Don’t Hurt Me

Need a good ol’ fashioned dance party? Turn up the speakers and queue the Night at the Roxbury guys.  …and 90s dance break!

Man, that’s a weird video!

I have no clue how this one ended up in my head, but I have to call out Haddaway (ah, one hit wonders never cease) on the lyric,

“What is love?  Baby don’t hurt me, no more.”

English majors, you’ll note the use of the double negative.  First thought is, c’mon buddy, let’s use proper English, shall we?  Of course, in this musical application, he needed a one syllable word and ‘no’ rolls much easier off the tounge than ‘any’.  We’ll give him a pass.

However, what if (and this may be giving WAY too much credit to the pop music of the 1990s) the double negative was intentional and what he was really trying to say was, “What is love? Hurt.”  For purposes of this exercise, go with me, people.

Songs, poems, movies, stories, we know the familiar phrase, “you hurt the ones you love.”  Coming through addiction into recovery, I agree.  Not in the masochistic sense, but in the way that you tell someone you love something they don’t want to hear.  It was Ryan who had the courage to confront me over and over again about my drinking.  It was painful for him to have to keep doing, and it hurt my pride to hear.  He did it again, the final time, when God opened my heart to listen, telling me in absolute love that I needed help.  He didn’t coddle me with comforting words.  “It’s all going to be okay,” wasn’t going to launch me from dysfunction into recovery.  He was strong, direct and specific, telling me exactly what the problem was and what needed to happen next (throwing out my secret booze stash and scheduling an appointment with a therapist.)

A lot of people have asked about that moment of change, when my perspective was altered to change my course from alcoholism to recovery.  The above is just a sliver of the larger picture of a story that will be told eventually. For now, it’s important to know that it was love that saved me.  Not judgement, not consequences, not harsh words.  It was fierce, intense, confident love.  A love that wasn’t afraid to tell the truth, a love devoid of fear.  I know that I am fortunate beyond what words can express to have a husband who can love like this.  Though he’s not perfect (hooray! he’s human, too!), he has an open heart, a conduit capable of expressing God’s perfect love.

image1This whole experience has redefined my relationships.  Everyone I’m close to has been impacted, from my spouse to my friends and family.  Fair warning, if you ever experience recovery, as an addict or with an addict, it will require plenty of truth-filled, potentially painful moments.  I have learned that love isn’t flowers and roses and soft words.  It’s taking the risk that the other person won’t listen and loving them enough to hold your ground in truth.  It’s holding each other’s hands when it’s uncomfortable, and it’s crying together when truth hurts and you’re scared.

Sound miserable?  It definitely is, in the midst of the pain.  But the richness on the other side wouldn’t taste as sweet without the pain.  In that sense, I’m thankful for my experiences.  Alcoholism sucks, really sucks, but recovery is AMAZING!

All that to say, “What is love? It can hurt.”  Be open to the honesty of the people who love you, and be honest with those you love.