Life is finally going in a good direction after drug rehab. You’ve been through a lot, and you have so much in common with your new boyfriend. You’re falling head over heels and can hardly think of much else. Sounds like good news, right? Wrong, if you are serious about your drug addiction recovery. Unfortunately, starting a romance when you are newly sober could be a costly mistake.
Romance Is A New Obsession
When you start a new romantic relationship, you can really get swept off your feet. If you are living a solid healthy life, you can handle the ups and downs of a new relationship. But if you are just getting things together as a newly recovering drug addict, a romance can be way too distracting. The problem? Romance is all about feelings, which is a real weak area for anyone who’s just finished drug rehab and started a sober life.
Alcoholics Anonymous has a specific guideline about getting into a relationship during recovery. They strongly encourage a person to wait until they have been sober for at least a year before they start dating. For some, this may seem strict, even beyond the bounds of a self-help group. However, a person just beginning their recovery needs to put 100% of their focus into activities that build their lives up and keep their sobriety on track.
Relationships and Drug Addiction Don’t Go Together Well
People who object to this limit have a big misconception about relationships. They tend to feel it’s their right to have a relationship if they want, and that they really can’t help it if they fall in love. Here’s the truth about relationships and recovery – good stable relationships only develop when healthy people choose each other.
Good stable relationships are for people who have a good life and are ready to give of themselves to another person. Chaotic unhealthy relationships develop when a person starts dating to fill a hole in their life, to make themselves feel complete, or to not be lonely. That’s coming from a place of need, not a place of giving and health.
Drug Treatment Builds Personal Stability
Drug treatment helps an addict rebuild their personal foundation. When a person has had a good stable first year of recovery, they can probably handle some emotional ups and downs without throwing off their recovery. They have also probably built enough of a good life that they may be ready to give of themselves without needing to be in a relationship.
As tempting as it may be, a person new to drug addiction recovery may hurt themselves by getting right back to the dating scene. Drug treatment makes a person take a good look at their relationships, both the good ones and the bad ones. The longer a person stays sober and healthy, the better chance they have of starting a romantic relationship for the right reasons.