23 April 2021

The Perils of Dating in the Early Stages of Sobriety

Getting into recovery after a period of active addiction may make you feel invincible. If you can jump this hurdle, then you can do anything and you’re ready for it all right now. Early recovery is still a relatively unstable time that can be lightened by a new romance, or ruined by the pain of an ending romance. For this and other reasons, romantic relationships are not advisable >during early recovery. First, you must establish and get comfortable in your new life before sharing it with another person and weathering the ups and downs that come with it.

Drug and alcohol addiction have acted as distractions from the real problems, and now you’re faced with them and the additional work of recovery. Given these old habits, you may subconsciously be looking for a new distraction in the form of a romantic partner. However, it is highly recommended that people in their first year of recovery should avoid starting any new romantic relationships. Your main priority and all of your focus should be committed to your personal health and recovery.

Starting a relationship with someone who is also in recovery can be particularly problematic. Two people in early recovery are both unequipped to maintain a healthy relationship and could simply be rocking the boat for each other in the long-term. There is also the risk of relapse. If one partner relapses, the other may follow or be stuck carrying addition and recovery baggage for another person before they have really gotten a grasp on their own.

It may be difficult to avoid romantic desires during this period because the anesthesia of drug and alcohol abuse is wearing off and sex drive is returning. Rehab and AA meetings also foster an environment of deep connections, or revealing your darkest moment and deepest fears that are met with love and care from others that understand your pain. These connections may seem like a pathway to romance, but instead they should be appreciated for what they are: warm feelings and attention from people that have had similar experiences and understand your struggle. This will help you properly use this time to build your life back up to where you can have a happy, healthy, and lasting romantic relationship.