Intimacy is a four syllable word for 'take my heart and my soul, please don’t grind them into hamburger meat.' Intimacy is both feared and desired, difficult to live with and impossible to live without. It’s a skill we cultivate starting with our relationship with ourselves and expands out to those we love.
I believe that intimacy is about sharing our depths — our vulnerability, needs, and dreams. But as an addict accustomed to a life of isolation, secrecy, and distancing myself from others, learning how to rebuild intimate relationships with those around me has been difficult and uncomfortable. Something I’ve come to realize at South Orange County Detox & Treatment is that I can choose to live a shallow life or a life of depth. In a shallow life I avoid intimacy – I don’t share my needs, listen to my desires, or learn from my experiences. I stay on the surface, just trying to get by without being hurt or uncomfortable. But when I’m willing to dive into my fears, go beneath the familiar, and challenge myself, I discover we are all complicated, unique, and fragile ecosystems.
Humans crave intimacy. We crave closeness and rapport with the people closest to us. But intimacy is also scary and raw. So while our souls yearn for intimate connection with others, we are often fearful of intimacy – terrified of being vulnerable, armored against the pain of rejection, and fixated on not getting hurt. No wonder we often stay on the surface of the ocean in our little safety boats well padded with our life vests of protection.
We’re all so incredibly simple: we want to be loved. We want to receive love. And we want to be seen. Essentially, when it comes down to it, all we really want is to be close to somebody. So this thing where we all keep our distance and pretend not to care is usually a lie. We pick and choose who we want to remain close to, and once we’ve chosen those people, we tend to stick close by. No matter how much we hurt each other. The people that are still with you at the end of the day are the ones worth keeping. And sure, sometimes close can be too close. But sometimes, that invasion of personal space, it can be exactly what you need.