Dating While in Recovery
When you’re in a recovery program for addiction, you should be focusing on yourself and ways you can live a sober life. A lot of time and energy goes into the recovery process which is why dating while in recovery is not always recommended.
How Dating May Hinder Recovery
While some may look at dating as no big deal, it can bring its own set of challenges and obstacles that may hinder recovery. This is not to say that a partner may not offer much-needed support, but if things start heading south, so could your recovery.
Since your focus is on getting and staying sober, much of your time may be dedicated to meetings and therapy sessions. This lack of time to spend with a significant other could compromise a relationship. Not everyone will understand why you can’t make it to dinner or why you may need to cancel at the last minute because you desperately need to go to a meeting.
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If you’re a recovering alcoholic and are having struggles with remaining sober, your date should respectfully abstain from drinking while you’re out together. If he or she doesn’t, this could pose an unwanted temptation that may be difficult to resist. This may be a red flag to end this relationship. You will also want to avoid people from your past who were linked to your addiction. This can be a major roadblock to your recovery.
Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, it may lead you to relapse because you’re heartbroken. Heartbreak can lead to many unhealthy behaviors with drinking and drug use being at the top of the list for those in recovery.
There are many people who will substitute their substance addiction for an addiction to a relationship. This can also be dangerous and hinder a person’s recovery. An addictive relationship while dating is not healthy for anyone, especially someone who is in recovery.
How to Handle Dating While in Recovery
Although it can be tricky, there are many people who do date successfully while in recovery. If the relationship is new and began while you’re in recovery, there are some things you can do to make it healthier for you.
Be honest about your addiction and your past and current struggles. Honesty is a big component of any relationship. Be upfront about your addiction and recovery. Some people can’t handle this, so it’s better to know sooner rather than later.
Don’t compromise your recovery time for date time. Anyone you’re dating should understand the importance of therapy and other activities you need to make your recovery last. They shouldn’t encourage you to skip those activities for a date. They should understand that your sobriety comes first. It’s taken you a long time to get to where you are and the journey isn’t over yet.
Take Your Time
Don’t rush into anything. You shouldn’t put a relationship in fast forward mode while in recovery. Take it slow. You have a lot on your plate and don’t need a high-stress, high-maintenance relationship to cloud your goals. Anyone worth being with will be understanding and won’t force you to take your relationship any faster than you feel comfortable. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, much like your recovery.
It’s OK To Be “High Maintenance”
Choose date locations that support your recovery. While some people may look at that as being high maintenance, it’s not high maintenance to choose a location that will support your recovery. While a quiet dinner may be a great choice for a date, a bar or nightclub is not. Either one of those may lead to the temptation to drink or do other activities that don’t support your recovery. Another good date choice may be a movie or physical activity like a hike or run. Choosing the right location can make all the difference in your recovery. If your partner can’t understand this, then perhaps it’s time to move on.
Be Prepared for ALL of the Emotions
Channel emotions into positive activities if heartbreak happens. No matter how hard you try to make a relationship work, there are many times when things fail and you end up getting your heart broken. It’s important to channel any negative emotions and sadness that comes out of this into positive activities like exercising, volunteering, and maintaining a healthy diet. You may also want to try journaling to get all of your raw emotions down on paper. The important thing is to find an activity that does not involve revisiting your old patterns. You don’t want to risk your sobriety for a broken relationship.
If you’re dating while in recovery or considering starting a relationship, the folks at Desert Cove Recovery can help to keep you on track. A variety of rehab and recovery programs are offered including 12-step programs, holistic treatment, and extended care programs.
We will help to find the right program for you and give you the support and encouragement you need in all aspects of your recovery, including dating while in recovery. Contact us today to get started on the path to a sober life.