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Co Dependent’s Dirty Laundry

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Co Dependent’s Dirty Laundry

We’ve all got it – the dirty laundry we try so desperately to hide. But the dreading, ignoring, and denying only grow while the stench lies in wait at the bottom of the mountain, oozing through the other pieces, working its way through every nook and cranny of your closet.

Shoving the laundry into the closet is much easier than dealing with it, but the problem grows. Eventually, the secret refuses to be held captive behind closed doors, and there on the floor for all the world to see is an explosion of dirty socks and unmentionables.

This Applies To Co Dependency

See, I was literally talking about socks, towels, and pjs, but I love the symbolic ties to addiction and recovery. Ever the pleasing codependent, I spent hours hiding my family’s dirty laundry, hoping no one would know. I begged and pleaded, wanting my loved one to be clean and sober more than she did.

Worrying about possible outcomes, planning for worst case scenarios, and manipulating to avoid my worst nightmares kept me facing a metaphorical mountain of laundry that never got finished. As one situation would be scrubbed clean, pressed down, and folded into its neat little box, a new one waltzed through the door.

The Problem Escalated

Since I was a good little codependent, I refused to ask for help with the “laundry.” Besides, taking care of my family’s laundry gave me a much needed purpose until my own laundry started to pile up. That’s an explosion I didn’t see coming. At the same time, my people pleasing and perfectionism affected my nuclear family financially since saying “Yes” costs way more money than saying “No.” In an effort to save money, so I could really keep saying “Yes,” I started making my own laundry soap.

Wise women in rooms of recovery taught me, “Don’t believe everything you think,” and that, “Your mind can only think of one thing at a time.” Pausing to be mindful of my physical surroundings lets me choose what one thing I am thinking of and gives me a break from the emotional laundry.

I Decided To Make My Own Laundry Detergent

So yesterday, when I made a batch of homemade laundry soap, I focused on the sound of soap shavings falling into the glass bowl. The soft noise reminded me of small ice pellets pinging off the windshield of my car. I ran my hands through the yellow orange ringlets. It was a calming delight for my tired fingers. I felt a subtle burn in my triceps as I grated the bars of soap, and I thought of my grandmother making her own soap in a simpler time.

Even if you don’t make your own laundry soap, every aspect of laundry lends itself to mindful meditations. What does your detergent smell like? How do the warm towels feel as you pull them out of the dryer? Do your pants make a sound as you slide them over the hanger? Do the rows of folded socks bring peace and order to your once chaotic drawer?

The Codependent’s Laundry Detergent

  • 1 Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar
  • 1 Cup Borax Detergent Booster
  • 1 Cup Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda

Grate the Fels-Naptha Laundry Bar into a large bowl. Stir grated soap with your fingers until a few of your nagging worries drift away. Mix with the one cup of Borax and one cup of Arm & Hammer. Add mixture to blender and pulse to combine. Store in an airtight container. Use a little less than ¼ cup per regular-sized load of laundry. Ends of laundry bar may be reserved and used to pre-treat stains.

Of course, you could find ways to make this recipe more complicated. Perfectionists love that. Many people prefer to melt the laundry soap into a liquid, but my anxiety dictates the need for the simple recipe you see here.

Consider Recovery

Laundry also lends itself to valuable lessons in recovery and sobriety. Before you do any laundry, literally or figuratively, pause to consider:

  • Are you taking care of you first?
  • Would leaving the dirty clothes on the floor be a better natural consequence for someone in your home?
  • Are you the one with the dirty laundry?
  • It is time to come into the rooms of recovery?
  • Are you ready to be loved by people who will love you stains and all?
  • Are you willing to surrender to a Higher Power for a thorough cleansing?

Reach Out Recovery Exclusive By: Pam Carver




Pam is the author of Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and she’s a contributing editor for Recovery Guidance. She’s a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

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