5 Things Prevent Intimacy With Your Alcoholic
Relationships sometimes start with a burst of emotion.
Others start slowly.
The key is for the relationship to grow over time.
When alcohol’s involved the growth of intimacy is inhibited.
Let’s look at some of the reasons intimacy is prevented with your alcoholic.
Initially alcohol may seem to make your alcoholic the life of the party.
This phase may actually last a number of years.
When the change actually happens people are less and less important to your alcoholic unless there’s booze around.
This changes the dynamic a lot.
What you may have been attracted to becomes less and less likely to occur.
Gradually, there’s a shift toward isolation.
This isolation isn’t just away from family and friends who aren’t supportive of your alcoholic’s use.
It includes YOU.
You’re pushed away. The isolation you feel is due to you being perceived as a threat to continued alcohol use.
Intimacy is the the growth of both you and your alcoholic to a close sharing of who you are with the other person.
This breaks down when you’re continually trying to figure out who’s responsible for the isolation.
Regardless of how much you try to take on the responsibility ending the isolation, it takes two.
If your alcoholic isn’t willing to participate the isolation continues.
There’s one thing the alcoholic is protecting and it’s not you.
Your alcoholic is committed to protecting every opportunity to use alcohol.
This means eliminating friends who may not choose to drink.
Or those ‘social drinker’ friends who actually drink one or two are avoided for those who drink to get drunk.
This protection’s personal and generally unspoken.
In any relationship it’s difficult to develop intimacy when there’s a fear of sharing what’s inside.
Your alcoholic to perserve the addiction has had to resort to shading the truth.
It may be overt lies or total denial of the truth.
Either way, your alcoholic isn’t open to self disclosure.
Sometimes the limited self disclosure is a result of shame taken on by your alcoholic.
There’s almost two separate lives for your alcoholic, the drinking life and the sober life.
There’s often shame associated with the poor judgments of the drinking life.
In sobriety the shame may actually be a factor in using again.
When your alcoholic comes to understand alcoholism is an illness the shame can actually be released.
When shame is center stage there’s a massive wall preventing intimacy.
Your alcoholic may actually want to become intimate, but the behaviors create walls that result in secrets.
You know how difficult it is to trust what your alcoholic says.
How are you supposed to get close to someone when there a prickly porcupine?
The quills are there for a protection, to keep the secrets.
There’s usually bottles stashed, things that have happened and many difficult things to admit to themselves let alone you.
Intimacy’s limited by the lack of disclosure.
What can I do?
You need to accept there’s a lot going on in the addiction to alcohol.
It’s not that your alcoholic doesn’t love you or that there’s no desire for intimacy.
The alcoholism actually prevents the ability to disclose.
We call this denial.
Your alcoholic’s responsible for breaking through denial.
This will usually require rehab and ongoing support to be successful.
You’re self disclosure will go unmatched by your alcoholic.
You may want to decide how much self disclosure is given, or limit your self disclosure to times when your alcoholic’s sober.
This isn’t an easy journey and there’s no guarantee intimacy will be attained.
You can know it’s not likely to be all because of you like you may hear from your alcoholic.
In what ways have you recognized your alcoholic avoiding intimacy. Share with us in the comment section below.