Being My Own Valentine
The warm feelings of being with family and friends on Thanksgiving and Christmas has come and gone. The festive decorations are stowed away and shelves are filled with Valentine’s candy and cards. The winter blues pull at the steering wheel, driving me toward depression. I don’t want to feel the loneliness that fills my heart. Valentine’s Day arrives without a date. I’m jealous of friends who post pictures of flowers and cards they receive.
My head is full of negative self-talk that tries to convince me I will never find love, that I am not worthy of being loved, and that I am a horrible person. I may go on a couple of dates and never hear back from the guy after I push him to prove to me that he likes me. I move from Tennessee to Texas to Delaware and back to Texas within a year for the sake of finding love.
Getting high is sure to make me feel better… until I come down and need the fix again. I did it again. I proved that I am a failure. This was the reality that I created for myself and led to a relapse on Labor Day, 2012.
The pity party is over. Relapse does not mean I am a failure. Relapse gives me an incredible opportunity to develop a deep understanding about how and why I think the way I do. My worth doesn’t come in of a box of truffles and a dozen red roses. I don’t need a valentine to fill the void and make me happy.
In recovery, I am learning to how to accept and to love myself. During my first treatment in Texas, my therapist suggested I write affirmations on my mirror so that I could read them each time I looked at myself. The first obstacle was being able to look at my own reflection. You see, for most of my life, I believed that something was wrong with me.
I am a good brother. I am a good son. I am a fun uncle. I am a good doggie dad. I am a loyal friend. I am worth loving myself. I am worthy of love from others. I am worth being clean. I am going to be okay.
Just because I could write those affirmations on the mirror didn’t mean I was ready to accept them as truth. However, with each new day that I stay clean, I look at myself differently. I have begun to realize that I am a good person. I can look into my own eyes and say, “I love you.”
I am learning how to sit with my feelings and thoughts and be okay when I am alone. Regulating my emotions and using mindful practices creates a space for love. I am changing; I am finding the feelings I once sought from others within my own heart. Being healthy is the best way to attract a healthy partner when the time comes for our paths to intersect.
This Valentine’s Day, I celebrated the freedom and joy that I have. I decided to take myself to the movies and went to Godiva for my monthly free piece of chocolate. My life is filled with gratitude for all the blessings that I have in my life today. There is no room for pity. I am my own valentine because I am worth it.