Should I Seek A Relationship While In Recovery?

Being in a relationship is already complicated on its own, but if you factor in someone having an addiction, this only complicates things even more.

How Your Relationship Could Impact Your Recovery

An active addiction will destroy a relationship almost every time, but it is possible to have a healthy, loving relationship with a recovering addict. Addiction will impact every area of your life, especially relationships. It destroys trust, intimacy, stability, and communication. If you have to date again, and you’re in recovery, do not stop your recovery. Don’t push it to the side or place it on the back burner. I highly recommend that you be cautious, honest with yourself, and careful not to forget that you’re in recovery. There should be a balance between your recovery and your love life.

Experts recommend that you wait at least a year before addicts start a new relationship, and I think that’s very good advice. You may feel like a year is a long time, and it is to some people, but relationships can sometimes be a distraction from a successful recovery. We don’t want you to become distracted, especially when you have worked so hard, and you’ve been doing well in your recovery.

During the first year, you need the focus on nothing but getting better, finding yourself again, and getting your life back on track. Relationships, sometimes fail and if you find yourself in a relationship where you’re arguing, you’re being confronted with infidelity, or you’re deciding to go your separate ways, this can trigger a relapse, and we don’t want that to happen. If this happens, feelings of abandonment, depression, and unworthiness can cause pain for the person in recovery and possibly even lead to a relapse.

Guidelines For Dating

I would urge you to spend at least the first year working on yourself, concentrating on your recovery, then if you do decide to date, take some time. Get to know the person before diving into a full-blown relationship, and let me make this one point clear. Do not date someone only for sex. That’s a recipe for disaster. Do not make the relationship the main focus of your life because your recovery should be the main focus.

I’m going to give you some advice. You should date someone who does not have any substance abuse issues. If they have had any past issues with mind-altering substances, I will suggest not getting involved with that person.

Secondly, date someone supportive of your recovery. Date someone who desires a long-term relationship. Date someone you are comfortable introducing to your family and friends, someone who shares your interests and your values. Be honest, right up front with them as soon as you meet them. Let them know you are in recovery, and your recovery is a top priority. Let me tell you something, if that is the right person for you, they will understand.

Be Honest With Yourself

Ask yourself if you’re using the relationship as a crutch or distraction. Ask yourself some questions. Do I like this person? Is this person supportive? Do you find them to be honest? Are they dependable? Are they respectful of your recovery process? Do you find yourself making compromises that don’t feel good? Do you find yourself doing things to please them? You must ask these questions because you are serious about your recovery. While in recovery, you’re taking on a new lease in life, and you’re probably somewhere where you have a very good support system.

Don’t Keep Your Relationship a Secret

Make sure you share your new relationship with your sponsor, your counselor, your friends in recovery, your therapists. Don’t keep it a secret. If you feel like you need to keep this relationship a secret, that is a sign, it may not be suitable for you at this particular time in your life.

Secrets and lies are associated with your past. Now you’re trying to leave all traces of the past behind. You should be able to have an open discussion about your new relationship and any issues that you may encounter. You may be concerned that others may not approve of your newfound relationship, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice or share with your team of supporters. They’re there to help you. Remember, this is all about you having a successful recovery and your relationship; it’s not a good time for you.

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