You may be familiar with the old recovery cliche, “getting sober is easy; staying sober is hard.” Navigating your new life alone can seem like a daunting prospect. And now that you have given up on “people, places, and things,” it is natural to desire the closeness of another person. Many addicts new to recovery jump into relationships to avoid feeling alone. The sense of possibility that recovery brings you may make you feel ready for a new relationship. But most experts suggest waiting a year before diving into romance.
Early recovery is a time to work on yourself. It is a time to work on existing relationships still strained from your active addiction. One of the hardest things you will do in your recovery is facing your past mistakes to make amends. Romantic relationships are an easy way to avoid keeping the focus on you. But keeping the focus on you is crucial in the early months of recovery. Right now your recovery is so fresh that you may not be in the best mindset to pick the right romantic partner. Recovering drug addicts often attract other drug addicts. Two vulnerable people make for a problematic pairing in sobriety.
The Dangers of Dating
You may not realize it, but dating in early recovery poses a danger to your long-term sobriety. There are many reasons why:
- Dating is a “high” like drugs and alcohol. Emotions you feel at the beginning of a new relationship are natural and healthy. The neurochemistry behind those feelings is like the effects of drugs and alcohol. You may be replacing one high for another.
- Break-ups trigger relapses. Ending a relationship is tough for anyone. The pain is especially hard when you are learning to cope without illicit substances. A relationship that ends too soon may cause you to seek solace again with your drug of choice.
- You open yourself up to vulnerability. As a newly recovering addict be wary of people looking to prey on your vulnerable state. Watch out for addicts with years of sobriety who you may listen to as a mentor or sponsor. Keep the relationship professional.
Spend the first year of your sobriety focusing on you. Once you begin to know yourself, then love will follow. If you are ready to start your journey towards recovery, please feel free to contact us 24 hours a day at 1-800-737-0933.