Sex. Important word. Troublesome subject for many. If anyone were to do a research study on recovering addicts, they would undoubtedly find that much distress and many, if not most relapses are around relationships, usually sexual relationships. Difficult for anyone, intimate relationships are especially problematic for alcoholics and addicts. Healthy relationships require unselfishness, not a strong suit among addicts, even if the addiction is work, television, skiing or other sports, or something else “acceptable”.
To remain comfortable in our own skin, in particular if we are used to being mind-altered and have recently discontinued alcohol and other drug use, we selfish human beings often find we have to restructure the sex and relationship areas of our lives. It is tough to live clean and sober with the constant discomfort of doing harm to ourselves and others with our self-centered ways. If the addict continues his destructive behavior, he is likely to go back to covering the feelings with alcohol and drugs. Cheating, dishonesty, blaming, inciting fear and jealousy, all create pain that he used to deal with by getting high. Many find that they just can’t live with this knot in their gut, so when they do stop the drugs, other destructive behavior has to stop or change as well.
Closer, healthier, happier relationships require even more changes. Clean and sober people who have dealt with the inherent human fear of rejection, deciding to walk through it and not letting it paralyze them, are able to participate in relationships, sexual or not, in increasingly unselfish ways. They become able to take the risk of being genuine, taking off their masks, adopting the philosophy that the best partner is someone who knows everything about you and loves you anyway. Sharing oneself, accepting others as they are, encouraging growth and sincerely appreciating and wanting the best for the other person, are ingredients of healthy relationships that have potential for increasing intimacy and duration.
If you don’t have the relationships you want, sexual and otherwise, make changes in yourself. Get some help. See a therapist, attend a relationship workshop, interview people with happy, healthy relationships and learn from them. Most importantly, become the healthiest and most sincere human being you can, someone you would want to have in a relationship.
Bottom line? Healthy relationships are formed when people get out of themselves and care unselfishly for another.