What’s Love Got To Do With It?

love

Everything.

I spent most of my years searching for love. It was those few missing pieces from the 1000 piece puzzle. I army crawled the carpet, sifted the vacuum bag—twice. The puzzle was eventually moved back to the box. I never enjoyed the 997 correctly placed pieces nor did it occur to me that I could have searched elsewhere for the missing pieces.

For me, this was how the love thing went. There was always missing pieces, always searching, and never finding. My first unhealthy loves were sugar and television. The teen years ushered in boys, alcohol, and escape. My 20’s were more of my teens, only amplified. The 30’s were best, because I felt I had arrived: career, marriage, kids—alcohol.

I, presumably, had everything I’d ever wanted. Why wasn’t I happy? Why wasn’t I feeling the love? What was wrong with me? Why did I drink every night? This couldn’t possibly be as good as it gets. Tell me it isn’t as good as it gets. Life—life is so overrated!

Alcohol needed to go. It was, after all, the problem. It was why I wasn’t feeling the love.

I got sober the year I turned 40 determined that the removal of alcohol was the answer. I wanted the love and it sure wasn’t in the bottom of the wine bottle or the bottle I opened after that.

It was no longer okay to continue without my missing pieces. I was going to have to find a way. I didn’t get all my affairs in order so I could get sober. I just got sober. The reward for sober is, well, sober. That’s it. That is the prize. Sober isn’t the insta-fix to life. It’s the spare tire until you put the new one on.

Alcohol was exacerbating the underlying problem and disguising itself as the solution. I definitely had an alcohol problem, but I had a bigger problem underneath—it was me. Me and the way I thought and the way I operated. This is why sobriety was so difficult. I couldn’t function better sober (initially). I functioned worse in early sobriety because for the first time I was seeing what a mess I was. I was seeing how ill-equipped I was at life. I needed a drink to deal with sobriety. Opps that’s not allowed.

There was never a good day to get sober because on a good day I wanted to drink to celebrate the good day. I drank when it was bad and I drank when it was good. Duh … alcoholics drink, that’s why we’re called alcoholics.

Nothing around me was going to conform and conspire so I could get and remain sober. I was simply going to have to pick a day and get started, lest the day get picked for me. (And I did not want my sobriety to start in a jail cell, with casualties.)

I didn’t get sober because it was easy. I got sober because I was no longer willing to live without the love. I was no longer going to hate myself, not remember, say I’m sorry, blame you, black out, embarrass myself, embarrass my family, harm people I love, and risk my life.

I choose to love myself today. I don’t have to choose not to drink. When I choose Love there is no room for alcohol to enter.

I can get sober out of desperation, but I stay sober out of love. Love is the missing piece.

I no longer fool myself …

Love’s got everything to do with it.

14 Responses to “What’s Love Got To Do With It?

  • I love this, thanks! You CAN’T choose alcohol if you are loving yourself (if you are an alcoholic). What a great perspective… I will add it to my toolbox. 🙂

    • This was a concept I rejected for so many years. Even into my early sobriety I balked at this idea. I love how you put it into your toolbox too! It’s such a perfect question: Is this action loving? Life is so much simpler than I’ve made it. with love, me

  • I enjoyed your post today. Never a good day is right, but it is a good day ultimately. I’m trying to love myself now, thanks for putting it in those words.

    • Momma Bee, Thank you for the comment. I love your words too. “Ultimately” it’s so hard for me to see the ultimate of my choices. But it is a great tool for decision making. Stephen Covey talks about this concept in his book “7 Habits of Highly …” I believe he refers to it as think with only the end result in mind. Decide if you want THAT. Good stuff to think about. 🙂

  • tmichaelwilliams
    7 years ago

    Beautifully said! Thanks, Lisa!

  • “Alcohol was exacerbating the underlying problem and disguising itself as the solution. I definitely had an alcohol problem, but I had a bigger problem underneath—it was me.”

    Yes!

    This is what many folks who are not alcoholics, and even alcoholics themselves early on, have a hard time wrapping their heads around. It’s not the booze – it’s ME. If it were the booze, then stopping would be easy, and life would blossom without anything else other than the absence of liquor. But that’s the (dare I say?) easy part (try telling me that in the first few days and weeks). You said it perfectly here, Lisa –

    “I functioned worse in early sobriety because for the first time I was seeing what a mess I was. I was seeing how ill-equipped I was at life. I needed a drink to deal with sobriety. ”

    And it’s bang on true. I had to look at myself in a new way (sans alcohol) and it was painful. Difficult. Walking a tightrope without a net beneath me. For once in my life I didn’t have the thing that I *thought* brought me comfort. Little did I know that those days were long gone. Alcohol, through my intoxication and lack of proper judgement, brought it’s own problems, and hence things got exponentially worse. But in the end, it was ME. I had to learn to function again, to love again, to forgive again – and I say “again”, but some of these things I had to learn for the first time. I was a child learning to walk in adult shoes.

    Thank you for this Lisa – it’s a beautiful and poignant post that reminds me of what is truly important and a good reminder of how it used to be.

    Love and light,
    Paul

    • This is great. I, too, feel that so much of what I’ve learned these past years was really learned for the first time. It wasn’t as if I’d learned to walk and just forgot. It felt like I had never learned. I’ve often wondered how I managed for so long without the proper tools. (Guess I didn’t now that I think back on it.) Lovely, as always, to read your thoughts. Me

    • Michelle
      7 years ago

      I was a child learning to walk in adult shoes. Wow this hit me like ton of bricks. I started drinking and using drugs when I was 12. I am 41 and have been struggling to stay sober for 4 years. The longest I’ve been sober is 4 months. Then I either drink or get high on something. Then can go weeks without. I want long term sobriety I know I can do it, when I get down or overwhelmed with life the child trying to run from adult life runs to what makes me feel normal and safe.

  • I just read something this morning about why waiting for someone else to complete us never works and this message strikes me as similar. Love was about the last thing on my mind when I quit drinking, but you’re so right that it’s what keeps me here. Much love to you for this beautiful post.

  • Hi, I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award.

  • “Nothing around me was going to conform and conspire so I could get and remain sober. I was simply going to have to pick a day and get started, lest the day get picked for me.”

    Nothing got to me more in this post that the sentence above. I cannot tell you how many times I have said, almost verbatim, this to myself about my “lesser” addictions that are currently active.

    I don’t want to be “forced” into changing my eating habits, I want to make the choice for myself!

    I am going to copy these sentences into a word document, print them out, and hang them on my fridge.

    Thank you, as always for your endless inspiration!

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