“Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.”
(Michael Hasser, performed by George Benson, 1977 and Whitney Houston (1985).
“There’s nothing you can do than can’t be done,
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung,
Nothing you can say, but you can learn how to play the game,
It’s easy …”
The Beatles, 1967
The opening verse to All You Need is Love, released when I was 11 years old and my 18 year old brother was an ardent follower of The Beatles, they were on the radio or turntable whenever he was in the house. Back then I thought it was all about the love we were reading about in Jackie, the love between boys and girls (even the thought of love between men and women was still disgusting!). The real meaning of the lyrics came home to me in the Soberistas community (Soberistas.com), where love, loving kindness, compassion, understanding, non-judgement, all of these meanings of love are experienced and shared every single day and I have been on the receiving end of so very much of it – much more than I ever thought myself worthy of.
I stopped drinking alcohol three years ago today. This proves beyond all shadow of a doubt that there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done. I spent years believing that I didn’t have a hope in hell of stopping, and convincing myself that I neither wanted or needed to stop. This was despite a little voice becoming increasingly insistent deep down inside me that told me to stop. Well, I did stop and so far I have never looked back. I have had moments when I thought this was a shame, that I couldn’t drink like “other people” can and enjoy a toast at a wedding, on a special anniversary or birthday, maybe Christmas. I have never felt that strongly enough to go through the many steps that it would now take for me to actually pick up an alcoholic drink and drink it.
All you need is love, love for yourself. I know it is not the easiest thing in the world, loving yourself, but it can be done and it’s all you need. Love yourself enough to stop poisoning yourself, holding yourself back, denying yourself the fullness of this one precious life. The late John O’Donohue said “Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits. A world lives within you. No-one else can bring you news of this inner world.” (Anam Chara) I would add to that. As long as you are numbing your true self out with alcohol you will not receive the news from that inner world, alcohol closes you off from it, puts up an impenetrable barrier to your true self. All you need is love to take those first tentative steps towards the inner you. Don’t hesitate to reach out and look for help in achieving it, there are an increasing number of resources out there now that weren’t available when Lucy Rocca took her courage in both hands and founded Soberistas. As Kate (from Love Sober) says, Soberistas is the “mothership”, it’s where countless sober people found the wings to fly solo. It works through an ineffable magic, a quality that cannot be named, and it can surround you with the love that you need to really come into the fullness of life.
Wherever you seek help, or if you decide to go it alone, you will never regret excluding alcohol from your life, I don’t know anyone who regrets it.
All the very best of everything to you all, and remember that it can be done.
Namaste, Nana Treen AF3Y Loud and Proud