The general rule of thumb in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is to wait at least a year prior to entering a relationship. A person in recovery must focus on building a positive sense of self worth in order to move forward. Learn about building relationships in AA and how to find positive, life affirming people to support a healthy recovery.
Love can be like a drug which produces a state of euphoria in the brain. Many ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin) are released, resulting in the brain’s chemistry changing. Physical dependence can develop on the object of a person’s affection before a person is aware it is happening.
People who attend AA meetings most likely hear it is best to wait at least a year before getting into a relationship in recovery. A person in recovery needs time to heal without the anxiety, stress and worry of a new relationship which can, over time, become a substitute for drugs or alcohol. Some individuals believe a relationship is the key to maintaining sobriety but can trigger other unhealthy emotions. One year provides time to heal some of the trauma of addiction and to focus on what is most important in recovery.
When It Ends
A relationship with someone started in AA may come to an end. If it does, it is likely to throw a person into a tailspin of emotions and feelings about what went wrong. It is possible to stay sober while in relationship with another person but it is not the responsibility of another person to maintain another’s sobriety. A relationship can become a crutch for a person which is a lot of pressure for one individual to handle. This can turn into codependency, a situation where each person relies on the other to get something back in an unhealthy way. Relapse is also a possibility when a relationship ends which sets a person back and can take longer to rebound in recovery.
Better to Wait
Overall, it is better to wait until a person has had time to process the experience of recovery for a time alone before entering into a relationship. A healthy relationship can only be built by two people coming together who are have a strong sense of self and are able to connect with another person in a healthy way (without codependency). Every relationship will have issues, but giving oneself time to be in recovery will allow for more space to grow and heal before pursuing a relationship.
Relationships are hard at any stage of recovery, but can lead to codependency and even relapse if it is not healthy. If you need help quitting drugs, alcohol or relationship codependency, we are here to help you navigate the path and be on your way to recovery.