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Relationships R Us
Relationships R Us
Life is a constant education and just when we think we understand something, we are due another lesson.
That was my experience with alcohol addiction and relationships.
My wife, Peggy and I had been married for over twenty years when I discovered that she had a problem with alcohol.
Up till then we had a perfect life, happy marriage, two great sons, a successful business and a very strong, loving relationship.
I have enjoyed a great deal of success in my life and maybe that made me arrogant. I prided myself on being a relationship expert after a forty plus year career working with people and studying what makes us tick.
At first I underestimated my wife’s problem and then believed that our connection was so strong and secure that together we could beat it.
Before I knew what was going on we were in serious financial trouble, we were drowning in a sea of lies, our lives were in chaos.
All of our relationships, with each other, the boys, friends and everyone else became poisoned.
I reached a point where I couldn’t see a way forward and very nearly took my own life.
However, that was a turning point we have found and walked a path back from oblivion. We now have better, stronger, more loving relationships than ever before.
I have written a book which shines a light on our journey it also examines the vital role that relationships play in our lives.
The message is one of hope against all odds and a celebration of you, me and everyone in our fantastic community of recovery.
In a very real sense, relationships are us, we cannot survive and thrive in isolation. We need connection to other people, to recognise their value, accept them for who they are and forgive them for being human.
However we can only give these gifts to others if we first give them to ourselves.
We must establish and develop a relationship with our self, based on acceptance, forgiveness, empathy and kindness.
We can change from who we are into who we want to be at any time in our lives. Our journey through life is one of constant becoming, we are always changing, always growing it never ceases.
If we think of our relationship with our self as similar to that of being responsible for a child, surely we would seek to nurture that child, make them feel accepted, valuable and loved.
As children, sometimes we feel denied a place in the world, a voice.
Our search for identity, security, acceptance, can lead us down a lot of dead ends but we don’t have to remain victims of our past.
We can connect with our inner child, take their hand, calm their fear and make them understand that we will complete life’s journey together.
Forgive the past and free the future.
When we can do this for ourselves, it makes it possible to reach out and do the same for others.
All of us are hard wired to seek, establish and build relationships, even before we are aware of our own existence, as babies we use all the tools at our disposal to connect with our parents.
Being in relationship with each other tells us that we are alive.
We all have an inner voice, usually sensed rather than heard, it carries on a narrative throughout our lives, sometimes suggesting or judging or simply observing. We each assign a level of importance to the voice after all we cannot simply ignore it.
In reality what we sense or hear, our emotions and feelings are just thoughts generated by our own mind. Once we accept this we can set ourselves free from the prisons we made for ourselves.
We cannot achieve all of this alone, we need kinship. Shutting ourselves off to the world is against our nature and destroys our self worth.
Sharing who we are with others makes us bigger not smaller.
Life can be a tough and brutal journey and each one of us makes mistakes. Sometimes it seems empty and futile and in our search for value and meaning we can become lost and confused.
Few of us make it through undamaged.
When we are down in the gutter we feel alone, unwanted and abandoned. However if we take a good look around us we notice that others are hurting too. In my experience most people are either in denial or recovery. If we shut ourselves off from connecting with others then we stay in denial, not just of our problems but of our self.
When we open ourselves up for others we give and receive the gifts necessary for recovery and vital to a happy healthy life.
We are like stars, throughout our lives we shine and create light and warmth. The things we do, say or write touch others and sometimes light their way. Like stars we are lights in the darkness and the light we give outlasts our brief existence.
I would like to finish with a poem from my book, I wrote it for my youngest son but I know he won’t mind sharing it with you.
When you feel alone unlovable
And so very unavailable and lost
Especially to yourself
If I am permitted to give
But one gift
I give you
It is all
All we may possess
And from that
We spend our
But we begin our
Is the beginning
And this we
In order to
When you learn
To love yourself
Light a beacon
You will grow
You will change
When the light
Is lost inside you
I give you
No obligation to read the book, please take what you need from our story and have a great life.
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