Marriages break up, families split – or worse, they stay together, living side-by-side without really connecting with each other. Repairing relationships while recovering from substance use disorder can be challenging. It may take time, but you can recover from SUD and the relationship issues that stem from it. If you’re recovering from substance use disorder or you love someone who is, you know just how challenging it can be to heal the harm that may have occurred. This can be especially true when it comes to repairing relationships. As stated above, having the space to focus on self-discovery and forming a relationship with a new sober-self is essential for recovery.
Like developing a healthy relationship with others, becoming your own best friend is a process that takes time and dedication. As you work the 12 Steps of recovery, you will undergo a transformational process that will teach you how to accept yourself – flaws and all. For many of us, this sense of mistrust is carried into our adult lives and makes intimacy difficult or impossible. People who cannot trust are not willing, or are too scared, to take even the small risks involved in moving towards friendship and intimacy. Many of us with trust problems develop relationships which resemble intimate ones, but actually remain mostly at the acquaintance layer.
Co-Dependency and Family Relationships
It used to be common to tell families to back off and cut their struggling child out of their lives. If they continue to try forming a relationship or supporting their kid, they may be labeled as an “enabler” and told they are doing more harm than good. Families were once told to let their children hit “rock bottom” and only then will they be ready to change.
Once the addict/alcoholic becomes sober, he realizes how lucky he is that his partner hasn’t left him, and he is often reluctant to do anything that might change the relationship. He tends to be overly sensitive and is easily upset by anything different or unexpected. Most people who are addicts do not think of themselves as having problems, unless they have the courage to become a member of AA or NA. If you secretly wonder if you have a problem with an addiction, test yourself by giving it up for a year. If your substance was wiped off the face of the planet, you should be able to cope. If you wince when you imagine giving up your addiction and start playing “yes, but,” you have a problem. If you need further help or support during the relationship recovery process, consider speaking with an individual, family, or couples therapist.
Tips for Surviving the First Year of Recovery
Many of us equate intimacy with sex in the belief that an intimate relationship is, necessarily, a sexual one. The promiscuity and “sexual freedom” of recent years was caused partly by this false belief. Searching for the closeness of an intimate relationship, many people try to make it happen by having sex, before building a close relationship with the partner. This approach never works because it only creates the illusion of intimacy which soon fades, leaving the partners feeling frustrated and deprived. You may have spent months or years as an addict, and that old version of you is nowhere close to the sober version. In fairness, how can you know you are attracting the right partner if you don’t even know who you are as an individual.
On another note, even if you ignore the advice of waiting a year for relationships in recovery, the romance might not go as planned. There are fights, arguments, and breakups, all of which are emotional and difficult to maneuver for even the strongest people out there. In early recovery, you are not at your strongest, as much as you think you might be. Once you complete treatment, many people make the mistake of leaving the supportive environment of treatment behind cold turkey and jumping right back into regular life. It is essential to slowly wean off of your treatment so that you still have professional support around you.
Dating In Early Recovery
If we do start a relationship with another, it is important to still keep this as the number one goal and focus. Our partner must also understand that they are not going to be number one right now.
Located in Boise, Idaho, Northpoint Recovery is proud to offer quality drug and alcohol detox as well as alcohol and drug rehab in the Treasure Valley. Finally, Smith suggests, communicate with those in your recovery network. Talk to your sponsor and your support system, about the relationship itself and the issues that will inevitably arise when you embark on relationships in recovery a new emotional adventure. It’s important to rely on those you trust to help you see what you can’t, provide a sounding board for problems and call you out when you can’t see how you may be in the wrong. You wouldn’t blame a loved one if they got any other chronic, relapsing illness. Addiction is a disease that affects the way a person thinks and reasons.
Step Support Groups And Healthy Relationships
This is a time when inner reflection, personal evaluation and the gaining of new insights, skills and behaviors must be prioritized in order to have the best chance for achieving one’s sobriety goals. Having a healthy relationship where both partners are supporting each other through recovery allows for strong accountability.
- 12-Step support groups lay the foundation for sober individuals to learn how to establish healthy relationships in recovery.
- Many of us who suffer from addiction have low self-esteem or self-worth.
- Don’t mention that your loved one has a particular point of view because they are an addict or in recovery.
- When you have a healthy relationship with yourself, you are more likely to have healthy relationships with other people.
- And since every relationship has problems, there will also be arguments, anger, and jealousy.
Their adult child may still lie and steal from them despite the help that the parents have provided since they’re compelled to feed their addiction. Addiction is an equal-opportunity damager and destroyer of relationships. All of a client’s closest personal relationships have the potential to be affected by substance abuse. It drives a wedge firmly between the people a person has pledged to hold nearest and dearest. Dating while getting your recovery started can find you putting your focus on another person when you’re still not quite ready to take care of yourself properly. Sure, we all enjoy companionship, but the pursuit of a romantic partner should never be more important than one’s own health and self-preservation.
We follow Ewan McGregor’s Renton from the heights of ecstasy to the depths of misery, including a nightmarishly disturbing bathroom scene that represents a portrait of his life during drug dependency. Participate in a 12-step program or other form of recovery support and regularly attend recovery meetings. Rather than putting your energy into dating in early recovery, focus on improving your physical health and emotional well-being to build a solid foundation for continuing recovery. Even harmonious relationships have a level of stress that can distract someone from the work of recovery. New relationships bring with them a sense of uncertainty at the beginning that can cause stress, too. These stressors in any relationship have to be managed, and a person early in recovery may not yet have the tools to manage them. Harmony Foundation has long recognized the importance of family involvement in the recovery process.
Should you date while in recovery?
Stable Recovery Is First
However, many experts, as well as 12-step guidelines, recommend not dating for at least one year after becoming sober. The philosophy of this recommendation is understandable. In early recovery, we should focus on ourselves, learn how to cope with stress, and try to minimize emotional triggers.