And, for any of us who now have or have had a pet in the past, nothing more needs to be said. We know just how wonderful this kind of friendship can be.
However, when it comes to love and human beings, matters get quite complex. Each one of us that has entered into some kind of recovery treatment program will attest to the fact that during our addiction we inflicted a lot of pain, despair and mistrust on ourselves and onto the important others in our life – our children, spouse, partners, friends, coworkers. They were all affected and hurt by the destroying aspects that go hand-in-hand with addiction. And, this is not even to mention the great financial harm that may have ensued as a consequence of our compulsive intoxication. Quite frankly, the love that may have once been there for us may be gone, diminished or being held back, waiting to see what happens while we are in recovery and after. And, who can blame them. Broken trust, lies, deception, these are not easily forgotten and this is one of the great issues we face.
Throughout the early days of healing we may desperately need and want understanding, forgiveness and warmth from those same people we pushed away and wounded deeply. That is why our treatment plan is so crucial during this early period. We cannot expect those individuals we hurt to just come around and ‘like’ us again – it may happen, but it certainly should not be asked for or expected by anyone upon entering a treatment program. We have a lot of work to do and a long period making amends before we can or should anticipate any kind of love in return. The people we meet and share our pain with in our meetings are vital. It is here that we receive support and advice from professional counselors and seek friendship and offer friendship to the others who share in our recovery.
So, again, what’s love got to do with it? I can confidently attest that one of the inner issues some of us have experienced which contributes to alcoholism or addiction is that we were denied the love and nurture we needed at some point in our life. Or, better yet, we denied ourselves true affection and care. We may have been incapable of assimilating this emotion being offered to us and kept it blocked from our inner being. Or, we simply could not find a way to truly accept who we are and care for our own creation as a living person on this planet. Drinking or using is often a replacement for love and affection, plain and simple. We then incessantly try to fill this void with the dubious and treacherous effects of alcohol or drugs. And, if we listen to our inner dialogue during our most dysfunctional state, I guarantee we will understand more about what is truly lacking within us.
How can we really honestly love others if we have not found the pathway within to caring, nurturing and accepting ourselves? I think it may be impossible. I’m not speaking of some kind of narcissistic type of love, but a real comprehension and realization of the significance of our own being, our body, our mind, our emotions our soul. Often, this is missing within ourselves. A major component of recovery is to find this pathway within and realize that our alcohol use, drug use, etc. was just a miserable attempt at caring for ourselves. Perhaps our upbringing contributed to this, maybe we had terrible parents or siblings or a miserable childhood. It is for each to discover or uncover this truth within and somehow face it. But, foremost in our recovery is to seek that avenue towards embracing who we are, forgiving what we have done, and speaking softly and kindly to ourselves with an empathetic heart and non-abrasive tongue. Then we will be capable of sincerely giving to others because we found the pathway to finally caring for ourselves, to ultimately love and embrace who we are in this universe. In summary, love has quite a lot to do with it.