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What “I Love You” Means in Recovery


I tell my wife I love her at least ten times a day. If ever there was a woman who knew her husband’s devotion, if he died tomorrow, I do my best every day to make sure she knows she is my sunshine. That’s not the “I love you” I’m talking about though.

We recovering folk, especially those of us “in the program” who frequently hang out with others in recovery or see each other at meetings, have a different meaning for “I love you”.  We rare few know that it’s hard to fall off the wagon if you’re sitting in the middle of the group on the wagon.  Those sitting around the edges, well they run into trouble as soon as the wagon hits a bump.

I love you, for us, is sexless, genderless, and devoid of class. I love you is not romantic. I love you has no possession or status.

“I love you” simply means; “I know your pain. I’ve been through the fire, too. I am genuinely glad to see you made it out the other side. I’ll do anything I can to help you stay on the right side of the grass and I know you’ll do the same for me.

Very few lucky people can know what it is to feel this love for any random human being. It’s perfect even though those who share it aren’t. If you ever wonder why recovering alcoholics go to meetings, that’s a good place to start.

If you do go, and you haven’t felt that connected yet, reach out to someone else and tell them you love them. It’ll be a little weird at first but sooner rather than later, you’ll see what I mean, and it is good.

Keep coming back and if no one has told you they love you today, I do.


  1. saoirsek says:

    I totally get this. I never knew that love until I got sober and got friends in the fellowship. Only 5 minutes ago I told one of my closest friends in AA I loved her. I’m rather fond of my husband too lol

  2. What a wonderful post … you’ve just made me happy! Thanks

  3. thecheekycyclist says:

    Great post and lovely reminder for everyone. Thank you!

  4. joliesattic says:

    Love and saying you love someone and showing your love is very gratifying on all levels. Thanks!
    Question: Can non alcoholics attend AA? Are there people that adopt an alcoholic friend if they’d like to?

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