; neither about real intimacy nor for any feelings but the ones that I got from using. As recovering addicts we can probably all relate to being out of touch with both things. I know I can. How can we be truly intimate, especially with ourselves, when we are constantly fucked up or looking to score? And forget about feeling much, that’s why we used in the first place- to get rid of most of our feelings. I may be out on a limb, but these two simple words can scare the shit out of anyone not willing to reach out for help and admit that they have issues that need addressing.
Intimacy can be defined as ‘belonging to or characterizing one’s deepest nature₁’. Intimacy is also defined as being ‘characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling₂.’ I felt deep when I was using, but I’ve realized now that I was covering up how I really felt by over analyzing and intellectualizing most everything. If I could talk or reason it out and make my drug addled and unhappy self think I was achieving intimacy with whatever I was doing or with whomever I was with, I was satisfied. Most of the time it wasn’t deep, it certainly did not last and it rarely belonged to me for more than the time I was willing to devote in that current moment. Intimacy was so illusory that I thought I could only achieve it through excessive drug use and/or by spilling my guts to people who were little more than strangers. The second definition I gave can be particularly troubling to some of us who go to great lengths to stay out of our heads and numb the pain we feel with our drug(s) of choice. Again who wants to trudge through the thick, muddy swamp of emotions and feelings, when you can just get loaded? Why bother with truly getting to know someone when, as an addict – we don’t really give a shit?
I was terrible at keeping in touch with people; still am fairly bad at it to tell the truth. I lived so long feeling alone and hopeless that it’s been hard for me to achieve real intimacy with anyone or anything. My comfort zone and bandwidth of life was so small it’s almost hard for me to imagine I existed there for any time at all. My drug and my city were my only comfort. Most of the time I used the familiar parks and blocks around me as my friends; my drugs were my close confidants. They were so easy to reason with, they never judged and best of all it was never about them and always about me.
One of the defining characteristics of my using was my selfishness; it was evident in almost every part of my life. I believed that I was alone in my own sadness, and as a result did not give much thought to the world around me. Since I’ve started my recovery though, I constantly try to be more mindful and aware. I practice meditation and affirmations to bring myself closer to my feelings. I also try to allow myself to be more intimate, and it can be really difficult sometimes. I realize now that I was so emotionally barren that to even get my whole head above water, so to speak, I need to not only work harder but I have to enjoy the little things. I get up every day with the hope that, like the AA big book says, I can just accept life as it is laid out in front of me, take joy in the simple pleasures of life and realize that I only get out what I put in. Most importantly I try to take things a day, hour, minute even a second at a time.
By Will I.