There is an unwritten rule against dating during addiction recovery. Recovery programs commonly recommend abstaining from dating the first year. Recovery is all about healing and learning how to live without substance use, and that first year of sobriety can be a challenge. Navigating the dating scene or starting a new relationship while working through recovery is a recipe for disaster.
At the beginning of a new relationship, we are inundated with emotions — thrilling highs and lows. Learning to manage emotions is one of the greatest challenges of recovery since drugs and alcohol are typically used to numb emotions.
Choosing a Partner
The rush or highs of dating can be intoxicating, literally. Those fresh out of recovery may be susceptible to that intoxicating feeling which can lead to substituting one addiction for another. Infatuation can be mistaken for love. Thus, someone could fall victim to the pitfalls of dating because they have not fully resolved their emotional issues of seeking things outside themselves to fill a void within.
Developing an unhealthy attachment to someone can also derail recovery efforts. Within that first year of recovery, one is still emotionally unstable and unhealthy. If you are emotionally unhealthy, then you are likely to attach to other unhealthy people. People in recovery often look to others to rescue or fix them. It can be especially burdensome to put your emotional baggage on your partner, making forming a healthy relationship impossible.
Once you have successfully completed treatment and waited a year, you will have a better chance of picking the right partner. Recovery programs help people to develop coping skills and to seek comfort within themselves rather than with drugs or relationships.
6 Recovery Survival Tips
The first year of recovery is the most difficult. This is the time to focus on yourself and work the treatment program. Dating is a distraction to be avoided. Here are ways to stay on track:
- Find healthy ways to cope with abstinence like exercising.
- Attend opposite-sex support groups. This is a great way to avoid temptation and distraction.
- Continue therapy and support programs even after the first year. Jumping back into the dating scene after a long hiatus would be challenging for anyone. Learning to trust again and handle intimacy can be daunting. You don’t have to face it alone.
- Be patient. Allow yourself the time you need to learn to live your new life of sobriety. If you meet someone, be honest about what you are going through. Develop a friendship first. If they truly care about you, they will wait until you are ready for something more.
- Avoid places where you might be triggered such as bars. There are plenty of options available where you can have fun while sober. Most recovery programs plan sober activities such as going to the movies and playing sports.
- Celebrate milestones with positive, supportive people. It is important to pat yourself on the back. Celebrating milestones is a good way to stay motivated in recovery.
You owe it to yourself, and to your future partner, to have a recovery support network in place before starting a relationship. Aquila Recovery provides the best ongoing support for your addiction recovery. Recovery is a period of healing, self-discovery, and self-improvement. In time, you will be able to begin a new relationship as a much better version of you.