Early Recovery Relationships and Rehab Romances
are a “no no” (and typically broken up) mostly because we are feeling emotions that have subsided with our drug use and now we are longing for what we have been missing. This makes rehab a tempting place for a physical and emotional relationship. Also, because the days of recovery are intense and draining so it is easy to make a connection with another recovering addict, and to interpret that connection as love.
In rehab it is important to “get honest” with yourself and others and it is natural to try to impress someone of the opposite sex which in turn could be harmful in addressing your “ugly truths” of you addiction in group therapies. Rehab romances also may be detrimental to our health. Addicts coming off a “long run” may be in no shape for any type of physical relationship. In our addiction we may have engaged in risky drug practices, risky sexual activity, and many people in rehab have an undiagnosed STD that also needs attention (which is the last thing you want to have to deal with). Our time in rehab is as important as it gets for our recovery and this is no time to be concentrating on anyone but ourselves.
We have all been told (probably not practiced) “no relationships for the first year of your recovery”. Relationships in early recovery are detrimental to your sobriety because they take the focus off of your own recovery. In early recovery we do not really know ourselves yet and you may not have a healthy understanding of what love is at this time.
Another problem with romance in early recovery is “two addicts do not equal strong will”, if one has a weak moment in their sobriety it may impact the others feelings of doubt for their sobriety, which could lead to a relapse for you both! There are always exceptions and relationships in early recovery may have worked out for some; but this is the time to concentrate on oneself and really focus on what we want out of life!
Going back to an ex-partner that is still using is the most obvious of the detrimental relationships in recovery. We all want to try to change or help the ones we care about but in all honesty you can only help yourself. Avoiding “people, places, and things” is engraved in our minds but when it comes to ex’s we all have a weakness. As addicts we tend to remember “the good times” and seem to forget about the pain associated with our drug use, people we surrounded ourselves with, the pain we experienced for ourselves, and the pain we have put others through.
The best thing you can do with an ex that is still “in the grips” is stay away and hope that they eventually have the desire and the will to stay clean. However, that is not saying that one day it may work out for the two of you. Typically, if you both used together it may be too much of a “trigger” to have a sober relationship together. Early time in your recovery is an acceptable time to be “self-centered”, take advantage of it!