When I was in early recovery, everything seemed brand new. With my drinking behind me, I was rediscovering all sorts of things and beginning to rebuild my life. My self-esteem on the rise, I was anxious to repair existing relationships and begin new ones. However, I was also concerned as to whether or not I was strong enough continue my recovery while trying to get to know and relate to another person.
My sponsor brought me back down to earth pretty quickly. She explained that while romantic relationships can be a great source of happiness in sobriety, they can also be the most painful. She reminded me that I was already on an emotional roller coaster during these first few months of sobriety, and my priority had to be working on staying sober. I realized that the last thing I wanted to do was to add more stress into the mix, even the positive stress of a budding romance.
Why I Chose to Wait
There are several reasons why I decided to wait until I had at least a year of sobriety before I embark on a new relationship:
- My Inner Self was Not Ready – Saying my life was a bit of a mess is an understatement. I was emotionally spent, physically exhausted, spiritually empty, and suffering from a bad case of brain fog. That didn’t leave me with anything to give to another person. I was simply not strong enough in my recovery, and stress of a new relationship could threaten my growth and even my sobriety.
- I Didn’t Really Know Myself – How could I possibly know who I was even compatible with if I didn’t know who I really was? I was just beginning to get to know my true self and what I wanted without drinking, and I realized that I needed more time to rediscover who I really am. In addition to learning who I was, I was also working on loving myself. I could not very well love another person if I didn’t love myself.
- I Needed More Time to Heal – While beginning my recovery meant that I had to sever negative relationships, I still had some important relationships I needed to rebuild. My parents, my siblings, and my children all deserved my time and attention, because they, too, had to heal and learn how to trust me again. Their healing was also my healing, because as I stopped disappointing them, I was learning how to feel good about myself.
Romantic Relationships with Someone in Recovery
When I am ready for a relationship, I am going to steer clear of other people who are also in recovery. One of my biggest concerns is if one of us relapses, it might encourage the other one to do the same. For my part, I couldn’t possibly imagine staying in the relationship if my partner relapsed. It would simply be way too much stress to deal with. The other issue that concerns me is how much baggage we would both likely bring into the relationship. We could be doomed from the start.
The expression, “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else,” is especially true for those of us in recovery. It is very important to be in that place where you are happy and secure with who you are before embarking on a new romance. Taking the time to focus on your recovery is so very important. The better you know and feel good about yourself, the greater the chance of success in a new relationship.
The Anaheim Lighthouse is a modern and effective addiction treatment center in Southern California. To talk to us about treatment options at our affordable drug and alcohol rehab that fit your needs, call (844) 494-4939.