Many newly sober people make a mistake by looking for love soon after successfully completing a treatment program. They have rediscovered their enthusiasm and zeal for life, and want to find someone to share it with.
While you’ll want to make amends to people you hurt, and you will almost forge new friendships in addiction treatment and 12-step meetings, most experts advise against diving into new romantic relationships for at least the first year of recovery. Why should you stay single during this delicate time?
1. You Need Time and Space to Rediscover Yourself
Early recovery is a chance to learn who you are without drugs or alcohol blurring all the lines in your life. In many ways, you’ll become a different person during addiction treatment, and you’ll need to reconnect with yourself.
Sobriety frees you to explore emotions you previously tried to mute by drinking or using. You’ll learn to own your feelings instead of burying them. This new phase of your life is all about getting comfortable with your true self, and you deserve plenty of time to focus on this.
2. You’ll Already Have a Lot on Your Plate
As you will soon realize, your life as a recently sober person will be significantly different from what you were accustomed to in active addiction. You’ll need to spend most of your free time proactively creating structure and routine for your life. You will also devote more energy to developing healthy habits and new coping mechanisms that allow you to fight cravings and triggers.
3. You Will Be More Emotionally Vulnerable
Recovery brings many peaks and valleys as you work through intense feelings such as shame and guilt. The honesty and trust at the heart of a romantic relationship may be more than you can realistically handle at this point. Even the most robust relationships go through occasional rough spots, and if you aren’t resilient enough to handle this kind of upheaval, one minor disagreement could be all it takes to threaten your newfound sobriety.
4. You’ll Need to Keep Your Eye on Your Goals
In early recovery, anything that doesn’t directly contribute to your progress can become an obstacle. During the first blush of a new romance, you might shift most of your focus to the object of your affection, leading you to ignore essential responsibilities such as attending 12-step group meetings or having regular check-ins with your recovery sponsor. Your budding relationship could cause you to justify rearranging your priorities and devoting your attention to your partner, instead of what you need to heal.
5. You Should Not Substitute One Addiction for Another
The excitement of a blossoming romance could be dangerously reminiscent of the high you spent years chasing with alcohol and drugs. Due to the parallels, the thrill of love and intimacy could become a stand-in for addictive substances. Additionally, if you become codependent on your partner, you could be more susceptible to a relapse if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Experience 12-Step Recovery in an Inspiring Setting
When you join the Still Waters family, you will never be alone on your recovery journey. We have based our entire treatment model on the 12-step approach that has helped thousands of people end their dependence on alcohol and drugs and learn to live healthy, sober lives. To learn more about whether we can help you, contact us today.