a lot of things cluttering it. Things are stored, under here, behind this, over there...and it is just not feeling so comfortable like that now in here.

I woke up the other day, and was feeling the need to start weeding things out, and to give things to the Homeless Shelter, so that it goes to folks that can use these things that I am not using.

I see from that last thread that apparently a lot of folks can relate to this new "Cleansing" and organizing of one's home after becoming sober. I felt unclear in my mind, and think that my surroundings became a reflection of that.

And now that my head is becoming clearer, I want my living space to be clear also. To give myself room to breath, and to feel like I can be creative again. I find it hard to want to create, when there is too much here already.

Anyone else relate to any of this? Finding yourself wanting to clean out your house after gaining your sobriety?

And also, how do you let go, when there is too much stuff... Especially if it is sentimental? A lot of things are handmade by my parents and uncle (they were artists and artisans in their spare time). I want to clear out, but I am also having problems letting go of a lot of it. I guess this is a two part question, and am interested in hearing about either or both. Thanks.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:34 PM
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I've moved three times since I got sober.

The first move was at the very beginning of my recovery and the very end of my drinking. It was the move when both kids were left behind in university and I moved a couple of hours away for my husband's job. That was definitely the hardest move ever. We moved from a family home into a downtown condo so downsizing was huge. I cried a lot, got incredibly frustrated and then felt such a relief and sense of calm. We are now living in a more minimalist environment and I love it. It's kind of like lightening the load.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:43 PM
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Have you ever watched an episode of "Clean House"? they talk alot about letting go of stuff..in addition to making over people's homes and selling their stuff at a garage sale, it's on Style network...they also do some light psychological counseling about letting go of things because you have the memories of the people themselves.

I donate to the Vietnam Vets in NJ, they come with a truck right to your house and leave a receipt for tax donations...you can look them up online vietnam vets of america, they take smaller items..it's handy because you don't have to pack up the car.

I had my house all nice, neat beautiful, clean and freshly painted last year, then BOOM...life fell apart, major depression set in, my mother got sick, my relationship fell apart and progressed into a world of crappola, which triggered more drinking, which triggered more depression, which progressed into a giant downward spiral. In less than a year i've made my house into a hole...

but i am crawling out....i started the other night, putting my insomnia to good use, I plan to continue...even in a few extra mins. I can remove a bunch of clutter and lysol wipe a counter....when previously i used to stand there and stare out the window and drink a glass of wine, then pour the next one so I didn't have to walk back to the kitchen. i'm a multi-task *efficient* drinker.

thanks for starting this thread!
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:52 PM
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I got rid of all my drinking related clothing, mostly T-shirts and sweatshirts, along with a collection if beer mugs. To me these were sentimental items. :rotfxko
I have very few items that remind me of my parents but I would never give them up.
Think twice before you give up some of those keepsakes so as not to regret it later.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:13 PM
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This will be my first sober weekend...I am planning to put it to good use and make myself feel better by getting some long-needed work done. I still have Xmas decorations to be put away and a buffet table sitting out from January 9 that i need to return to my neighbor....tonight i came home and because i felt better physically (and was sober) I vaccumed for the first time in a month, cleaned a bathroom that REALLY needed some attention, folded laundry, gave the kitchen counters a lick and a promise...and messed up the microwave i cleaned last night, but i fixed it right away instead of letting it sit....I've done more in 3 days while detoxing? than i have in a month.

I skipped grocery shopping because all day i've been wanting fresh fruit which i associate with Sangria so i figured why tempt myself...because the liquore stoe is right next to the grocery.

Houndheart, i read on the LS thread about your missing your furbaby, i'm so sorry....i had to lose my beloved Akita 3 years back...now i just have my kitties.
yes, i am long-winded, sorry....
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:53 AM
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Hound, if are back on Fri, I will watch for any word from you on how the "inventory" at home is going. I know you are putting in a lot of effort to come to the right decisions. Every little moment when you achieve something constructive that you did for yourself adds up. I think it's great that you want to give yourself some more space in your head AND your surroundings so you can exercise some creativity. You deserve the comforts of home, and I believe you just need encouragement to tell you that you can keep taking your steps the way you know how to take them. It was still basically a disaster (by my own recognition and in my own words) at my home for almost 2 months after I quit drinking. I found the courage to change that eventually, and I literally smile when I go into the rooms now. (Not every time, but you know, the difference just amazes me sometimes.)

If I don't get to you soon enough, I am confident someone will chime in. You made a lot of friends when you started these specific threads that help us.
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Old 02-19-2010, 06:53 AM
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I worked like a madman in my early sobriety - trimmed trees in the yard, built a deck and installed a hot tub, build workbenches in my garage, etc. The inside of our house usually looks like a tornado hit it, I have an 8 year old and a wife who is not that into cleaning, but I do from time to time take on bigger indoor de-cluttering projects. Here almost a year in (minus a few recent slips, which are why I'm back on here daily) I don't seem to have a lot of time to do things around the house, but I think that has a lot to do with the time of year/weather.

For me, the staying busy early on really helped me with getting off alcohol. When I look at all the things I accomplished in 9 months last year compared with what I accomplished while drinking, it really drives home how much "life time" alcohol can waste.
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:46 PM
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I call my disease of alcoholism/addiction as disease of lacking or neediness.

Which is ironic really considering how much stuff I have accumulated, particularly in the last year of alcoholism. I've also accumulated a lot of debt to pay for all this stuff I didn't need, but thought I needed to compensate for my lacking.

A chance phone call to a friend yesterday and I was talking about a sewing machine that I was putting up for sale on eBay. She offered me money for it straight away because she needs one. Then she questioned what I would do without my sewing machine. We both laughed when I told her that I had bought two. One was not enough.


Letting go of all this stuff is very liberating. I love listening to Wayne Dyer, he calls the process - simplifying your life. I can really relate. I am enjoying looking at much (not quite all yet) of my surroundings now. It's incredibly peaceful and uncluttered.

As to the sentimental items, perhaps leave those until last. Tackle everything else first.

It says in the Big Book p 98

Burn the idea into the consciousness of every man that he can get well regardless of anyone. The only condition is that he trust in God and clean house.
....I can take that quote to mean literally clean house as well as clean house.
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Old 02-19-2010, 04:03 PM
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hi Intention good to see another ebayer also... selling goods ive had kickin about gatherin
dust ,is right for sure about the build up of things...Bein on the sauce for so long such
low productivity in the cleaning Dept ie. funny thing obviously 5 days in again..A little
edgy at work..Early days again..I gave a guy a lift from work, he got into my car,an says
do ya ever clean it..Quite Incensed i replied you can Walk if you want...Clearly annoyed
at his nerve...HOWEVER realiy check my car is like a skip on wheels...Junk an clutter
everywhere.. SO off tommorow, the cars gettin the makeover first Ha! :rotfxko
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