A Tale of Two Valentines

On Valentines Day 2011, I rushed to the local drug store on my way home from work to purchase a hasty but heartfelt gift for my husband. I chose a few items from the dwindling inventory and stood in line with the other last-minute romantics. 

I glanced back at the growing line  behind me and spotted a familiar handsome blonde fellow: my better half. Our eyes met and we burst out laughing. 

“What are you getting up there?” he asked over the curious folks between us. 

“What are YOU getting?” I replied. 

“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!” 

Now the whole line was laughing along with us. 

We stepped to the side and looked over the impersonal gifts we’d selected for each other.

“It really is the thought that counts,” one of us wisely concluded. “We don’t need any of this stuff. This was already the best part of the day.”

We put everything back and went home chuckling. 

I had forgotten all about that incident but since I wrote about it on Facebook, it cane up this morning as a “Memory” update. 

I read it aloud to my husband while we sipped our morning coffee together. He’d forgotten it also and we both laughed all over again as if hearing it for the first time. 

Growing old isn’t so bad, especially together. 

Happy Valentines Day. 


  1. I am just reading this and it makes me tear up! You are right! We take them for granted….I have a wonderful husband and don’t tell him enough how important he is to me. Thanks for the post….


  2. I can’t do this anymore… everyday I say I won’t drink and everyday I do… I am exhausted .. I am a rat in a box that cannot escape… the water is laced with booze and all I do is drink and drink . nothing else to do.. walls are closing in… ceiling is coming down… all I want is some peace and rest.. rest ….rest … gawd just one week of calm and no fuxking booze … I have tired but here is nothing else for me… nothing… I can’t do this


    • I hear the pain.

      Try-just for today-to change up your routine. Go to a movie, the library, a choir practice…. Fill your danger time with other plans. Aim simply-to be busy enough that you don’t have time to intake as much (or any) alcohol today. Define success as trying to take in less toxins (liquid and mental) today. Just the mindfulness of a plan can be helpful and give you back some of your control just for today.

      Many of us have been in that same rat maze. We will be looking to hear more from you-if you’d care to let us know.



      • It’s great what you say about “defining success as taking in less liquid and mental toxins today.” Initially, even reducing alcohol would be beneficial and could even be the safest approach depending on one’s physical level of alcohol dependence. My Dad is an alcoholic and after decades of heavy drinking was advised to quit by his neurologist but also was given a tapering strategy. Alcohol withdrawal can be life-threatening for some people as would have been the case for my Dad had he abruptly stopped drinking.


    • I have felt exactly like you before….it is a dark place we get to when alcohol holds us hostage. Alcohol takes everything meaningful away from us – our motivation, self-respect, stamina for life, loved ones,… and more. Alcoholism is cancer of the soul.

      You can quit successfully!!! Keep reaching out online to this world of souls who have been in the same dark place! We are all here to help each other! UnPickled has links to so many incredible resources! I think you can access Alcoholics Anonymous online too – I haven’t used AA but I will if I need too – if the tools I have now don’t work for me. I have 2 relatives who have been part of AA for many years.

      Today is Day 11 alcohol-free for me after a 14 month relapse from 11 sober years. I woke up today reflecting on how well I feel physically and emotionally. 12 days ago though, I woke up hungover and feeling like shit. I had spent months with zero motivation, other than the motivation to drink. I was beyond bored – nothing was left but a desire to drink. I tried to quit or moderate for months. I too would wake up with the conviction not to drink but by noon, my booze brain was saying “life is short, pass the Chardonnay.” Today I’m saying “life is short, DON’T pass the Chardonnay.”

      Because I was sober for 11 years, this time quitting for me personally feels easier than the last time. But the first time was not easy!!! I did it though and you can do it successfully too! 2 things you absolutely need are 1st: emotional support (and potentially medical support) and 2nd: a toolbox of practical strategies that speak to you personally. Part of emotional support for me included psychotherapy but what got me moving in the right direction initially was the online community (which was virtually non-existent back then).

      I call the first day you don’t drink alcohol “the bridge day”. I’ve had lots of practise with bridge days šŸ˜¬. It’s a great feeling just crossing that bridge and awakening the next day knowing you have one alcohol free day behind you! That alone feels great!

      (*Warning**…. It can be dangerous to quit drinking alcohol abruptly due to withdrawal symptoms. You might need to do this under a Doctor’s supervision!!! )

      Keep posting here! You are in my thoughts!!!


    • I agree with others here, if you have been a daily drinker for a long time do not try to stop on your own as the withdrawal might be potentially dangerous. Once you’ve decided to take that first step you’ll feel relief. I was just looking at my day 2 note, i was in such a dark place as well. It was not easy but I have made it to day 97 (or maybe 98) taking it one day at a time and focusing on my values (I call it my values GPS, keeps me on my path to recovery). I have had MANY day 1’s, once I stopped beating myself up about my past “failures” and switched to a one day at a time framework it felt much more manageable. Finding this and other online tools has helped me immensely, as do the podcasts. Keep yourself busy, spend your day reading sober blogs it will help.

      You are in my thoughts.



        • Yes do it’s such a great metaphor. When ever we are feeling off (cravings, depressed, anxious etc) I say that’s my values GPS telling me I’m veering off course and it’s trying to recalcukate to get me back on my path. Hope this works.

          Onward day 102.


          • So great! Just made me think of a GPS we had years ago – it had the voice of a British woman and we called her “Lucy.” Lucy would get completely discombobulated if she had to recalculate too often and her voice would actually become slurred and drunken sounding šŸ˜‚! Poor Lucy! Into the toolbox with you too Lucy….
            Thank you again so much for this “values GPS”!


  3. I love your story! It gives me so much comfort and peace to know there’s someone else in the world who was struggling like I was/am. I have been sober (that’s a scary word to use) since January 22nd of this year. My story is similar to yours, nothing seriously dramatic, however I had many blackouts. And I became verbally abusive to my family, not remembering most of what I said, especially to my husband. Now, I feel so much better and can really see myself as someone who doesn’t drink, ever. Such a relief!


  4. I love this! A long, tried and true relationship will all it’s ups and downs and in-betweens is truly a blessing. Thanks for all you do, Jean. I cannot begin to tell you how your writing and podcasting has helped me in my journey.

    Liked by 1 person

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