“Hoarders” Lesson Learned

Several months ago, I walked into the living room to find my husband watching a show called “Hoarders: Buried Alive.”  It is a documentary/reality-tv style show about people who are obsessed with filling their homes with “stuff” with no regard for the effect this behavior has on their family members, their health, and their finances.  On this particular episode, the woman had piles and piles of what looked like trash literally stacked to the ceiling, 4 or 5 piles deep, in every room.  The only way to walk through the home was by way of a narrow path that lead to the filthy bathroom at one end and the disgusting kitchen at the other.  Everywhere you looked there were mounds of dirty clothes, moldy dishes, and other assorted junk. To top it all off, the family had gotten to the point of just deciding to use the only cleared patch in the middle of their living room as a trash heap.  It was full of empty pizza boxes, used styrofoam coffee cups, and soiled napkins and paper towels. Despite threats of having her children taken away and her home condemned, the woman refused to clean her house.

I was shocked and disgusted.

For the first 15 minutes, I watched with the look of someone hypnotised by a car crash – it was just too horrible to look away.  Then my husband and I spent some time making rude comments about the people on the show – – things to the effect of “I would NEV-er!”  Sad to say, we were actually making fun of the woman and her blatant denial of how bad the situation was.

Then, halfway through the program, it hit me…

I was doing exactly the same thing with food.

All at once I could see that the way I was judging this woman was the EXACT SAME WAY I had always feared that people were judging me!  I had spent my entire life trying to “pretend” there was nothing wrong on the outside, while inside I was consumed by an obsession to binge AND hide my my 345-pound body (which is impossible, by the way!).  Suddenly it was crystal-clear to me that this hoarding-thing was a visual representation of what I had been doing to myself INSIDE my body.  The same way that she crammed her house with trash is the same way I crammed my body with trash!  The same way that she stopped caring about the up-keep of her house was the same way I stopped caring about the up-keep of my appearance.  Her external environment was a reflection of her internal addiction just as my physical appearance was a reflection of my eating disorder!

I am sure that the only reason why I was able to see this at all is because I am involved in a 12-Step Program.

It was very humbling.

Talk about “food for thought.”


May 4, 2012 This post was written by Categories: My Battle With Character Defects Tagged with:

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