Recovery is a beautiful thing, and so is romance. In fact, it is not unusual to want to build a romantic relationship soon after your recovery, especially those bridges you burned, back when you were using. However, it is best to steer clear from relationships at this period for one reason: vulnerability.
Romantic relationships can be a source of joy in sobriety, but they can also bring great pain. One of the most ill-advised decisions you can make is to dive headlong into a relationship in early recovery. It is strongly advised that you remain self-focused until you are well into recovery. Once you are fully settled into your new life, you can consider sharing it with someone else.
Why you Should Stay Away from Relationships in Early Sobriety
In early recovery, living life sober can be an unfamiliar experience, and it comes with a rollercoaster of emotions that can be difficult to control. You are just starting to establish a strong base in sobriety, and you have a lot to learn. In the absence of alcohol or drugs, you are vulnerable until you acquire new, healthy habits and coping techniques.
Relationships in recovery (and generally) can be lovely and fun. Unfortunately, they make you vulnerable to heartbreak and pain. In early sobriety, that vulnerability is intensified, meaning any pain you feel from a relationship can be more difficult to handle than if you were not already making major changes in your life. You will be faced with more complex and strong emotions; which you already have enough of in early sobriety. The last thing you want to do is add relationship stress to that mix.
Another reason why you should avoid relationships in the first year is so you can understand yourself better before you select a partner. Individuals in early sobriety who dive into relationships tend to make terrible decisions. The truth is, many times recoverees try to substitute romance for alcohol or drugs- replacing one ‘addiction’ with another. Until you have shown a strong recovery, you will be vulnerable in your new relationship. Move too soon and you’ll be threatening your own sobriety.
Relationships in Sobriety and Relapse
If you are serious about your recovery, you wouldn’t put yourself in danger of a relapse, which is why it’s advisable to wait some time before getting involved romantically. By putting all that time, focus and attention into someone else, you are likely to forget your priorities; a danger during early sobriety. During this time, your focus should be solely on yourself and your recovery. It requires all of your commitment to build a healthy lifestyle and grow your self-confidence.
Finding Romance in Recovery
People in sobriety can find romantic relationships a big challenge. In the first place, alcohol (or drugs) may have been used to gain confidence to meet new people, and now they are sober, they struggle with shyness. Avoid meeting potential partners in bars because you might be enabled into using again.
When you are strong enough and well into your recovery, you can start with acquaintances at the gym, classes and other more positively influencing places. In order to be happy in your relationships, you must first be happy with yourself.