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Post Info TOPIC: ACOA - Intimacy

Veteran Member

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ACOA - Intimacy


New territory is opening to me as I acquaint myself with my feelings and beliefs.  I am open to experimenting with new behavior as I release the shackles of my past programming.

Being attracted to someone I cannot have is safe.  This becomes harmful for me only when I make this a way of life.  If I wish to grow, I must be willing to look at my fear of intimacy with a real person in the here and now.  It is no longer satisfying for me to drift in a cloud of self-deception.

Day by day, I am getting ready to accept the challenges of intimacy.  I have turned the bright lights on the dark mechanial patterns of my past.  With my deepening self-awareness, I deserve a relationship that is attainable.


Daily Affirmations For Adult Children of Alcoholics by Rokelle Lerner


"See the work.  Do the work.  Stay out of misery."  -Maharishi


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Posts: 21

I've been becoming increasingly aware over the past few years that everybody I befriend is unavailable to be in a close friendship.  I consciously avoided practicing alcoholics and drug addicts, and thought I was doing fine. But now I see that most of my friends are unavailable in that they are focused on what others are doing. These others don't include me, and I always end up feeling unwanted. I have never considered that these types of friendships are safe. Now I get it!!! I am afraid of intimacy - I've always known that - but now I see more clearly my part in it.

My part includes allowing them to tell me in lengthy detail all the problems they are having with husbands, children, siblings, etc. I think I am addicted to other people's problems. I find it immensley difficult to tell people how I feel. I actually feel guilty for wanting to.  I used to think that people who knew what everyone else was up to, were much smarter than me, now I see that I was totally wrapped up in my own pain. I have been going to alanon for years. Not as a spouse but as an adult child of an alcoholic who died many years ago. So I want to talk about how I think I am affected, but always feel guilty and wrong each time I try and share this in alanon. I often feel that there is something really bad about myself because I don't have anyone else to talk about like that. Actually, I have my three grown children, but I love them dearly and certainly do not see myself as a victim of them. Just the opposite. I am only recently being able to make ammends to them for passing on the generational disease of dysfunction.  I want to talk about myself.  After all, for most of my life, I had no idea of who I was because my feelings were stuffed and denied.

It's taking me ages to get to know myself, and even longer to stop feeling guilty and ashamed for wanting to talk about it.

Now I understand more why I find intimacy so difficult. I am only beginning to be intimate with myself. No wonder I can't be intimate with someone else.



Senior Member

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Posts: 108

Intimacy . . . isn't that just sex?  LOL.

Was before I started recovery.

Emotional intimacy wasn't even a concept I understood.  Really can't say I do to this day.  I was raised in a family that really doesn't share feelings.  We are all logic driven, hard working people who just "get the job done".  Why does it have include drama and feelings was pretty much our take.

And it really is still a comfort zone for me.  I think about sharing my feelings and it seems like an impediment, a waste of time, and a weak spot for others to take advantage of.  And who says my feelings are appropriate anyway?  They may be way off base from the reality of a situation.

That said, I am getting better, for example . . . "I am afraid to say what I am about to say . . . " - that statement has helped me immensely start sharing how I feel to institute boundaries where I never would have before.  In my intimate relationship it has helped a lot when there is friction being able to say "I am hurt, I am scared, I am angry . . . ".  Starting a conversation with "You are/did . . " just doesn't seem to go well with a significant other, makes them get defensive and push back regardless of how true your statements are or are not.  Now I have heard it said many times that they can't argue with you if you start a statement with "I feel. . . ", but believe me - people CAN and DO argue with anything.

But what is intimate?  Does that mean I get a friend or a boyfriend and spew all my deepest, darkest fears - thoughts - feelings - every second of my past?  If so, not going to happen.  Sharing too much was actually on a codependent list I read recently.  Nope, my take has always been (even before recovery) there is only today and what actions we do in that day define who I am today.  Other than that, I will learn about the other person as they tell me stories of their past - hopefully slowly - and as I put together the actions I get to see day after day.  Being honest, open, accepting and loving I believe is intimate.  Listening and validating is intimacy.  If I am evasive, lie, withhold, unfaithful, selfish, don't listen or care what the other person has to say - then I am not being intimate.  I just don't see why sometimes it is based on how much I share.  I am a VERY quiet person and my memory is awful.  Kind of hard to share the 2/3 of my life I don't even remember.  But many have said that I am too aloof, I am not intimate.

As with everything we are learning, there seems to be too much or too little.  Seems I fall towards the too little side.


I am with a group of friends recently telling some story about my past.  Don't even remember which one it is. . . oh yes, the one of me meeting my biological father.  Great story and everyone at the table was fascinated - total Oprah moment.  After, my cousin says "I didn't even know about that!" and she was upset.  Why?  Why is how much you know about someone so crucial to a relationship?  Why do we judge our importance in someone's life by how much we know about them?  It is just never something I have used for measuring my status with another person.  I feel it is like a puzzle and over time the picture becomes clearer - the actions you experience with them plus their past starts for form this person . . . but I am in no hurry.

Anyway - sorry to ramble.  This has just been one of those thorns in my life that repeats itself over and over and I receive a lot of complaints about.  "I am unavailable".  Most of the time - I just don't see it.  I am quiet and private.  Works for me.


1. associated in close personal relations: an intimate friend.
2. characterized by or involving warm friendship or a personally close or familiar association or feeling: an intimate greeting.
3. very private; closely personal: one's intimate affairs.
4. characterized by or suggesting privacy or intimacy;  warmly cozy: an intimate little café.
5. (of an association, knowledge, understanding, etc.) arising from close personal connection or familiar experience.
6. engaged in or characterized by sexual relations.
7. (of clothing) worn next to the skin, under street or outer garments: intimate apparel.
8. detailed; deep: a more intimate analysis.
9. showing a close union or combination of particles or elements: an intimate mixture.
10. inmost; deep within.
11. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the inmost or essential nature; intrinsic: the intimate structure of an organism.
12. of, pertaining to, or existing in the inmost depths of the mind: intimate beliefs.


–noun, plural -cies.
1. the state of being intimate.
2. a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
3. a close association with or detailed knowledge or deep understanding of a place, subject, period of history, etc.: an intimacy with japan.
4. an act or expression serving as a token of familiarity, affection, or the like: to allow the intimacy of using first names.
5. an amorously familiar act; liberty.
6. sexual intercourse.
7. the quality of being comfortable, warm, or familiar: the intimacy of the room.
8. privacy, especially as suitable to the telling of a secret: in the intimacy of his studio.

Just my take and obviously something I am still struggling with.


-- Edited by Linistea on Friday 18th of March 2011 06:33:02 AM


Senior Member

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Posts: 105

I haven't got a clue how to be intimate. My mother was extremely suffocating and controlling towards me and still is, and my dad was completely emotionally unavailable, raging and physically threatening. So I swing from feeling suffocated to feeling lost and alone and have never seemed to find a place in between. When I share with my sponsor in al-anon I feel stripped down and naked for days afterwards. The difference now is I tell her that's how I feel. I spent my teens, twenties and thirties completely locked within myself, not understanding that's how I was. It was only when I met my current partner and watched him relate to his children in a completely different way than I had known that I began to look at myself and why I was so distant from other people. I find it incredibly painful to be close to people, and find it very difficult to talk about my feelings. I tend to listen when other people talk about their feelings, and am told a lot that I'm good listener, and although I want to talk about myself, I find it difficult to do. I minimise my feelings because I don't know how to express them. I think i feel victimised by my own feelings if that makes sense. One of the things that came up for me really strongly this week is that I find even feeling difficult feelings like anger, rage, hurt, fear very difficult to allow myself to do, and feel really overwhelmed by my own feelings, so being able to communicate them to someone else feels even more difficult. I get panicked, and my throat tightens up, I find it so hard to talk about my feelings. Sometimes it take me days to even know what I'm feeling, and that's when I'm doing my best to work it out... So I tend to smile a lot, make people laugh, sit and watch, listen to other people. If I'm in a social situation people I'm with will chat and share and tell me about them, and when they ask me about me, I automatically flip the conversation back to them to get the spotlight off me. I was painfully shy in my teens, and studied drama at university as I figured I needed to get past being so shy and putting myself on stage was as good a way to do it, in for a penny in for a pound kind of a thing, and that's how I've dealt with life. If somethign came up that frightened me then I took the biggest leap into it to combat the fear. But it never really worked as there was always a new fear bigger than the last one popping up around the corner. Friends and people I meet tell me that I'm brave to have done the things I've done, but I don't feel brave, I just feel as if I've been trying to stare down the monster on my back, and no matter what I've accomplished I've never been able to do the one thing I really want to be able to do which is allow myself to be seen by someone who cares about me and really see them with open eyes, not through dependence. I don't know how people share themselves with someone else and then don't run for the hills. Right now, I really have no clue how to do it, I even find it hard to look people in the eye and keep eye contact, but I manage to hide this really well and people who spend time with me think I'm funny, bubbly and warm. I'm just really good at pretending.



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