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One year later

21st February 2006

One year ago tomorrow was my first post at SS. The previous Sunday, I found myself lying on the couch, where I'd been sleeping instead of my bed for about 2.5 years. There was a path to the TV, a path through the dining room, and a path to the front door. My oven was broken. My water heater was broken. My gas had been turned off, and could not be turned on without an in-home inspection. I had one barely working window AC unit, and in Texas, that just doesn't cut it. The stovetop was covered with junk, so it was too much trouble to use. The refrigerator was full of spoiled rotten food. The sink was full of years-old dirty dishes. The trash cans could not be seen due to the piles of trash surrounding them on the kitchen floor. One entire room had become a litter box for my kitty. The other two bedrooms were just full of junk and dirty clothes. In short, most of my house was either broken or unusable. I was in a major depression. I'd trashed my credit. I was neglecting my job. My car was falling apart from lack of maintenence. I wasn't taking care of my body.

I kept pretty busy, and few people had any clue how I was living. I kept busy to fend off the depression and berating voices that constantly nagged at me. Once home, I drank beer or wine until I fell asleep in front of the TV. As busy as I attempted to be, my life seemed so worthless.

That Sunday, I awoke, groggy and puffy from a bottle and a half of wine. I glanced around the room with disgust and despair. I wished I could die. Not that I *would* die, but that I *could* die. I wanted to die, but I was terrified of anyone I knew finding me in this mess. I didn't want anyone to ever know my filthy secret. So basically, I started cleaning a little bit because I was afraid to die like that. I picked up and threw away a couple things each time I moved my sullen @ss from the couch to the bathroom and back. By Monday, I noticed it actually made a small dent already.

Monday and Tuesday, I sat at work, at the good job I was fortunate enough to have, and I obsessed about my house. How can I do this? I can't die like this. Everyone would know. But it still seemed impossible, even considering the small dent I had made. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I remembered the name Flylady. I checked the site. I hated it. it was SO not for me. The lists and reminders would be like nails on a chalkboard to me. But I saw a couple of keywords there that were worth googling, so I did. Somehow, I found reference to Kimmy and the original squalor post, but it was gone from the web. I knew that this post was important, and I was determined to find it. I spent most of the day Tuesday searching for the post.

I never found it, but I did find Squalor Survivors, and Kimmy's pictures. My heart pounded when I saw what she had come back from. I wasn't far at all from her starting point. I began reading the main page and then the forums, and I cried silently so my cube-mates wouldn't hear me. I suddenly had just a little hope that the mess I lived in wasn't the end for me.

I made my introduction post... http://www.network54.com/Forum/139128/thread/1109112927/ and was welcomed in. Everyone was so warm and understanding. I still felt like I was dreaming. I shared goals and plans, and came back to report on my progress. The pictures of the process are on the main page.

After one year here... every room in my house is usable. I have a working water heater and a working oven. I got a home equity loan (keep in mind I had to have my house clean enough to be appraised!!!) which enabled me to buy a brand new central AC and heat system! I have paid off my student loans, paid off a new used car, and am making arrangements for other debts.... even ones I was so recently terrified to confront. I have had a weekend guest stay in my home. I am taking better care of myself. My life has done a 180! Today, my house is a mess. But it is a NORMAL mess. The kind of mess I could straighten up in a couple hours to have company. I still hate doing dishes and laundry. But I doubt that will ever change. I should vacuum more often, but who knows.... It's just so amazing to feel like a normal person. I just can't thank you all enough for being here with me every step of the way. Y'all have been my rock, my confidants, my conscience, and my cheerleaders. I can't imagine being in this shape today if I hadn't found you all. Interestingly enough, I happened to make an appointment with my counselor for tomorrow evening, not even realizing that it would be my anniversary. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Words cannot adequately express how grateful I am to all of you. I love you all.