The feelings of love are what fuels its actions. The actions of love are what heals ourselves and allows us to have a part in healing of others
That love was taken from my life may sound harsh and like something a victim might say. In all forms of recovery, we talk about being a victim and how choosing to be one and is really a way of not accepting responsibility.
This is true when we are adults but not when we are children. When we are children and powerless, things can be done to us.
At the age of 5 love began to be taken from my life through the effect of my mother’s alcoholism on my family and her sexual abuse of me. My mind at the age of 5 did not have the ability to reason about what was happening.
I could not look at the situation and see that the responsibility for what was happening fell to my parents. The only thing my 5-year-old brain was able to comprehend was that it was my fault.
That I wasn’t a good enough son or had done something wrong. This started a pattern of thinking that caused a great deal of pain and destruction in my life.
When my family began to fall apart it caused a great deal of pain and animosity in my household. We became a group of individuals that fought each other to get our needs met. “Hurt People” hurt people.
We all began to try to relieve our pain by hurting each other. Being a sensitive child, I withdrew inside myself and built an impregnable fortress around my heart to protect myself.
This was a survival mechanism that saved me as a child but became a prison for me as I grew up. I became locked in a cell with someone that I hated….. myself.
How the Loss of Love Affected My Life & How I Found Healing
I was abandoned by family emotionally and physically. I did anything and everything I could to get the love and support I so desperately needed. I was a chameleon, morphing into whomever or whatever I thought would get me the love I wanted and needed. I could never get it right, if I was tap dancing as fast as I could, they wanted us to juggle.
Hyper-vigilant, trying to read the signs which were blurred at best. I remember thinking if I could become a great athlete my Dad would love and approve of me, or become a great student hoping that would win my mother’s love.
I took on the blame for all of it; it had to be because I wasn’t this enough or that enough. Spending so much energy on surviving, I never learned how to live. Not knowing at the time there was nothing I could have done. It wasn’t because they didn’t love me; it was because they weren’t able or didn’t know how.
Not be able to or knowing how to get the love that I desperately needed, I turned to drugs and alcohol. This worked for a little while, fitting in with a group that dealt with life the same way I did. I began to have to use more and more to keep my monsters at bay.
Meanwhile, my life was eroding out from under me and is always the case, I was the last one to see it. I became estranged from everyone who meant something to me at all.
I became all alone, scared to death without a clue as what to do. Using wasn’t working anymore and it was the only coping mechanism I had.
The End Becomes a New Beginning
My drug use lead to a 28 day stay in rehab where I found a 12 step program that I still attend almost 28 years later. Putting down the drugs was the first step back to love, finding a group of people that would show me love and give me help without wanting anything in return was the second.
With their help, I slowly came to life and then began to build one also. Just accepting their love and kindness was difficult because I did not feel I deserved it. They told me a great place to start was to say thank you. And then when you were able, to do the same for others.
At 18 months clean I found myself curled up in the fetal position in so much emotional pain that I wanted to die. All the pain and suffering from my childhood that I had held off with drugs hit me all at once. At first, I only had two thoughts about how to stop the pain, get high of kill, myself. Luckily I had a third thought and called my sponsor for help. He worked in the recovery field and helped me to get into an Adult Child of an Alcoholic recovery group and one one counseling. With the help of the people in my group and my counselor,
I was able to begin to open up my fortress and slowly start working on the pain and suffering that formed and ran my life. As I removed the toxic emotions that filled my heart and soul I gained the room I needed to fill them with the love that I needed.
This is when I learned about how the actions of love can heal These people didn’t help me just by feeling loving toward but by acting from those loving feelings and showing me empathy, compassion, understanding and being there for me as I screamed, wailed, cried and beat pillows in order to release my pain.
They held me and comforted me with their words even as I shook and had snot running out of my nose. these courageous people helped me to feel human again.
Having done the work needed to heal today I no longer have a fractured personality. I am a whole person able to be an adult most of the time. More importantly, I no longer have my past determining my present and affecting my future.
My feelings no longer run my life, limit my choices or have me in a box. All the weight of my childhood has been lifted off my heart and soul and I have been set free and able to soar.
I know today that being able to heal through the power of love is a choice and that choice is to do your work, whatever yours is. I have decided to tell my story whenever and wherever I can. Not to show off or feel important, but to let everyone know that healing is possible.
I try to always remember 2 things my first spiritual teacher taught me.” That love can transcend and heal all things” and “That in order to soar with the eagles on top of the mountains, you must do your work in the valleys.