How Do I Form Relationships in AA?

“No intimate relationships during the first year of sobriety” is something individuals in recovery hear all the time in 12 step programs. However, very few individuals heed this piece of advice. When people get sober, it opens up a world of possibility for them, including getting back many of the things they have lost. Many individuals lost their relationships due to their struggle with addiction, and forming a new romantic relationship can be a great source of happiness in sobriety. However, jumping headfirst into a new romance can be one of the worst things an individual can do themselves in early recovery.

Avoiding Romantic Relationships in Early Recovery

One reason individuals in recovery are told to stay away from romantic relationships in the first year of sobriety is because their priority should be on staying sober. The first few months of recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster with everything going on. A new relationship can be very stressful for the individual. Also, it will take all of the individual’s attention to get through the early part of recovery, leaving no time and attention for a new relationship.

Another reason for individuals in recovery to avoid starting a relationship is that need need to first get to know the new them. Rushing into a relationship is only substituting one addiction for another, as they may try to use romance as a replacement for drugs or alcohol. Once the individual has got to know themselves better, they can then make better choices.  

The first year in recovery is when the individual learns how to break the cycle of addiction. A year of being sober and away from romantic relationships is supposed to give the individual a sufficient amount of time to deal with their own emotions and be responsible for themselves, rather than relying on someone else.

Romantic Relationships with Other People in Recovery

When people are in recovery together, sharing the same experiences, it can be easy to feel close and start a relationship. But this can be particularly problematic. What might happen if one of the couple relapses? The worry is that it could encourage the still sober one to do the same. It would be extremely difficult for the individual in recovery to maintain a healthy relationship with a partner who had relapsed, but they might still be unwilling to end the relationship and move away from a bad situation.

Does this mean an individual in recovery can’t find romantic relationship? No, it doesn’t mean that at all. However, it is still advisable that they stay away from romantic relationships for the first year. Rather, they should remain focused on themselves until they are sure that their sobriety is strong. Once the individual is well on their way to recovery and settled in their new life, then they can start to consider sharing it with a new person.

Recovery is hard work but you don’t have to do it alone. Call The Villa to find out how we can support your goals for sober living.