I was catching up on my program reading this morning. I came across the statement that “looking for love and affection from [the addict] is like looking for bread at the hardware store.” This hit me like a ton of bricks. I spent yesterday morning, the first day of the new year, mired in self-pity because I didn’t feel love rays radiating from my partner. I justified my self-pity by reminding myself of how selfless I had been recently – how much more household responsibility I have taken on. You get the idea.
It is no person’s job to supply my emotional needs. The love is there, but it isn’t always broadcast in the ways that I most readily receive it or recognize it. My partner is healing, both physically and mentally, from trauma. It takes a lot of “bandwidth.”
I posted on my Facebook page that “The new year is off to a rough start.” I received lots of “hugs” and well wishes, and one person that snapped me out of it. He asked me where that positive person who usually posts went. He gave me the kick in the pants that I needed to clean up the house, go for a run, and count my blessings.
That friend gave me a gentle dose of tough love. I am so glad that he did. We need to look outside of our traditional ideas of how things should be sometimes. Others in our meetings are happy to supply a hug or a smile. It’s no sin to leave for a short while to meet a friend for a coffee and a laugh. The fact that our addict is radiating sadness doesn’t mean that we must reflect it back.
Right now my addict cannot give me love in the way that I would ideally receive it. That doesn’t mean I have the right to have an emotional affair to get what I think I need. I need, first, to look for love where it’s expressed. It’s there, nonetheless. My friends are happy to supply affection in other ways.
I’m glad that I saw the reminder not to look for bread in the hardware store. Love is all around. I just need to remember whre and how to look for it.