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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

All ya need is love...

Spouses of alcoholics have a very special love-hate relationship with any holiday that demands us to be “loving” or encourage us to buy greeting cards with professions of undying love and commitment. It’s bad enough that we have to
endure “family” holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it’s then followed by New Year’s Eve when we are supposed to kiss someone at midnight that conjures up feelings of love and romance. In fact, even Christmas is a romantic holiday when faced with buying that very special gift for the very special someone. In the end the only feelings it generates are ones of disappointment, anger and loneliness.

After November, December and January, we get the ultimate slap in the face – February as the month of love and the most romantic Valentine’s Day. Oh my goodness, just let me hide under the covers and not re-emerge until it’s over. Oh wait – that won’t work because close behind February are all those months where Spring is in the air and all things are fresh and new – like love. And just when you think that’s over and summer is ahead we are met face to face with the Wedding Season.

Ahhh…. Weddings…. That’s when you want to pull the bride aside and ask her “Do you reallllly want to do this???” “Do you know what you are getting yourself into?” You want to tell them about the dirty underwear behind the bathroom door; the shaved off whiskers that remain in the sink; beer burps and farts when trying to be romantic; special dinners served cold because he stopped to have a beer with a friend on the way home; and on… and on… But somehow you never get to say any of those things because the bride is so beautiful and giddy – why spoil the day. Besides just because it was like that for you doesn’t mean it will be like that for her.

I’ve made a change. I’ve stopped dreading almost half of every year and have decided that those months aren’t so bad after all. I found a way to forget about having someone to kiss at midnight or send a syrupy card to on Valentine’s Day. I found a way to rejoice in my own form of “loving” those previously dreaded days.

It’s simple really. I just have no expectations of anyone except myself. I have decided that the most important person that needs expressions of my love is --- ME! And of course, my kids, friends and pets.  I don’t need a man or spouse to convey love. I have all I need.

For Thanksgiving I make each of the grandkids their favorite dessert. On Christmas morning, I give a beautifully wrapped gift of something I really want – to myself. New Year’s Eve is spent, with a bubble bath and champagne as I watch the ball drop. Then I fall asleep relaxed and calm.

But Valentine’s Day is a little more difficult because I am a true romantic at heart. I send out cards to all my favorite people. My great-grandkids get a small box of chocolates. My daughter and grandson’s wife each get a bouquet of flowers. My cat and dog get special treats. I fix myself a special dinner and watch action/adventure movies on TV. In short, I make it a special day for all the people I love and who love me. It doesn’t have to be a man – it could be other people who are important in my life. Showing my love to them makes me feel as though I have celebrated the month of love in a very special way.

It all goes back to taking care of you and loving yourself. It’s about putting your feelings, needs and happiness first. There are worst things in the world than being without a spouse or partner.

Sometimes we do have a romantic partner, but the romance has left the building in favor of a liquid love. It is much stronger and powerful than the vows we took on our wedding day. The liquid love is far more important to the spouse/partner than getting a special gift or displays of affection. What was once the same as those blushing brides is now gone – lost. We are left with emptiness.

What to do? Love yourself. Be happy within your own head. Love your partner, but accept the fact that you have different priorities now. Everyone needs to express themselves – so express your feelings to others in your life that hold a special place.

Will it take the place of a hot, sexy, evening with candles, champagne and chocolate? Probably not. But, it will make you feel special when that child, grandchild, friend says to you… “Oh thank you so much! That was so special! I love you too!” So love yourself by giving love to others because they are worth it. You are worth it.


coping said...

Powerful words! Great advice for those whose loved ones have disappeared from our lives due to "liquid love"! Thank you Linda...
and Happy Valentine's Day!

Zowie said...

Amen, Linda. This is how I'm going to live my life now.

afterthefire1964 said...

Good advice especially for those of us whose partner's "liquid love" have now made us either widowed or divorced. Tempting to jump right back into the "love pool" again because of loneliness but good idea to hold back a bit or you may make the same mistake again. After all, you were lonely before when you WERE with your partner - what's a few more years of that? Take time to heal and to love yourself. Don't settle for anything less than you truly deserve!

Anonymous said...

Just find this site. Thank you for these words. I am definitely living with an end stage alcoholic and was replaced by liquid love along time ago. It is a lonely existence for both of us, really. I am the more fortunate one as We have two wonderful children who make life fulfilling and I have many supportive friends. Of course, they do not replace a relationship of intimacy and best friend that you have with your spouse. I miss my best friend and my heart breaks that he hurts inside so much that he doesn't even think he is worthy of better. Alcoholism is so destructive to so many.