Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have never written about this until now because it is deeply personal, and the wounds are still fresh.

When I finally got help, I was a pathetic shell of a human being.

I was putting white powder up my nose daily, even hourly. It occupied my thoughts awake and asleep. You hate yourself for doing it – but you can’t stop.

Don’t ruin yourself like I did. Learn from me. I beg you. In the name of humanity. Don’t do it!

I‘m talking about – drywall dust.

Renovating. Just saying it makes my hands tremble again.

The dealers make it sooo easy. They have street level access and will sell it to you cheap. They’ll even deliver product right to your door. It is incredibly easy to become a slave of this lifestyle.

The victims arrive from the country or suburbs, looking for a little advice. Maybe a new lamp. An area rug. Maybe something as innocent as re-arranging the furniture or painting a room.

But then it gets serious. A little something more to scratch that itch. Some shelving. A toilet.

Well my friend, you are as good as hooked, even at that early stage.

Pretty soon your spouse is standing in the middle of the living room, clip board in hand, pencil to chin, looking. Addicts are always looking. They are mentally calculating how they can afford their next fix. How can they make it work. Where to put the new wall. What size of couch will fit. It’s a South facing window so we’ll get natural light in here…

The banks are in cahoots with the dealers of course. Oh yeah. They know what you want. You want to extend the line of credit don’t you? Just another ten thousand or so. Not much. No risk. That’ll be it – honest.


You think you can quit any time don’t you? Are you married? Do you have a basement? Then forget it – you can’t quit. Trust me. I tried for years. I was hooked.

Your rational mind thinks you can handle it. You’ll only knock out one wall to expand the bathroom upstairs. It’s not like you can’t quit right then and there. You have discipline. You’re not made of money – you know that. You know the price for each square foot of what is going to happen. But you’re wrong.

You are on a slippery slope my friend.

If you’re going to take out that wall and open up the ceiling, you might as well re-do the wiring too, goes your rationalization. And then you could move the sink and toilet over to that other side and it won’t cost you that much more. And besides – you’ll have all the walls out and studs exposed anyway, so why not do the wiring? And, if the ceiling is opened up, you have better access to the attic and that needs some more insulation, or you could add that light in the living room to accent that one dark corner.

The pushers have won. You have surrendered to this need, and you will not be able to control it.

I see it all the time. Poor, disheveled wrecks plodding into Home Depot one more time, looking for more wire, more drywall screws, more electrical boxes, more of anything to feed their habit.

It’s the eyes that give them away. Haunted, sleepy, filled with dust because they thought they could do it themselves.

You see them at home shows – dazed, confused, struggling to come to grips with their own version of reality. Carrying measuring tapes. Wrestling with their demons.

They see shows where people like Mike Holmes actually do things correctly. They see shows that build entire houses in one week. They see the glamour of that misbegotten lifestyle – and they want it baaaad.

I feel for them. They actually think they can come through this ordeal unscathed, and on time, and on budget.

Do It Yourselfers. Renovators. Junkies.

Just throw them on the pile with all the other paint splattered, spackle encrusted, broke, muttering wretches.

Book your intervention today. Get the help you need before it’s too late.

This message brought to you by the Recovering Renovators Society.

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