Getting close to people after we’ve stopped drinking can be daunting. Friends, co-workers, family, and romantic interests – we hold ourselves back due to fear. Intimacy without alcohol might seem awkward at first but ultimately it’s not only possible – it’s incredibly fulfilling.
Types of Intimacy
When we think of intimacy, we usually only consider physical intimacy. Media has much to do with that. Constantly shoving sex in our face … with a side of alcohol. Physical intimacy is just one type of intimacy. In fact, sexual intimacy really only applies to one type of relationship. Intimacy also includes emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects. These cross into every type of relationship we have. Let’s discuss intimacy without alcohol.
Emotional intimacy involves a perception of closeness to another that allows sharing of personal feelings, along with expectations of understanding, affirmation, and demonstration of caring. Opening yourself up to do that in a relationship means opening up yourself to also get hurt. Many of us used alcohol to numb us from hurts. Emotional intimacy without alcohol can make us feel incredibly vulnerable. We figure that if we can’t have alcohol to numb us, we just won’t get close enough to get hurt anymore. You can create emotional intimacy while being empowered. The best way to do this is by practicing clear communication. Think before you speak. Process your feelings before speaking. Then, articulate your emotions clearly. Don’t downplay your hurts or try to blame yourself for why you’ve been hurt. Take ownership of your feelings and realize that by being vulnerable you create intimacy and allow caring.
Mental intimacy is probably the most powerful kind of intimacy. It is what connects you with others – shared interests, shared beliefs, and shared values. It can also be painful to explore mental intimacy without alcohol. In many cases we learn that the only thing we shared with others was our love of alcohol. It’s okay if you lose certain relationships after you stop drinking, especially if your only connection was alcohol. For those relationships that have stronger foundations – develop them. Talk about your shared interests, challenge your shared beliefs, and feed what mentally stimulates you.
Learn More About Intimacy Without Alcohol
Discover more about intimacy without alcohol by beginning to read This Naked Mind for free today!
You can also join The Alcohol Experiment for daily emails and exercises to support you in a 30-day booze-free challenge. Begin exploring intimacy and forming friendships without alcohol.
No – I’m not going 12 Steps on you and encouraging you to seek a higher power. Spiritual intimacy can be about a shared purpose or ethos. Or it can be about having different passions and beliefs but respecting those differences and supporting them. Fostering spiritual intimacy is one of the most meaningful ways you can strengthen and grow a relationship. I’ve never felt more connected to someone than after doing something that joins us on a spiritual level. Especially if it creates a sense of inner peace within us both. This can be by doing something like volunteering and helping others, meditation, or even just experiencing nature together. Allow the awe of a sunrise or sunset to move through you both and create a connection that surpasses any words or acts.
Cue the scary music … physical intimacy without alcohol is what terrifies most of us. For some we’ve never even experienced physical intimacy without alcohol. (Let me tell you – it’s even more amazing without it!) Before I get ahead of myself – physical intimacy is not just about sex. In fact sex is just a small part of it. The best way you can become comfortable with physical intimacy without alcohol is to start small. Not just in your romantic interests but even with friends. You need to break the connection in your brain that says you need alcohol to get close physically. Become a hugger. With each hug you chip away at that belief. In your romantic pursuits – start touching more. Hold hands, give a back rub, kiss more. Allow yourself to feel how good those things make you feel. And without alcohol – you really get to feel them. Keep doing that until you get to a point where you’re no longer thinking you need alcohol to feel good being physically intimate.
Finally – we all have physical hang ups. Even your partner. They are with you and want you just the way you are. Remember that we are way more critical of ourselves than others are.
Intimacy Without Alcohol
You deserve to experience intimacy on every level without alcohol. Now go get closer to others and let yourself discover intimacy in every way.