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Having Relationships in Recovery

Having Relationships in Recovery

Throughout recovery, one will receive many kinds of advice. One in particular that is frequently given is “don’t get into romantic relationships while in recovery.” Most advice givers say to wait at least a year until starting a new relationship, but often the reasons behind the advice aren’t given.

So why, then, should you stay away from relationships while in recovery? There are a myriad of specific reasons, though they all follow the same single line of reasoning – your recovery should be about you, not wrapped up in somebody else.

With that in mind, let’s look at four convincing reasons that you shouldn’t get into a relationship while in recovery.

Having Relationships in Recovery

Overcomplicating an Already Complicated Process

Recovery is already an incredibly difficult and stressful time for any individual. While it’s incredibly important to have a solid group of people that love you and you trust to keep you sober, a personal, romantic relationship just complicates things to a point that can be overwhelming.

Romantic relationships can shift one’s focus away from recovery and to the other person. While minor distractions are nice, if one is prone to forget about their own self care they might find themselves in a position where they are not in a healthy environment at all. This can cause one to be unstable and risk finding comfort in something that used to be a staple in their life (their addiction).

Once one has been given a chance to build back good habits and for those habits to become second nature, the person might be ready to add more into their life again. Before that, they should be expending extra energy to simplify their life, not complicate it and conflate new behaviors.

Not Every Relationship is Easy

Relationships are work. No matter how easy it might seem in the beginning, they always end up being some amount of work, and if they don’t, they then quickly become a large source of stress. Not only can this be rather distracting, but the added work and stress can cause some people in recovery to relapse and find new triggers that they might not have even known were there previously.

Even if one is incredibly careful, and thinks that they’ve found a support in their new relationship, they will find that it will be a source of stress and work with time.

While the person that is in recovery might be able to use many of the tools given to them at rehab or wherever they learned them to avoid drinking in the times of stress, there is no reason to add that extra stress into their lives. Without it, they can simply learn to live life with all the stressors and triggers that already exist in the world.

Again, with time, the recovering individual will be ready to try a relationship again. Once they have conceivably mastered the most mundane struggles that arise in their everyday lives, they might then be ready to add the additional struggle that a relationship can be.

Relying on the Wrong Person

Romance and addictive behaviors are actually intrinsically linked. Studies have shown that the same thing that happens in the brain when one is addicted is actually very similar to what happens when one is in a romantic relationship and feeling romantic feelings.

Again, this might be very nice in the beginning. One would quickly learn to find a new dependence on their significant other for the hit of brain chemicals that usually comes when partaking in their substance of choice. Along with so many other issues that this can obviously cause, the number one problem is not learning to cope with the dearth of dopamine (or serotonin) that one will naturally experience when going through recovery.

This will lead to a dependence on the person and a dependence on the feelings that they usually get from that person. As mentioned above, when rough times strike or a number of other bad things happen and that usual stream of dopamine stops, one will be inclined to look for it again, perhaps in their old vice.

Once one has learned to live with the lack of substance and romantic feelings, then they can slowly introduce them again into their lives. Going from one substance to another will not help recovery, but only prevent it.

Self-Growth Over All

Recovery is about learning to live with yourself, learning what you love to do, learning what makes your own personal life worth living. Finding out what that means to you personally can be a little confusing if you are spending time simultaneously pursuing a relationship. The two often are mutually exclusive, and as such should be pursued in isolation.

Once one has found these things for themself, they can consider what it’s like to be in a relationship for better reasons. Who is the kind of person that they want to be with and what kind of person will be there for them to help them pursue their goals.

Additionally, one who has struggled with addiction has previously struggled with putting everything and everyone second to their addiction. This is a lifestyle that does not easily allow for additional people to invade it. Even without one’s addiction, without full recovery, they may still be prone to picking themselves over anyone else, and could be in for a rather difficult relationship. With these difficulties come stress and with the stress comes a desire to relieve it.

These reasons and more are all things that one should at least consider before jumping into a relationship. If they are still prone to any of these, they may fail at their rehabilitation. Taking a relationship seriously is one thing, and if someone isn’t concerned about that and wants to try anyway, they should at least recognize the risk that they put themselves at when engaging in an early romantic relationship.

In every case, if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, reach out for help at ecosoberhouse.com. There are tools at your disposal that you can use to get the help that you or a loved one needs. Nobody is too far gone, and while recovery is a lifelong process, there is still hope for one to enjoy the happiest parts of life in a healthy, safe, and working manner.

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