by Restorations Therapy Center on Monday, February 15th, 2021
Wanting to find love and stability in a chaotic time in your life is normal — you may believe it can help calm things down. However, dating can often lead to many problems, such as breakups, heartbreak, cheating, and potentially toxic relationships. Dating can be especially harmful if you are healing yourself, such as being in the process of recovery from addiction. Dating in early recovery can lead to adverse outcomes that could put your sobriety at risk.
Many people in early recovery are often relearning who they are and who they want to be. When you stop using drugs and alcohol, you must move on from that identity and create a new one in your sobriety. Dating can cause problems during this time. You may find yourself leaning on that person too much and becoming too dependent on them to find an identity. You may begin to build your new identity around the person you are dating, meaning if the relationship ends, you may not know who you are anymore. This can lead to significant problems in your recovery that could potentially end in relapse.
Getting sober can leave a hole in your life that you must learn how to fill with healthy activities and coping mechanisms. Jumping into a relationship too early can cause you to fill that hole with love, causing you to put all of your energy into the relationship. By doing this, you may not focus on your recovery and replace drug or alcohol addiction with love addiction. This can lead to you becoming too reliant or dependent on another person, developing into new addictive behavior. Love addiction can cause toxic relationships and unhealthy dynamics that can jeopardize your recovery over time. Without learning to stand on your own, you will be devastated if the relationship ends and may turn back to drugs or alcohol to cope.
Many individuals who choose to date in early recovery run the risk of feeling good for a little while in the relationship but end up having struggles in the long run. They may be using the relationship as something to fill the void left by the absence of drugs and alcohol, leaving them in a cycle of feeling good for a moment but ultimately being unfulfilled in the long run. This can cause individuals to turn back to old unhealthy habits such as using drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. This is especially true if an individual chooses to date someone from their past life of addiction, which may serve as a trigger and potentially jeopardize their recovery.
While you are working on healing yourself and standing on your own two feet, you most likely aren’t ready to throw another person into the mix and put your emotions on the line. In early recovery, you are incredibly vulnerable and can often be easily manipulated. Perhaps you jump into a relationship quickly and realize that you cannot live up to the other person’s expectations or be emotionally ready for their struggles because you are currently dealing with your own. This can lead to a toxic relationship, causing unnecessary stress in your recovery. To cope with the negativity, you may be craving drugs or alcohol.
In early recovery, you are learning how to live your life without the presence of drugs or alcohol. Recovery can be challenging, and it takes time to heal and learn proper coping mechanisms. It is not fair to yourself, your recovery, or the other person to throw them into your current situation. You cannot be there for them emotionally because you are currently healing, and you cannot expect them to continually be there to pick you up on the bad days in recovery. Learning how to take care of yourself first is necessary to have a happy, healthy relationship with another person. Be patient and look out for yourself first before throwing someone else into the mix.
It is understandable to look for human connection in this time of emotional vulnerability, but dating is not the place to search for it. Many added pressures come with dating that are not needed in early recovery — they can put you at significant risk for relapse. Stay the course, focus on yourself, and remember why you chose to get sober in the first place. There will be time for dating in the future, but for now, it is about you and your healing.
A common trap that many people in early recovery fall into is dating. Many think that they can handle dating while they are beginning to heal from addiction. However, the reality is that most are not ready for such a commitment that can often lead to negative feelings and potential relapse. At Restorations Therapy, we have extensive experience helping people with intimacy problems, addiction, and mental health. Our trained staff utilizes the most progressive therapy techniques to offer the highest quality of care. We provide individual therapy, group therapy, psycho-educational classes, workshops, and more to restore the harm created by intimacy disorders and addictions. We understand that mixing relationships and early recovery is typically not a good idea, and we often recommend against it because of the many potential consequences. If you are struggling in early recovery and are looking for connections through dating, give us a call instead. We can help you get back on your feet. Call Restorations Therapy today at (720) 446-6585. We can help you find what you lack to help you stay on the right course in your recovery journey.