Relationships, Romance, and Recovery: What You Need to Know
One of the most basic and innate needs of a human being is relationships. Biologically, humans yearn for closeness and are programmed for connection.
This is also true for people in recovery. It’s normal to want to get close to another person. But jumping into a new relationship or just playing the field while in early recovery may set you up for relapse. Relationships are not easy under the best of circumstances, but especially so during early recovery since you may be battling cravings and experiencing a myriad of emotions that have been buried under an addiction.
So how do you know when it’s time to venture back into the dating world?
First of all, you need to build a healthy relationship with yourself
Recovery from addiction is about growth, love, reflection, and self-discovery. An important aspect of this journey is getting to know yourself in recovery. You need to build a strong foundation of self-acceptance, and self-trust in order to understand who you are and how to maintain a healthy, happy, sober lifestyle for yourself and expand that to a supportive network of recovery friends.
Learn how to respond, not react to emotional states of mind
One thing that most people in recovery struggle with is the negative beliefs and emotional turmoil they have been living with for most of their lives. It’s why many people abuse drugs or alcohol. They tried to hide from and avoid dealing with their feelings. Learning how to manage beliefs, thinking, emotions and urges is what early recovery is for. Mismanaged thinking and behavior does not go away overnight just because a person is not using. Entering into intimate relationships too soon can trigger a whole host of feelings you may not be ready for. This is why a general rule of thumb is to refrain from intimate relationships during the first year of recovery.
After committing to a path of recovery, many people find it very helpful to get some counseling before they enter into a new relationship. Counseling can help you work through what happened in previous relationships and especially how family of origin issues may have impacted your ability to sustain them.
Signs You Should Run
Neediness: Someone who acts as if you are the light of their life, and wants to show you how much you mean to them every minute of the day. This may develop into a codependent relationship where someone will do anything to appease you, including enabling unhealthy behaviors. Learn more about codependency here.
Jealousy: This is the person who is suspicious of every phone call or text message you receive. This person’s jealousy can stop you from connecting with other positive people in your life, damaging your ability to make progress in recovery.
Volatility: Avoid people who are always at odds with people and are always yelling at service personnel or throwing angry tirades in traffic. Finally, avoid moving too quickly into a new relationship. Although you have heard it over a million times, taking the time to know yourself and understand your feeling cannot be overemphasized.
Finally, are you ready?
Whenever you decide to open yourself up to a relationship, make the commitment to be open and honest no matter what. Don’t hold back. You’ll be amazed at what there is to learn about yourself in relationship with another person. Find other couples in recovery whose relationships you admire and ask them how they do it. Explore Recovery Couples Anonymous groups. The only requirement for membership there is the desire to remain committed to each other and to develop new intimacy.
Help for Couples With Chronic Pain
No relationship is simple, and even the most basic relationship requires mutual commitment and work. Adding chronic pain into the mix can make it that much more complex. Learn more about maintaining healthy relationships in chronic pain management here.
If you or a loved one is suffering with chronic pain, accompanied with addictive behaviors and psychological conditions, help is here. Do not hesitate to call our compassionate staff for any assistance and direction you may need. You can reach us at 844-388-4100, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org