After you have obtained sobriety, building healthy relationships may be one of the next goals you have on your recovery journey. Understanding healthy intimacy with others is essential, as well as knowing how you can reclaim connection, trust, and build healthy relationships during recovery.
Why Are Healthy Relationships Important in Recovery?
Developing interpersonal intimacy is about caring for each other, providing emotional support, and showing love. You may have noticed these have been absent from your life if you have been struggling with addiction. It is impossible to truly live a life without a deep understanding and connection with others.
The intimacy we form with others makes us feel close to them. By sharing feelings, experiences, and thoughts, a connection is formed.
According to the Journal of Nursing Research, mutual aid, self-disclosure, acceptance with communication, and emotional support are four domains correlated with interpersonal intimacy. You gain depth, meaning, and richness in your life through intimacy with others. Conversely, a person’s ability to intimately interact with others is undermined by addiction because it prevents meaningful interactions.
How Relationships are Impacted by Addiction
Addiction causes many people to lose intimacy. Unfortunately, you are not the only one who suffers from this situation. Intimacy has also been taken away from other people in your life, those relying on you for trust, love, and belonging.
All aspects of interpersonal intimacy are undermined or nearly destroyed by addiction. Addiction erodes trust levels, openness, and honesty. Without the cornerstones of real intimacy, we are left with an unbalanced, distant relationship.
So, as a recovering individual, how do you build intimacy?
It takes more than simply stopping using drugs or alcohol to rebuild intimacy in recovery if you have been in a close partnership throughout your addiction journey. Once a substance is removed, couples or close friends are at risk of reliving the dysfunctional patterns that were in place during active addiction. If habits and practices are not unlearned, dysfunctional relationships can persist long after substances have been removed.
There’s a lot of work to do if trust has been broken, old habits are in place, or if you have never learned how to communicate in a healthy, open manner. For everyone to build trust, take the best actions, and communicate openly and constructively, it’s crucial to include partners and families in the recovery process. Your loved ones need to recover too.
Are You Ready for Intimacy Again?
You may wonder when and how to establish intimacy in the recovery process. It is understandable to fear intimacy when trying to recover from addiction. There’s nothing wrong with being apprehensive, but you can move past it.
You have likely been hurt if you have struggled with addiction. There may have been times when you unintentionally hurt someone you love. There may still be things you regret or feel shame about. You may even hold onto fear if you have been in an abusive relationship in the past. Windhaven House’s women-only program is designed to help women regain healthy trust and intimacy in a relaxed and safe environment while working on their recovery. Recovery is possible, and that includes the healing of relationships.