Clean and Sober Love
The choices we make in addiction are hardly ever good ones that honor the truth and beauty of who we are. Lost in the chaos of cravings, drowning in the tsunami of emotions that drive behaviors we know are harmful, it’s not surprising that the choices we make about who to be – and also, who to love – are often far from what will help us live happy, productive, meaningful and purposeful lives.
Love to the Rescue
Love? Who even knows what that really means when the thing we too often most love, cherish and obey is our addictive behavior(s)?
Yet, love can be the very thing that helps pull us out of addiction. The caring affection of someone who supports and believes in us can actually tip the scale from struggle to success. This can only happen, however, if we start making smart choices about who and how we love.
- First, we must make good decisions that find us safe people to trust.
- Second, we must be willing to offer an honest version of who we are.
In addiction, it’s easy to lose sight of what love really means. Romance is about more than just a warm body in the bed or an emergency contact. In a clean and sober world, love expands from simple one-on-one contact to a deeply nourishing, nurturing and supportive connection.
Try Something New
In recovery, we have the chance to deliberately reconstruct how we approach finding a meaningful partnership.
Experiment with incorporating these three actions to develop an attitude toward love that is based on desire, consciousness and mindful decision-making:
Action #1 Increase Clarity
In recovery, we have the chance to deliberately reconstruct how we approach finding a meaningful partnership.-Michele RosenthalSuccess in finding healthy love happens more quickly when you know what you’re looking for. Many of us are very clear on what we don’t want but forget to be equally detailed on what we do want. Knowing what you want in a partner (for example, making a list of desired attributes) will help you be on the lookout for people who exhibit those qualities.
Become clear on what you want in and from a relationship so that you attract potential partners who will be in alignment with the new lifestyle you’re creating.
Action #2 Break Patterns
For years, you behaved in ways that attracted a certain type of person. What patterned behavior was that? Take a few moments to reflect on how you have related to potential lovers from the moment you met through the end of the relationship. What patterns do you see? How did those patterns get you into relationships and/or situations that were uncomfortable or harmful to you?
To attract a new kind of person, become aware of old love habits; ditch the ones that were destructive and add new ones that will be supportive of your new lifestyle.
Action #3 Follow Your Feelings
Your mind and body constantly send and receive messages that help interpret your world – and every moment of your experience in it.
…long before you are able to rationalize or justify something, your intuition knows what feels good and what doesn’t.-Michele Rosenthal
These messages can be as subtle as a thought that shoots across your mind in a millisecond, or as hit-you-over-the-head-with-the-facts as the onset of serious physical symptoms.
Because these messages originate in a place of “feeling” versus “conscious knowledge,” it’s easy to disregard them. But that’s a big mistake!
Intuitive messages are based in a vast amount of knowledge and sensory input that your conscious mind can barely grasp. In fact, long before you are able to rationalize or justify something, your intuition knows what feels good and what doesn’t. Trust it. Incorporate those feelings into how you make decisions.
The Building Blocks of Love
Building a relationship of strength, dependability and truthfulness begins with making smart choices. In recovery and beyond, when we give the truth of who we are to the caring truth of someone else we have a chance to build a solid and lasting love by behaving in newly focused ways.
The process starts with taking responsibility for how we seek out, approach and engage in romance. And also, in believing we’re worth it – because we are!
Image Courtesy of Shutterstock