If you are in recovery, go ahead and fall in love. Your life may depend on it.
Recovery wisdom says that we shouldn’t fall in love in the first year of recovery. The idea is that you need to focus on yourself because the crazy-love feelings will hijack your recovery.
I think this is only partially right. Falling in love should be the goal of recovery, but who you fall in love with, that is the million dollar question.
Love and recovery
In a previous post, I wrote,
Honestly, love is not something I like to write about. Because everything you say feels like a cheesy-greeting card. So what I want is a recovery greeting card that says something like this.
Love is annoying. It is not inspirational, not flowers and sunshine, and it’s not found in team building exercises. Love gets under your skin and sounds like your kids when they whine in your ear. You can love a cause, your partner, your kids and your family, and you can love your work. But you can’t love a T-Shirt or cereal or TV shows because these things won’t love you back.
Love is found in the mud of life. It’s in the hard work and the dusty corners. Love is in the messes and the dirty clothes. Love is in the scraped knees, the sweat and the tears. Love is a feeling backed up by a thousand hours of hard work.
Love is messy and damned hard work. Love will take you to your personal edge and then it will throw you off the cliff. Love wakes you up in the middle of the night and asks you to clean up the mess that someone else has made. And you do it.
Being in love is not heaven. Sure, love is patient, it is kind, and it is selfless. But love is found when you speak your mind when you’d rather shut up and it is not the stuff that they sing about. Love is persistence, especially when you don’t feel anything remotely like “love.” Love is when you grit your teeth through the hard stuff, the good stuff.
Love will interrupt you when you are writing about love. Love will call your name when you’d rather just lay low and chill. Love will get mad at you and on occasion, it will even swear at you. Please don’t take it personally.
You will know you are well along your recovery when you can love yourself. And how do you learn to love yourself? Begin by opening up, being vulnerable, love other people and you will begin to love yourself.
You can’t drink it, inject it or snort it. But you need it if you want to survive. And love is worth it all.
I’ve had it up to here bein’ where love’s a small word, a part time thing, a paper ring. Johnny Cash (Solitary Man)
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Keep it Real
Photo by Andy Wright