I Want to Know What Love Is

When Beth and I were young marrieds, I admitted to her once, “I don’t think I know what love is.” At the time this worried her, but I knew it was the beginning of a journey towards something better. I sensed that romantic notions shared in movies and on TV were skin-deep. I needed to go beyond what I was feeling (admiration, attachment, friendship) to find something deeper.

This morning, I came upon this reading in my email. It’s about intimacy, but I think it explains how we learn about love, too.

“Before we came to program, we thought intimacy was that secret word that pertained to sex and making love. We thought it was about taking care of the other person, doing for the other person, and losing ourselves in the other person – because we loved them so much!

Sure, we all want to be close to our partners, but before recovery many of us lay in the same bed with them and felt a million miles away, starving for affection. We settled for crumbs, and we didn’t even realize it. We did everything to convince ourselves we were that happy family portrait on the wall.

Today, in recovery, intimacy has developed into what it was meant to be. We have honest conversations with our partners and close friends and are not afraid to express opinions. We surround ourselves with people who care about us, people we don’t fear. We have healthy conversations about money and other important issues, and we don’t coerce or manipulate people through shame and guilt. We fill our cup with the freedom of choice. We have healthy partnerships and understand what real intimacy is about. We feel joy.

On this day I will trust myself enough to be open to true intimacy in my relationships.”

Copyright © 2013 by 
Adult Children of Alcoholics® 
& Dysfunctional Families
World Service Organization, Inc. 

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