Individuals with addiction use not to feel more, but to feel less. Feelings of guilt, shame, inadequacy, and more cause individuals to self-medicate and eventually become dependent on substance that gives them feelings of freedom from emotion – feelings of happiness, relaxation, and more are what draws people to substances in the first place. For those in recovery, intimacy can be a cause for concern for individuals who struggle with intimacy disorders most often related to childhood trauma or physical, sexual, and emotional abuse through adulthood.
Addiction and disordered intimacy connect in different ways, according to Psych Central:
- Maintaining close relationships (spouses/partners, boyfriends/girlfriends, hookups) with people who abuse drugs and/or alcohol
- A history of sexual relationships where substances were a primary component
- A history of sexual relationships with individuals who supply substances
- Using substances to tolerate abusive or neglectful behavior from sexual partners
- Inability to enjoy sexual activity without the use of substances
- Making intimate relationships a greater priority than recovery and sobriety
- Engaging in substance abuse to “please” a romantic partner
- A history of emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse that is unresolved
Whether you’re in recovery or not, the mixture of substance abuse and intimacy is a dangerous one. Many who have developed intimacy issues struggle with what a real, loving, respectful, mature relationship means – and low self-esteem paired with addiction can create a very hostile, dangerous environment. Dysfunctional relationships may involve the abuser believing that they “own” their partner, and thus treating them however they feel, as if they have complete control over the other person. A victim in this relationship often feels deserving of the abuse, through having a low self-esteem or blaming themselves for whatever “caused” the abuse to occur.
If you relate to any of the above signs of disordered intimacy, you need to speak with a therapist immediately to begin developing tools to overcome this. There are many people out there who can help you and provide you with insight, and cognitive behavioral therapy has been proven to help change unhealthy, negative thought patterns into more positive, productive ones. Your health, your recovery, and your life are important. Make the decision to seek help today.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment centers. We believe in holistic recovery, and we have several different modalities to help you restore your mind, body, and spirit. Place your recovery as top priority and call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.