Why Relationships In Recovery Can Be Tricky

by | Mar 28, 2018 | Recovery | 0 comments

relationships in recovery

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Any new relationship can be very healthy and exciting. Meeting a new person is a change, and change can be so fun! A new romantic relationship can be especially exciting, but it might not always be healthy. This is especially true after going through drug rehab.

    We know that it feels awesome to go through the initial crush, the dates, and the vulnerable conversations. We know that it’s enticing to get to know someone cool. Maybe you’ve made a friend in recovery that you have feelings for.  It’s amazing to build close connections, but keep it friendly for now. No matter who this person is, waiting will only make your relationship stronger. Here is why you should wait to form something serious after addiction recovery.

relationships in recovery

Time Is Essential To Treating Addiction 

Think of parting with your drug addiction like a breakup. You know what they say. Time heals all wounds. It goes without saying that life won’t be perfect when you finish substance abuse treatment. You’re going to be on the downward slope of a huge mountain climb. You’re almost there, just a little more to go. There are people to catch up with. There are loved ones to reconcile feelings with. There could be new jobs to apply to. There could be finances to figure out.

When you’re finished with rehab- inpatient or outpatient– you are still a recovering person. You will always be a recovering person. There is no such thing as graduating from types of therapy. You will gain skills training in rehab centers that utilize various types of therapy, but recovery still needs to be free from added distractions. Things need to gradually happen to you. Time is its own form of substance abuse therapy. It works the way medical detox and behavioral therapy do. It helps you when you need help. It allows your mind to ease and to make new adjustments. Becoming sober is one thing. Staying sober is a whole new thing. You need to allow yourself that time to become the best version of yourself. You need that time to stay sober and to enjoy staying sober. What improvements have you noticed in your life? Remind yourself of those. That way, you’re the best version of yourself when you do form a new romantic relationship. This is better than finding yourself through the eyes of someone else. Successful recovery is patient, much like love.

 Your Mental Health Needs To Come First   

No matter what your drug of choice was, you just recovered from addiction. Overcoming addiction is something to be proud of. That being said, recovery after treatment is still an uphill battle. Your mental health should be a top priority. There are going to be so many adjustments to make. Your mind will have a fresh start. Your body will have a fresh start. You’re going to feel like a different version of yourself.  You need to get to know yourself before you get to know someone else. You need to learn your new coping skills before knowing someone else.

    That is why dating in recovery is not beneficial. Intimate relationships require so much attention. You will want to show interest in someone else’s well being.  You will want to take care of them when they’re down. If you are doing this, your attention will be divided. After alcohol and drug treatment, your attention needs to be on yourself.

     While healthy relationships in recovery are possible, they’re distracting. You’re taking care of yourself after such a tough battle in drug rehab. Your focus is better off centered around your recovery. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t support your loved ones, but don’t add someone else to the list to worry about. This seems selfish, but it’s necessary after addiction recovery. You just said goodbye to drugs and alcohol. You just said goodbye to a really hard time. You just went from drug addict to sober superstar. Let yourself be selfish while you get used to your new life.

   This isn’t to say you cannot meet people. Explore your interests and make new friends. For the purposes of your progress, keep these new friends in the friend zone. You want your focus to be on your mental health and not your new love interest. You want to build up a positive self-image. If you let someone else do that for you, what will happen if you two break up? Will you see yourself how they do? Or will your self-image come from your own mind? It can be easy to let a relationship dictate our self-esteem.  Live sober and single for some time. Let yourself reset.

 A Healthy Relationship Is Free Of Dependence   

Think about your addiction. You were not in a good place mentally. You found something that felt good and you became attached. Your body was addicted. Your mind was addicted. The brain can become addicted to anything. This can include behaviors. If you’re not giving yourself time to adjust, this is exactly what will happen with a romantic relationship. You will be emotionally and physically attached to a person. Your behavior could become centered around your feelings for them. Let your mind find balance before rushing into something.

     After addiction recovery, it’s best to avoid things you can become dependent on. These are things you need for mental balance. If you’re not careful, you can become dependent on the feeling of being around your partner. Your coping skills will become giving someone else affection. When a relationship is brand new, it’s easy for things to go too fast. It takes up so much of your time. It takes up so much of your feelings. Your mind is used to latching onto things that make you feel good. Dependence is not healthy in intimate relationships. You want to want your partner, not need them. You want to enjoy the times you and your partner cannot be together. When your mind is used to attachment, it will be harder to focus on the fun things that don’t involve your partner. You risk having a very obsessive relationship too quickly. Dependent relationships are toxic relationships. This can cause you a ton of stress, which leads us to our next point.

 A Romantic Relationship Can Be Stressful  

 If you really like someone and rush into a romantic relationship, it’s not always going to feel amazing. This is not to make you see the negative side of things. This is simply to make you understand the realistic side of things.  You’re learning the ropes to a new person. Furthermore, you’re learning the ropes to how your new self interacts with a new person.

 There is no such thing as a perfect person. You’re going to find things about your partner that you cannot stand. What happens when these things start to really bother you? It’s common to become irritated with the people around you. It’s common to become stressed when things don’t go well. You’re going to have days where you feel irritable. You’re going to have days in the relationship where things just don’t seem to be going well. You just got out of rehab. What kind of things is your partner dealing with? What happens if you two argue on a bad day? Will your coping skills be ready to handle that? It’s okay to take a step back from jumping into a relationship. The last thing you want to have is a relapse. Recovering addicts risk relapse when they’re in stressful situations. The goal for you is to minimize these stressful situations. A brand new relationship is not going to do that.

During a successful recovery, you want to master your coping skills. You cannot use drugs and alcohol to ease your mind. You have to tap into what you learned in the treatment center. Overcoming addiction can be a really stressful thing. Maintaining abstinence can be so hard. There is too high a risk for relapse when you’re falling head over heels right after recovery.

Really think about these things before you jump into a romantic relationship. Recovering addicts need time and space to learn the flow of a new life. Avoid the chance of falling back into addiction through toxic relationships. Surround yourself with loved ones. Learn new hobbies. Try new foods. Live sober and enjoying staying sober. Enjoy the things around you that were there before and appreciate them with sober eyes.  Addiction and substance abuse have a way of making life seem like it isn’t amazing. Take a look at all the things around you with more clear lenses. When the time has passed and you feel balanced, you can then add someone new. When you feel fulfilled alone, you can then share that person with someone special. Until then, your only romantic friend in recovery is your new, sober and beautiful self. Remember that who you spend time with is a reflection of who you are. To have the best person for you, you first need to be the best you.

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