I'm Not A Hoarder, But...

It's funny, for years I was an Oprah regular. I'd look forward to new seasons, new shows, and rarely miss a show. But nowadays I'm busy from 4-5pm or distracted or Oprah just doesn't have on what I am needing in my life (Whitney Houston, for reals?). Yesterday, like many of you, I made a point to tune into to Stephanie Nielson aka Nie Nie Dialogues. I'm so glad I did, what an amazing, inspirational woman. Then I caught a glimpse of the preview of today's show about hoarding and decided to tune in.

I'm not going to give you a full run down of the episode, but it was about extreme hoarders. Oprah delved into the psychological battle that is hoarding and how it presents itself in people. Watching the show, I felt like I could relate. Although, I wouldn't consider myself to be a hoarder, I do find much pleasure in getting rid of things especially rotting food, thank goodness. But my office/playroom right now is out of control unorganized and my problem, putting everything in it's place. I have to admit I watched the show to feel like, my life isn't that bad. Nice, huh?

But what really hit home for me was the focus on hoarding as an addiction. I go through phases where I use food to cope and deal, first and foremost most the months of August and September. It's true, I've said it before and I will say it again, I know I use food. Others use alcohol or working out, gambling or drugs, online chatrooms or shopping. Which leads me to my second problem, shopping. I am not a compulsive shopper, but I have definitely used shopping to escape. Hell, I can use a trip to Target to escape. A list of five things turns into an hour later and $150 bucks. Ouch. Beyond the waste of money, it's the compulsion to buy crap that I don't need, stuff that gets five minutes of admiration and thrown into a donation box or the trash or fills a bin and gets thrown in the closet.

So shopping and food, my weaknesses.

Maybe I dabble in both consistently enough that I don't overly abuse one or the other. But let's admit they both sure are taxing. One to my wallet, the other to my body, and both to my mind. I can't really name the exact moment but at some point over the last couple of years, I recognized I abuse the two. I get it. For a very long time I didn't get it. I just thought I needed things or I had the money so why not go shopping.

So now what?

I watched that Oprah show today and tonight I went shopping! Gulp, way to go, way to learn something! I did go shopping with a mission, I knew what I was looking for and with August and September just recently behind me, I don't feel slim and trim, so that helps my neurotic self weed out things I may have purchased on a whim. I tried on lots of things, I browsed through many stores, but I didn't over buy. I put things back I had picked out for the girls and walked out of stores empty handed.

Just like I said a week ago, tomorrow is another day, tomorrow is the day it really is. Over the past week, I've fought some tendencies, brushed up right in their face this evening, and even feel proud to say I know taking a closer look inside is hard work. I'm on the path.

Tomorrow maybe i'll focus some of my will to escape into being present. I recognize the beauty in wanting to change and knowing the only way to do that is to look within.


  1. Good for you for recognizing these tendencies within yourself. I can do the same thing at Target and the grocery store...that's why I'm especially proud of myself for my morning Wegmans run. I went in for three specific items and left with ONLY those three things. Go me. And Go you!

  2. Oh i hear you, i think you could be excused for the target thing, every women i know could go spend a fortune there very quickly. It's a matter of finding a happy medium. For me the food thing is hard in the winter, i could eat salad all summer but as soon as i feel any cold, the food comes out. good luck with your efforts, next time you feel tempted to shop give me a call and we can have a coffee instead!

  3. Good post! I defintely escape in food and shopping as well. *sigh* It's something I know will get worse if I don't work on it. That's what therapy is for, right? I'm paying that copay for a reason...

  4. i can relate on both counts. it's so good for us to realize when we are using food and shopping (or something else) to dull our senses or perk us up.

  5. Aww, I'm sad I missed the Nie interview!!! I haven't been in my reader for a while and had no idea! I bet it was absolutely inspirational! :)

    I definitely shop for emotional reasons sometimes...definitely going to have to stop that though.

  6. I am married to a borderline hoarder -- every room is out of control unorganized. And me? I am not the greatest organized. We're doomed I tell you - doomed!

  7. This all sounds very familiar... And I thought of you today as I put my twins' birthday cake in the refrigerator. even with the huge wedge we sent to the neighbors, there is a good half-cake left for me to pick at all weekend.

  8. The other day I was on one of my own purposeless shopping trips and thankfully found my self at the tail end of a HUGE line.

    It gave me time to assess my choices and to decide whether or not I REALLY needed any of the things in my arms.

    I ended up just putting it all down on the table next to me and walked out.

    Good for you for starting down this path. I'm right behind you.

  9. I can walk into Target for shampoo and walk out $300 later. It's all nonsense stuff that really does not add any value to our lives. *sigh*

    I am the daughter of a compulsive hoarder. It's definitely an addiction. Maybe as a result I've gone the complete opposite direction. I throw away probably more than I should. My kids are always telling me, "don't throw that away mom!!" I'm probably going to turn them into hoarders. *sigh*

  10. Oh, I can definitely relate!! When I think clearly about it I try to ask myself, what is the void? Good luck and don't beat yourself up if you do enjoy a home baked good or a new dress. Strive for balance. - MH


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