Happy New Year to everyone!!  The beginning of a new year provides us with a time to review life, our choices and resulting consequences, both good and bad.  It also allows us the opportunity to look ahead; revising life plans, tossing some ideas to the side and adopting new strategies.

One of my daily practices is journaling, it connects me spiritually to my Higher Power thus keeping me grounded in the present.  I can look back and read where I was a year or five years ago, and marvel at how persons, places and things have changed, and situations that I fretted and worried about have been resolved.  There is confirmation in my belief that everything really does work out, all I need to do is walk through the situation performing the next indicated step.  I find hope for resolution in any difficult or overwhelming circumstances I might face today.  Currently, I am blessed with peace, and I am truly grateful for this calm season.

Over the Christmas holiday I was married to a wonderful man; it was a beautiful Christmas Eve service at the Marty Leonard Chapel; and a celebration dinner following at Del Frisco’s Fort Worth.  For our ceremony, we chose to write our own vows of marriage.  As I was pondering how to express the love and commitment I felt for my soon-to-be husband I looked back on exactly what love meant to me growing up.  As a child of a dysfunctional family and an abusive parent; when I heard my mother say “I love you”, what I heard was “I’m going to hurt you”.

Love was not an expression of warm, positive regard.  Love was painful and inconsistent; yet as a child I continued to pursue love and acceptance in the hope that the next time, perhaps I would be good enough to be regarded as worthy, but to no avail.  Thus, I learned that when I said “I love you”; what I meant was “I’m going to use you to get what I need” before you hurt me.  I spent many years living with this underlying interpretation of what love was as a tenet of getting my needs met; leaving a broken trail of relationships substantiating my belief that I was unlovable.

It was in recovery and counseling that I uncovered the fallacy of what love meant to me and how I used it to get my needs met. It was an awareness that changed my life.  Love became a giving process; the more I began to love, to accept myself and others just as we were with no expectations, the more I felt love.

My vows this past Christmas Eve went like this: “Ross, I love you, care about you, honor and respect you; I accept you for everything that makes you the person you are.  I want to laugh with you, work with you, feel life with you, support you in all areas of our life together.

I love your sense of humor, compassion, kindness, consideration, willingness to listen and your open heart.  I love your desire to grow closer to God through searching for spiritual truths; your commitment to keeping God at the center of our life and our relationship.

I believe in you and I trust you. I pledge to accept you as you are; to respect you as an equal and to encourage your dreams and passions.

With my whole heart, I take you as my husband, acknowledging and accepting your strengths and your humanness.   You are my love and my life, today and always.”

Thank you, recovery.

Remember if you need help, please call or text MHMR Tarrant’s 24/7 ICARE Line at 800-866-2045; or contact your health professional.



Photo Credit: All Heart Photography