You’ll hear a lot of people tell you that it is a good idea to wait a full year before beginning romantic relationships in recovery. There is good reason for this, as many people who have been there – done that can attest. Recovery is all about you, and it should be a time where you are completely focused on yourself. After all, you are getting to know yourself as a new, sober individual for the first time in years. It is important to fall in love with yourself before you can give that kind of attention to others.
Romantic Relationships in Recovery Should Come Later
When you become sober, there is so much on your plate. You have to balance your recovery with going back to work or school, maintaining a home, and generally getting back on your feet. No matter who you are, this is a lot to handle! One of the biggest factors is getting to know yourself sober.
When you think about it, you have spent months, years, maybe decades living a life that revolves around drugs or alcohol. Now, for the first time in awhile, you need to discover what makes you tick without those things involved. If you think about it, you can’t really bring another person into your life unless you learn to love yourself and get to know yourself as a sober person. If you rush to get into relationships in recovery, you would be doing yourself and the other person a disservice.
Relationships in recovery can be the cause of relapse when they aren’t approached carefully. One of the biggest causes of relapse is when you go through emotional turmoil. And let’s face it – no matter how amazing another person might seem, relationships have their ups and downs and can often end in disaster. Even fighting and other relationship stressors can make you think about using or drinking, and it just isn’t worth it.
Learn to Love Yourself Via the Right Relationships in Recovery
All this being said, there are relationships in recovery that you should make a priority. However, none of them are romantic!
Your relationship with yourself. As we have mentioned, this time in early recovery is all about learning to love yourself. That means accepting your past as an addict by learning from it and committing to moving on. Focus on being the best version of yourself that you can be every single day by staying sober and doing the right things.
Your support system. The right relationships in recovery should be focused on people who have long-term recovery and can help to guide you, like a sponsor or other people who can help you stay strong when things get tough. It is a good idea to also have a therapist or someone you regularly visit for advice and to process events and talk things through.
Your relationship with a higher power. Many people shy away from this because they think a higher power means the same thing as religion. This isn’t the case. The belief in a higher power simply means that you believe that you are a part of something bigger than you are. You can choose your higher power to be anything you want it to be – the ocean, sky, animals – as long as it is something that resonates with you.
Romantic relationships in recovery should be the last thing you focus on. They are something that will come when the time is right. Pushing it will only lead to failure – failure of the relationship and possibly even your sobriety. After all the work you have done, putting your recovery in jeopardy isn’t worth it.