What does Love mean to you? Has alcoholism turned your love turned to hate? Or maybe, you feel both at once and it’s tearing you apart.
The ancient Greeks had 4 words for different kinds of love. In English, we have to use adjectives to distinguish them. These include
- Romantic love
- Sexual love
- Parental love
- Familial love
- Obsessive love
- Compassionate love
- Love of humanity
- Unconditional love
In an alcoholic relationship, love can become poisoned, eventually turning into dislike or hate. We can feel both of these emotions at once, which is certainly confusing. Our recovery tools can help to detangle this messy web of feelings. By learning about the disease of alcoholism, we can begin to find compassion for our loved one, and to separate the person from the effects of the disease. This can help us to detach with love, and to find a way to live our life with balance and serenity, even while the alcoholic behavior continues.
Fear of consequences to a love one can compel us to try to control their actions and outcomes. As the reading about Step 1 in How Al-Anon Works states,
… many of us have confused love with interference. We don’t know how to show affection or support without giving advice, seeking to sway another’s decisions, or trying to get those we love to do what we think will bring them happiness. We confuse caring with controlling because we don’t know how to allow others the dignity of being themselves.
We can treat our loved ones as helpless babies who must be protected and helped. Such behavior is appropriate for a baby or young child. But we need to let go of doing that for the adults in our lives. As a child grows up, our love demands that we let them learn to do things for themselves and experience consequences, so that they will be able to live independently as adults.
In the suggested Al-Anon closing, we are told that
… though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way— the same way we already love you.
It is also said that in recovery, “we love you until you can learn to love yourself.” What does this mean? We have learned to love ourselves as our higher power loves us – unconditionally – strengths, flaws, and all. And thus, we learn to see you as a lovable human being, struggling to recover from the effects of alcoholism or addiction, and we can love you just as you are.
Upcoming topics include recovery in divorce, and the “gifts of Al-Anon”. The first of these states, “We will become mature, responsible individuals with a great capacity for joy, fulfillment, and wonder. Though we may never be perfect, continued spiritual progress will reveal to us our enormous potential.” How is this gift coming true in your life? Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.
In this show, I recommended a talk titled “God of our Understanding” at the Recovery Radio Network. They have a huge database of recovery talks, and also deliver a new talk every week day as a podcast to which you can subscribe.
I also talked about an episode of On Being with the brain surgeon James Doty in which he talks about how changing his attitude – changing how he looked at his life and his situation – enabled him to break out of his alcoholic family situation and led him to a “vision that anything and everything was possible.”
Recently, I received an email about a new podcast, Reckonings, and in particular about an episode featuring a singer-songwriter, Paige Sargent, and her journey to recovery from alcohol and cocaine addiction. Part of the description of the podcast says “How do we fundamentally change our hearts and minds? How do we shift our political views, overcome bigotry, and recover from addiction? Reckonings features stories from the conscience.”
Music from the show
Kendrick Lamar: u
The Beatles: Julia
What Wondrous Love is This