Dating and relationships aren’t easy for anyone. You can be the strongest person in the world, with no issues regarding drug or alcohol abuse, and still be brought to your knees by a troublesome relationship. When it comes to relationships in recovery, it is essential to give yourself time to get into one, and when you do to make sure it is the right relationship for you. After all, you don’t want another person to be responsible for a relapse in your addiction.
The One-Year Rule of Relationships in Recovery
When it comes to dating in recovery, all of the experts will tell you that it is best to wait one year for a new relationship. This is great advice to listen to, and here is why:
- In early recovery, you need to spend all of your time focusing on yourself and healing. This is why full-time rehab is recommended in the beginning because it isolates you from all outside distractions. You can take the time to journey inward, discover the reasons behind your addiction, and figure out healthy coping mechanisms for the future. Once out of rehab, it is important to focus on implementing those coping skills without unnecessary outside distractions.
- In the beginning, you need to focus on rebuilding your life. Do you know how many people skip out on job interviews to go on a date, or miss a therapy appointment in order to hang out with a potential suitor? Love and lust are strong, and they can take over, especially when you are weak. Don’t let it! You and your recovery should be number one, above all else.
- Dating another person in early recovery can be a ticking time bomb. Many people say that two sick people cannot make a healthy relationship. It’s true! If you are both in early recovery, you have a lot of healing to do. Many people relapse in early recovery, and when relationships in recovery are involved, it usually brings down both people. You can be so blinded by love that you agree to relapse with the person, and it just isn’t worth it. It is a lot easier to bring somebody down than lift them up.
- You don’t even know who you are sober. You may have sought treatment for months or even years of constant drug or alcohol abuse. In the time you were using, your main focus was your substance of choice, and all of your likes, dislikes, hobbies, and activities revolve around it. Now that you are sober, you are re-discovering how to live without mind-altering substances. If you don’t know what you are like sober, how can you find an appropriate partner?
- It is important to get back on your feet before you start dating. Do you really want to ask a girl out while you are living in a halfway house and have no money to take her anywhere? Dating usually requires at least a little bit of a foundation, and it is important for you to build one before you invite someone into your world.
Getting Back to Recovery Goals
With all this in mind, it is important to remember that when you are in early recovery, you are fragile. In any relationships, fights and break-ups will happen, and when they do, you don’t want it to cause a relapse. We all know that the pain love can bring is temporary and fades over time, but in early recovery, you are prone to making rash decisions and you can easily reach for a drug or a drink to cope.
Take the advice of millions of people who have been in recovery before you and wait to start romantic relationships in recovery. After a year, you will be strong, healthy, and better equipped to find the perfect person for you. Even if you meet the person early in your recovery, they will still be there after a year if they are actually the right person for you. Take the time to enjoy this journey with yourself and your peers so that you can thrive in a healthy, sober lifestyle for years to come.