As a man, I had no idea that what I wanted was intimacy rather than sex. I thought sex was the royal road to intimacy but it turned out to be the road to disappointment. But in recovery, attending many meetings and reading a lot of members' shares, I have discovered something very beautiful: What most of us seem to really want, whether we are male or female, gay or straight, is intimacy.
How can we find intimacy ?
Our White Book is very clear about what I need to do to find intimacy. It is there in black and white in The Solution on page 204. But my addiction blinded me to its message for years. I just did not want to see it, let alone do it!
"The crucial change in attitude began when we admitted we were powerless, that our habit had us whipped. We came to meetings and withdrew from our habit. For some, this meant no sex with themselves or others, including not getting into relationships. For others it also meant "drying out" and not having sex with the spouse for a time to recover from lust."
Today I am learning far more about building intimacy with others by attending SA meetings and sharing a house with another sober male than ever I learned in all my years of trying to build intimacy with the women in my life. Why? Because with my mind clouded with lust I couldn't build anything, let alone a solid relationship.
I tried many half measures: first, just abstaining from sex, then giving up bathroom-sharing, then moving out of the bedroom, then moving out of the house, finally, in desperation, I moved out of the country. Only now, after two years, am I beginning to be able to communicate civilly with my former partner. I still sometimes give her the power to shame me to distraction. Recovery takes time.
In the meantime, I am discovering intimacy beyond anything I have ever known with (to me) some of the most unlikely people - such as my house mate, with a 20 year friend in the fellowship, with members of my home group, with my 28 year old son, with my 93 year old mother.
But I am still a long way from intimacy with my former partner. Why should that be? I have come to see that, in my addiction, I have unerringly hooked up with people with whom I felt unsafe and who consequently triggered lust in me rather than love. I "went for the "chemistry", the connection that had the magic BECAUSE it bypassed intimacy and true union. fantasy corrupted the real; lust killed love." (WB p 203)