Relationships and Addiction Recovery

People holding hands

Love is a beautiful thing, if you find someone that will stand by you hug you and hold you tight or give you a swift kick in the rear end when you need it then you are truly blessed. Why is it then that so many counselors and individuals that have long-term sobriety recommend not starting a new relationship early on in your sobriety? In fact, many suggest waiting at least one year before going on a date!

The reason is very simple albeit difficult for some women and men to understand in the heat of the moment. Serious substance abuse is understood by many to be a way to avoid life. It is a way to avoid problems, conflicts, and stress and for a temporary time, it works. Don’t misunderstand me I’m not promoting drug use and substance abuse but the simple fact is that if you are stressed, anxious or angry and you drink a fifth of whiskey, smoke a bowl of meth or inject a gram of heroin there is no question that you will alter your state of mind.

Now apply this approach to “problem-solving” to relationships; specifically dependent or codependent relationships. Many of us are guilty of depending on our significant other for gratification and satisfaction. At times we may use our loved one to avoid life and life’s problems.

Often times new relationships in early addiction recovery can get in the way of self-discovery. Self-discovery in the first year of sobriety; if not longer; is vital. You must learn to care for yourself and more importantly you must learn to love yourself before you could ever hope to care for or truly love someone else. During active addiction, many individuals lose themselves. If you are thirty years old and have used drugs since you were fifteen then early on in your recovery you will have to rediscover who you truly are. You will need to rediscover your values and beliefs your thoughts and your feelings. Who you believe you are may not be the person you truly are and it takes time to work through these things.

The advice is simple and clear and will be agreed on by counselors from all forms of substance abuse treatment. If you are newly sober take it easy and take it slow so that way if you truly find the one you are meant to spend the rest of your life with you know who you truly are and feel prepared to give yourself completely to that person.



Certified Addiction Counselor and staff member at Narconon Colorado