Intimacy is that warm gift of feeling connected to others and enjoying our connection to them.
As we grow in recovery, we find that gift in many, sometimes surprising places. We may discover we’ve developed intimate relationships with people at work, with friends, with people in our support groups—sometimes with family members. Many of us are discovering intimacy in a special love relationship.
Intimacy is not sex, although sex can be intimate. Intimacy means mutually honest, warm, caring, safe relationships—relationships where the other person can be who he or she is and we can be who we are—and both people are valued.
Sometimes there are conflicts. Conflict is inevitable. Sometimes there are troublesome feelings to work through. Sometimes the boundaries or parameters of relationships change. But there is a bond—one of love and trust.
There are many blocks to intimacy and intimate relationships. Addictions and abuse block intimacy. Unresolved family of origin issues prevent intimacy. Controlling blocks intimacy. Off balance relationships, where there is too great a discrepancy in power, prevent intimacy. Caretaking can block intimacy. Nagging, withdrawing, and shutting down can hurt intimacy.
So can a simple behavior like gossip—for example, gossiping about another for motives of diminishing him or her in order to build up ourselves or to judge the person. To discuss another person’s issues, shortcomings, or failures with someone else will have a predictable negative impact on the relationship.
We deserve to enjoy intimacy in as many of our relationships as possible. We deserve relationships that have not been sabotaged.
That does not mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds; it means we strive to keep our motives clean when it comes to discussing other people.
If we have a serious issue with someone, the best way to resolve it is to bring the issue to that person.
Direct, clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for intimacy, for good feelings about ourselves and our relationships with others.
Today, God, help me let go of my fear of intimacy. Help me strive to keep my communications with others clean and free from malicious gossip. Help me work toward intimacy in my relationships. Help me deal as directly as possible with my feelings.
From the book: The Language of Letting Go: Hazelden Meditation Series
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