All individuals who are new to recovery are usually advised to stay away from romantic relationships for at least the first year of sobriety. While it is possible for a relationship formed in recovery to succeed, experience has shown that it is usually a precursor to relapse.
Vulnerability in Relationships in Recovery
When an individual is in early recovery, they are very vulnerable. They have left behind old habits, sometimes even been cut off from family and friends and have to build a new foundation. Being sober is a brand new experience, and the individual has a lot to learn. They have to develop new healthy habits and coping mechanisms, without the crutch of drugs or alcohol.
Getting into a new relationship while newly sober can be fun and seem like a step in the right direction. The individual tends to forget how vulnerable they are at this time, and consequently can be deeply hurt if the relationship doesn’t work out.
Relationships in Recovery can lead to Relapse
The key thing for the individual in recovery to remember is that if they are serious about their sobriety, then they shouldn’t do anything to jeopardize it. This is the main reason that it is advised that the individual wait for a year before entering into a romantic relationship. The chances of relapse when in a relationship are very real and very high. A new relationship would force the individual to shift their focus, time and attention to another person. And this is the time when the individual’s full attention and focus must be only on themselves and their sobriety.
The Dangers of Romantic Relationships in Recovery
There are many kinds of relationships which are beneficial to the process of recovery, such as therapists, counselors, family and peers. But a romantic or sexual relationship is not one of them, for many reasons:
- The dangers of getting an STD are higher in individuals recovering from substance abuse, because it is likely that they have engaged in risky drug and sexual behaviors while they were still using. An individual in the early stages of recovery doesn’t need to also cope with the addition of a new illness.
- The individual will want to present themselves in the most positive light to their new partner, when they get involved in a new relationship. If this new partner is also in rehab, then the days of honest introspection in group therapies can be very difficult, as the individual will not want to reveal the ugly truth about themselves in front of their partner. This can be very harmful towards their continued recovery.
Ultimately, the aim of an individual in recovery is to focus on themselves and their healing. This cannot be assisted if there is any distraction from the journey to staying sober.
It is hard to go through recovery alone. But you don’t have to when support is available.
Call The Villa to find out how we can help you.