December 12

LOVE MONTH: DAY 12: “Love cures people—both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.”  –Karl Menninger

One of the first proponents that kindness and love were important ingredients in the healing process. It is something we take for granted today, but that was breakthrough thinking years ago.

What if we were hugged every day as we received whatever physical treatment we got in hospitals. Carl Rogers was another pioneer in understanding that therapy was better when we treated the client/patient with “positive kind regard.” That too was a breakthrough in how we treat those who are emotionally or mentally damaged.

If love is the component that fosters healing in all these circumstances, then perhaps it is the key ingredient in all of life. I believe so. I have a wonderful book that I found under very circuitous and synchronistic circumstances when I was just at my 11th year of recovery.

It is called “The Greatest thing in the World” and it came to me after I read about it in “Dr. Bob and the Good Oldtimers.” It was one of the books used in early meetings of AA before they wrote the BB. So, I read it. The whole book is a treatise on Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Most of us have seen quotes of part of this: “Love is patient and kind, it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offence, nor is it resentful…; There are three things that last, faith, hope and love and the greatest of these is love.”

The book is much greater in its ability to break this quote down and work through every sentence of it. It takes my breath away every time I read it. Why? Because love can heal all the character defects in the world. Love can heal addiction, love can heal every broken heart that ever existed. And love can heal all the problems of the world.

Unconditional, non-judgmental love is the elixir we all need to heal. And we get this from the DIRECT application of spiritual principles contained within the steps.

I did not get that from the 10 commandments, although some folks do. I did not get that from what my parents taught me, although I no longer need to question their methods or motives. I did not get that in school, neither parochial nor public, college or grad school. I cannot find this on the Internet, although there is damn near everything in the world on Amazon. I do not get this from anything I can buy or acquire through any means.

I get it when I learn to let go of EVERYTHING I think I know. I get it when I am willing to throw myself away and let my ego be bruised and battered and almost smashed (there is still some left!). And I get it when I throw myself away into helping others when I don’t know where my next rent check or meal is coming from. I get this when I give what I am given and share it with everyone I can. I get this when I go to the most unlovely and unlovable people I can find and embrace them with my whole heart and love them when no one else can or will.

These are the things we learn in recovery. If we don’t have them, we can get them. Steps 1-12 are the path, and we can walk it with as much diligence and hope as we can muster. I love this path and I hope to always know that I can walk it as freely as possible for the days I live, 1 day at a time. Love…it is the very best of the good shit!

Published by: Kelly

I am a therapist and counselor with long-term recovery from addictions and personal trauma. My writing reflects these experiences and the road I have traveled in 12-Step recovery settings, along with the work I have done for over 30 years in the field. My love of dolphins includes the stories of them being healers in places all over the world. I long to offer every broken spirit and body the experience of a healing hug. May my words and stories inform, uplift and delight your spirit and soothe your weary heart.

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