If you’re new to recovery, you’ve probably hear a lot of sayings by now. “Fake it Till You Make It”, “Easy Does It” and “Just for Today” are a few you’ll hear regularly. These sayings have been passed down from other people on the same path as you because they’re easy to remember and they work, when you know how to apply them. These are all suggestions to help you on your way. Another suggestion you might hear, but doesn’t have a rhyming word, is to stay out of relationships when you’re new to recovery. Dating is something it’s recommended to avoid while you’re new in recovery, and while it may seem like an arbitrary suggestion, there are a few specific reasons to abide by this suggestion. Give yourself a chance. This recommendation is only for the first year, anyway.
Why should you avoid dating when you’re new? It’s not because you’re not a good person or incapable completely of having relationships. In fact, it can be quite appealing to meet somebody of your preferred gender who has the same goals that you do. But here are a few reasons to hold off:
- A new relationship can be distracting. Staying clean and sober require focus and a rigorous commitment to yourself, not somebody else. Adding a new person to your life is usually exciting at first, but every relationship requires work. You need to work on your relationship on yourself before all else.
- What will you do if your new partner decides to use? If you meet somebody else who is new in treatment, there’s a good chance that if they decide to get high, you’ll follow suit. New relationships are especially difficult if you are both new to recovery as well. You’re just now learning new coping skills, but if one of you uses, you’ll often be tempted to do such a thing as a couple.
- You might start moving backwards. Romantic relationships can bring out the best as well as the worst of us. When you don’t know how to cope with new problems, it can be a trigger. Many people in recovery find themselves trying to fix other peoples problems or trying to fix them. You can’t fix anyone else, just yourself, but you can slip into old behavior patterns when a new relationship pushes your buttons.
Dating is hard for everybody, but when you’re new to recovery, you’re especially vulnerable to new triggers. Relationships also have the possibility to open up old wounds. We all have “baggage” that comes with us to a new relationship, but coping with that baggage is part of our own healing. When you’ve been sober a while, you’ll know how to keep the focus on yourself and find new coping techniques if you’re having a difficult time.
You have plenty of time to enter into new relationships once you’ve been sober for a while. Give yourself a chance to learn more about yourself, heal some of your own wounds, and learn to build stronger friendships with others.
Are you addicted to a substance or behavior and know you want to find a better way? At Orange County Recovery, we can help you regain control of your life and learn to live drug and alcohol-free. Learn more about how we can help you get your life back. Give us a confidential call at 1-866-227-1437.