Trou­ble with purg­ing

Manteca Bulletin - - Comics -

Dear An­nie: Next month, I’m mov­ing into an apart­ment that’s smaller than my cur­rent one. So in the mean­time, I’ve been go­ing through all of my stuff, try­ing to purge any­thing I don’t use. I have been do­nat­ing a lot of clothes, books, DVDs, knick­knacks and the like to Good­will. I used to have trou­ble let­ting go of things be­cause of sen­ti­men­tal at­tach­ment, but af­ter a few moves, I’ve got­ten pretty good at de­tach­ing feel­ings from ob­jects.

The one place where I’m run­ning into prob­lems is when it comes to gifts. Any­thing a friend or fam­ily mem­ber has given me, I have a hard time throw­ing away. I feel guilty. I think about the per­son ex­cit­edly pick­ing the thing out for me. For in­stance, my aunt al­ways sends me jew­elry, but I only wear it when I see her, a cou­ple of times a year. I don’t re­ally wear much jew­elry nor­mally. And my mom and dad have got­ten me count­less T-shirts from their trav­els over the years. They’re great T-shirts, but I must have over 30 T-shirts. My dresser draw­ers are over­stuffed. But ev­ery time I put one of the T-shirts in my “do­na­tion” bags, I end up dig­ging it out a few hours later. How can I get over this, An­nie? -Can’t Give Away Gifts

Dear Can’t Give Away Gifts: Per­haps a lit­tle thought ex­er­cise will help you to clear this men­tal hur­dle. Think of a gift you gave years ago to a loved one -- your aunt, let’s say. Now think of that gift sit­ting on her closet shelf, gath­er­ing dust and giv­ing her pangs of guilt ev­ery time she sees it. Would you want her to keep it just be­cause you gave it to her? Of course not. You’d want her to do­nate it and make space for things she loves. And she’d prob­a­bly want you to do the same. You might also let her know you have plenty of jew­elry now, to save her from spend­ing money on it in the fu­ture. As for the T-shirts from your par­ents, you could re­pur­pose them into a quilt or sim­ply keep one or two of your fa­vorites and do­nate the rest.

Re­mem­ber that just be­cause you don’t love a gift doesn’t mean you love the giver any less.

Dear An­nie: I read your re­sponse to “Sad Step­mom,” who is con­cerned that her son, with a history of ad­dic­tion, may be drink­ing and us­ing drugs. Thank you for rec­om­mend­ing that she re­turn to Al-Anon and also for say­ing that Al-Anon is not a pro­gram you grad­u­ate from.

In my 35 years of ac­tive in­volve­ment in Al-Anon, there have been many times when I’ve seen peo­ple re­turn to a meet­ing af­ter not com­ing for a long time. And none of them has ever said that it was just to pop in and see how we were do­ing and that life was go­ing great.

Al­though I have not lived with ac­tive al­co­holism in many years, ac­tu­ally decades, I at­tend meet­ings be­cause I live in this world and still have to deal with oth­ers and my­self. -- Daphne F.

Dear Daphne: I’m glad to hear that Al-Anon has been of help to you over the years. At the risk of sound­ing like a bro­ken record, I’m go­ing to use this op­por­tu­nity to once again pro­mote the ben­e­fits of Al-Anon for the fam­i­lies of those with ad­dic­tion. Visit https://al-anon. org for more in­for­ma­tion and a data­base of meet­ings across the coun­try.

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