Romantic Relationships in Recovery – Why You Should Avoid Them in Early Recovery

When you’re new to recovery, an important piece of advice to follow is sticking with members of your own sex. In AA and other fellowships, your sponsor should be someone the same gender as you. Most people advise that you avoid romantic relationships for at least one year after you become sober. Relationships in recovery can succeed, but experience shows that jumping into a relationship too soon is a common precursor to relapse.

relationships while getting sober

Relationships in Recovery and Vulnerability

The main reason why you should at first avoid relationships in recovery can be summed up in one word: vulnerability. In early recovery, living a sober life is brand new to you, and it brings a rollercoaster of emotions that are difficult to handle. You’re just beginning to build a solid foundation in sobriety, and you have a lot to learn. Without drugs or alcohol, you’re very vulnerable until you develop new, healthy habits and coping mechanisms.

While relationships in recovery (and in general) can be beautiful and fun, they can also bring heartbreak and pain. When you’re in early recovery, your vulnerability means that any pain you experience from a relationship can hit you much harder. You’ll be challenged to deal with complicated, strong emotions, and you already have enough of that in early recovery without being in a relationship. Move too quickly, and you’ll be threatening your own recovery.

Relationships in Recovery and Relapse

If you’re serious about your sobriety, you don’t want to do anything that could make it harder on yourself than it already is, which is why it’s recommended to wait so long before considering a romantic relationship. A relationship also puts you in greater danger of relapse because it causes you to put focus, time, and attention on another person. In early recovery, your focus should be entirely on yourself and your sobriety. It requires all of your dedication to build a healthy lifestyle and to build up your self-confidence.

How to Deal with Relationships in Recovery

Anyone who has your best interests at heart will want you to focus on your recovery and won’t pressure you to start a relationship before you’re ready. If you are already in a relationship at the time you get sober, things can be a little trickier. You need to determine if that relationship is worth saving, and if it is, you and your partner need to move slowly and work on repairing yourselves before you try to repair the relationship. Your partner may have their own issues to deal with, such as codependency. Any loving and supportive partner will not make you feel guilty for taking time to strengthen your recovery.

No matter what, remember this: If you’re not satisfied with yourself and your life, then you’re not ready to share your life with another person in a romantic way.

Addiction Help 866-317-7050

Like what we're doing? Help spread the message by sharing this content!

Copy and paste the following into your HTML: <a href="http://www.sobernation.com/romantic-relationships-recovery-avoid-early-recovery/" title="Romantic Relationships in Recovery – Why You Should Avoid Them in Early Recovery">Romantic Relationships in Recovery – Why You Should Avoid Them in Early Recovery on Sober Nation </a>

Comments

  1. Matt D. says

    I was in a relationship when I stopped drinking, albeit an extremely unhealthy one, I was feeding mine and enabling hers, so I ended it about two weeks in, especially after she left a 26 of rum in the house and took off with her friends for a week, I buried it in the closet and took the dog on very long walks and went to several meetings a day, it felt like she realised after my first meeting that me quitting would ruin her fun and she tried to sabotage it. Anyhoo, I found a couple of months into sobriety exes were coming out of the woodwork, some with longer history than other, my sponsor pretty much told me that even though they are aware of what our drinking is like they still expect the same person they originally fell for… drinking and all, and that like the relationship I ended because I wanted to stay sober, the exes would be the same way to some extent. Immediately upon drying out I took on a very intense yoga practice, meditation regimen, insanely healthy diet and body boarding, I did probably 120 meetings in 90 days, found a sponsor, lived almost a monastic lifestyle, worked, ate, worked out, yoga, read, meditated, went to meetings and hit the waves. about 6 months in I had started talking to this woman from another city, she was a divorcee with two kids and a lot of wounding from her marriage, she texted me one night and came over to my place, I slept on the couch and gave her my bed (no biggie I have always been a couch sleeper anyway)we got to be incredibly close, there was a sexual aspect to our relationship, but it was a small part of it, we were exclusive. We meditated together, we went to yoga classes together, we comforted each other, she (a non-addict) took me to meetings when I was having a rough go, she was working through the wreckage that had been thrown at her and I was dealing with the wreckage I had caused. The relationship lasted about 2 years, when distance became an issue, seperate life tragectory became an issue however her and I have both moved on and are both very happy with where we are at, I have been sober for about 3 1/2 years, and still do all the things I did in the beginning and now have a wonderful little blended family, I still struggle with the level of stability I am surrounded by but I’m learning. and The person I spoke of, after we split up she began seeing someone she knew from college and theuy just got married over the summer and both of us are way happier people and better adjusted than we were when we met, I believe her and I helped mend each others seperate afflictions, not to say cured, but I feel pretty happy in my sobriety and feel blessed when I come across other people within my social circles that come to me when they want to stop, I take them to a meeting. Although I completely agree that relationships early on can be destructive when in early recovery I believe that the healing ones are a possibility also, however when we are on the pink cloud its hard to discern and the right relationship can be really good, but if they go bad they go REALLY bad and all in all the risk isn’t worth it from a clinical perspective, also what helped here and I was we both had a lot of exposure to eastern teachings regarding impermanace and non-attachment, so we were both okay to be where we were at the time, with no expectation. something that is rare, as I don’t have that in my current relationship,

  2. Matt D. says

    I was in a relationship when I stopped drinking, albeit an extremely unhealthy one, I was feeding mine and enabling hers, so I ended it about two weeks in, especially after she left a 26 of rum in the house and took off with her friends for a week, I buried it in the closet and took the dog on very long walks and went to several meetings a day, it felt like she realised after my first meeting that me quitting would ruin her fun and she tried to sabotage it. Anyhoo, I found a couple of months into sobriety exes were coming out of the woodwork, some with longer history than other, my sponsor pretty much told me that even though they are aware of what our drinking is like they still expect the same person they originally fell for… drinking and all, and that like the relationship I ended because I wanted to stay sober, the exes would be the same way to some extent. Immediately upon drying out I took on a very intense yoga practice, meditation regimen, insanely healthy diet and body boarding, I did probably 120 meetings in 90 days, found a sponsor, lived almost a monastic lifestyle, worked, ate, worked out, yoga, read, meditated, went to meetings and hit the waves. about 6 months in I had started talking to this woman from another city, she was a divorcee with two kids and a lot of wounding from her marriage, she texted me one night and came over to my place, I slept on the couch and gave her my bed (no biggie I have always been a couch sleeper anyway)we got to be incredibly close, there was a sexual aspect to our relationship, but it was a small part of it, we were exclusive. We meditated together, we went to yoga classes together, we comforted each other, she (a non-addict) took me to meetings when I was having a rough go, she was working through the wreckage that had been thrown at her and I was dealing with the wreckage I had caused. The relationship lasted about 2 years, when distance became an issue, seperate life tragectory became an issue however her and I have both moved on and are both very happy with where we are at, I have been sober for about 3 1/2 years, and still do all the things I did in the beginning and now have a wonderful little blended family, I still struggle with the level of stability I am surrounded by but I’m learning. and The person I spoke of, after we split up she began seeing someone she knew from college and theuy just got married over the summer and both of us are way happier people and better adjusted than we were when we met, I believe her and I helped mend each others seperate afflictions, not to say cured, but I feel pretty happy in my sobriety and feel blessed when I come across other people within my social circles that come to me when they want to stop, I take them to a meeting. Although I completely agree that relationships early on can be destructive when in early recovery I believe that the healing ones are a possibility also, however when we are on the pink cloud its hard to discern and the right relationship can be really good, but if they go bad they go REALLY bad and all in all the risk isn’t worth it from a clinical perspective, also what helped here and I was we both had a lot of exposure to eastern teachings regarding impermanace and non-attachment, so we were both okay to be where we were at the time, with no expectation. something that is rare, as I don’t have that in my current relationship,

  3. Frann W. says

    While I think that as a general guideline this article gives good advice, I have to share my own experience. My partner and I have been together for fourteen years. We met when I was three days sober and have been together since I was two months sober. She is also in recovery and was struggling to stay clean when we first met, having relapsed after 13 years of sobriety. Our marriage today is strong because we have endured the ups and downs inherent in any loving and committed relationship. Glad we didn’t follow the rules …

  4. Frann W. says

    While I think that as a general guideline this article gives good advice, I have to share my own experience. My partner and I have been together for fourteen years. We met when I was three days sober and have been together since I was two months sober. She is also in recovery and was struggling to stay clean when we first met, having relapsed after 13 years of sobriety. Our marriage today is strong because we have endured the ups and downs inherent in any loving and committed relationship. Glad we didn’t follow the rules …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>