The Early Stages of Recovery: When is it OK to Start a Relationship?

Start a Relationship in Recovery - Freedom From Addiction

Many recovering addicts attend 12-step meetings, and they may hear many people with some years of sobriety under their belt stating that you shouldn't get into a relationship during your first year of recovery and sobriety. Newly recovering addicts may disagree with this, and they may even notice that it doesn't say anything about this in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous' Basic Text. The reason addicts in recovery say that this is a good idea is because they've learned from experience, so it's been adopted as a common rule of thumb.

Why do People Want Relationships in the Early Stages of Recovery?

When you've gone through drug and alcohol treatment, you've learned a lot about yourself. You've learned that addiction is only a symptom of the disease, and there are a lot of other issues you must deal with in order to fully recover. One of the main reasons addicts use is that they're trying to fill some type of void within themselves. When alcohol and drugs are no longer an option, it's easy to turn to a relationship to fill that void. The problem is that relationships can get very serious, and they can easily cause a person to relapse if problems arise.

You Can't Have a Healthy Relationship Until You're Healthy

Those who are married or have children with their partner are in a little bit of a different situation, so this is mainly focused toward those who are single. Those who were in a serious relationship prior to rehab can learn from this as well. Relationships are difficult to navigate sometimes, and they require both people to be loving, caring, and selfless. The problem with most addicts is that addiction has made them become selfish and self-centered. There are also those who are the complete opposite, so they're co-dependent. Either of these extremes can be bad for relationships in recovery because they can cause problems. Co-dependent people may get involved in a toxic relationship because they feel the need to save the other person, while selfish, self-centered people may not be emotionally available enough to participate in the relationship in a healthy way. The main reason that people say relationships in recovery are a bad idea the first year is simple: you should try your best not to make any major life changes within the first year. The brain has been severely altered as a result of long-term drug addiction, and it's difficult enough to manage cravings and avoid triggers. Those who do get into a bad relationship should always set realistic expectations to avoid relapse should a breakup happen. If they do relapse, there's always help available to begin a new life of sobriety and learn from old mistakes. Freedom From Addiction can help you with your rehab options.

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