Addiction recovery is a time of healing and a time for focusing on the self. For this reason, initiating a serious romantic relationship during the first year or so of recovery usually isn’t the best idea. In fact, many addiction recovery experts warn strongly against it. Here is a look at a few of the reasons that you should avoid serious romance during the early stages of your recovery from addiction.

A romantic relationship can distract you from your recovery.

During the those first months of recovery, staying sober should be your number one priority. The early stages of recovery should be spent communicating with members of your support system, honing stress management skills, and engaging in wholesome activities as part of your new, sober lifestyle. Once a relationship enters the picture, it can become a serious distraction, drawing you away from what you should really be focusing on. This is one reason that gender based treatment for addiction is so effective.

Romantic relationships can cause stress.

Stress is one of the top triggers for relapse during recovery, and a romantic relationship can easy become a major source of stress during recovery. Rather than adding another element to the mix that could ultimately push you toward relapse, spend time doing things that will help ease stress levels in your life.

The focus should be on managing existing relationships.

Your friends and family members will need time to heal from your addiction as well. Because addiction so commonly harms a person’s relationships with friends and family members, time during recovery is better spent focused on repairing existing relationships.

You will continue to change as you progress through recovery.

Another important thing to remember is that you are going to continue to change as you progress through your recovery. During the recovery process, most women find that over time, they feel stronger and more self assured. The contrast between where are were when you began recovery and where you are months and years into recovery could be striking.

This can affect your romantic life significantly. Let’s say you start dating someone seriously during the early stages of recovery. It’s a time when you are seeking help and are generally less independent of a person than you otherwise would be. You and your partner are a good fit for the time being, as your partner tends to take on a more dominant role in relationships. But as you grow more self assured and more independent in your recovery, chances are that the relationship dynamic is going to change. This will put stress on the relationship, and chances are your partner will see that you are not the same person you were when you started dating.

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