“The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.” Thomas Merton
The most unusual topic came up at a meeting this week. It was on love, lust and addiction. It was interesting to hear the different shares on this topic. And it made for an interesting meeting.
I have certainly been in lust. It is filled with energy and frenzy. I found it hard to sleep and to concentrate. But like all those things that run on hormonal urges, eventually lust begins to wear down. The energy flow that goes outward begins to wane and a feeling of depletion comes. Given enough time, lust may diminish to a fond memory. So then what's left?
For me, after the lust came the addiction. I became addicted to the feeling of lust and wanted to keep that feeling going. It surely must be like taking drugs and chasing the high. I was driven by obsessive ego. I think that both of us were chasing something that wasn't healthy. C. was in a blurry haze of booze. I was in a blurry haze of obsession. Both of us were in a downward spiral.
I am finding that the twelve steps have brought me to a point where I do love who I am. I have allowed myself to be who I am finally, after too many years of trying to be what I thought others wanted.
I have a great love of life too. I celebrate life and get great joy out of something each day. Not every day is wonderful, but I try to find one small thing that might be joyful regardless. It might just be the beauty of the trees, the sky, the birds at the feeder, a thousand things that I see every day can provide a few moments of joy.
I have learned that there is a power greater than me in this fellowship. I have the love of my sponsor, my fellows in the program and the God of my understanding. Human love is hardly ever unconditional--the love of a parent for a child may be the closest that it gets. But I feel a lot of unconditional love in the fellowship and from my Higher Power.
There aren't qualifications with this kind of love. Every day I do what I humanly can to accept others, have compassion for them, and give something back to the universe. Lust can be found in every bar in town. But it is empty and doesn't last. The feeling of love is different. It is as if I am learning to birth my soul. That is a great gift.