Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Confessions of a Large House Addict

I'm Charlie, and I'm a large house addict.
Resident, North Shore of Chicago

Yesterday I received a Jewel Box® Home story submission from Charlie, a self confessed large house addict. I have decided not to reveal the Chicago North Shore suburb where he lives with his family, but I will disclose that it is listed by the Census Bureau as one of the wealthiest towns in the country.

Here is Charlie's story ---

I've known for some time that I'm powerless over my desire to
have a large home, and that my life has become unmanageable.

Here's my story:

My story of addiction starts like so many others - successful
and assertive parents, high expectations for achievement, some
degree of professional success and a genetic pre-disposition for
large house addiction (it runs in my mother's side of the

For nearly 11 years, my wife, 2 children and I have shared a
4,000 sq ft home in a leafy suburb north of Chicago.

- The finished basement with bath and
2nd kitchen add another 1,100 sqft.

It's a big, gorgeous, comfortable place we bought when we were
in our 30s. Our large house makes a bold statement about our
success, self confidence, place in the community...and dark

Over the years, we've spent a fortune to furnish, decorate,
landscape, improve and maintain it to perfection. The addict in
me believes it's one of the finer things in life we're entitled
to, but the good steward inside me aches for a change.

As you probably know, large home addiction is a family disease,
and in our case the consequences of addiction have included:

- Physical separation

- Watching television alone

- Large amounts of time spent in large
house related activates such as
decorating and accessory shopping

- Impaired judgement and control over
family finances.

Our large home is expensive to heat, cool, maintain and taxes
have become awkwardly high.

Of course, the downturn in the economy makes me more anxious
about my addiction.

I have fear. Fear of change, fear of moving down, fear of
simplifying, fear of losing personal space, fear of sharing a
bathroom, fear of sharing a closet, fear of losing my den. Fear
of upsetting my children.

Fear that my wife may be a co-dependent big house addict.

Yet there is so much to gain - intimacy with the family, lighter
financial burden, less environmental impact, more time for the
really important things in life - like our children, sports,
fitness, church activities and civic engagement.

There's a tired cliché that the first step on the road to
recovery is recognizing there's a problem.

I've taken the first step, and it's uncomfortable.

Stay tuned.

Charlie Anonymous

I have thanked Charlie for writing and am honored he has given me permission to share his story.

Until next time!



  1. I'm intrigued to read the rest of Charlie's story. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Oh, I'd like to hear more from Charlie!

  3. I would like to hear more from Charlie.

  4. Thank you for sharing Charlie's story. Being from California, I understand his fears and thoughts. It took a long time for me to be okay with downsizing, but it's so much better :)


  5. oh mercy...get charlie back here....i want to know the end of the story...

  6. Leaving marriage and a home of 2,900 sf and moving into a 1000sf home by choice, I have so many things to say to Charlie. Wish I could sit down with him, share a cup of coffee, and tell him firsthand his suspicions and logic are right on. As I see it, the single thing holding him back from making changes is fear of the unknown. I'm of the opinion it's better to make changes as a united family moving forward together...and not as a broken unit with skewed perceptions of everything but TRUTH.