My most troublesome addiction, the one I find most counter intuitive to homesteading, I blame on my grandfather.   I was able to give it up for several years of overseas living relatively unscathed, but for the life of me I can’t recall how I did it.  I believe that by announcing this shameful weakness and admitting to my dependency there may still be some hope for me.  Maybe an informed reader knows of a twelve step program that might break me of my addiction to paper products.

Gramps, whose poor upbringing meant intense rationing, would travel for hours once informed of a sale on toilet paper.  He would purchase as much as he could stuff into the linen closet, and when a space would open up again, he would search the ads for another sale.  His only advice to me before leaving for Eastern Europe was, “Pack plenty of toilet paper.”  I laughed then, but soon learned he had been right.  I was sore and disappointed by the squares of brown paper lunch sack that passed for toilet paper and regular annoyed by the rarity of actually finding some in any public facilities.

Somehow, while I was living in Thailand, I was able to manage without this cherished need, going native, in public at least.  There when you leave the restaurants” or other public facilities wash rooms, having used their “Turkish toilet” with the nearby basin of water for washing your hindquarters afterward , you are sometimes provided with a sink and soap to then wash your hands.  But no towel afterward for drying them.  I got used to wearing a sarong, which was a more convenient towel substitute compared to my pants.

Now that I’m back stateside I am astounded with what I was able to endure.  Where did this courage and diligence come from?  How can I get it back now that paper products are cheap and readily available?  I know they are detrimental to the health of the planet, and therefore to my own mental health, but I cannot stop the madness.  These days the obsession extends not only to toilet paper but to paper towels, and Kleenex.   When I see that we are down to our last ten roles or boxes, I am fretful until the next Costco run, where I am compelled to buy each of them in bulk.  I know our ancestors and folks around the globe have been able to live without such addictions.   How can I free myself once again from this fury?