While recovery is a lifelong journey, ensuring your full focus is on recovery in the beginning is essential. In the early stages of recovery, your priority should be on reaching sobriety and gaining the skills necessary to maintain it.
You may desire a relationship in your future, but there are many dangers involved with dating early on in recovery. The following factors are important to consider.
During this time, you will likely be surrounded by peers within the recovery community. Many of these peers may be further along than you, and some may just be starting their journey. It is great to make friendships within these communities and stay engaged in recovery. However, dating people in these early stages may put both of you at risk for relapse.
When dating, most people naturally try to impress the other person, at times even forgetting their morals and values. If an individual you are dating has a relapse, it can increase the potential of you relapsing as well. It is best to stick to your personal goals and values during this time, prioritizing your recovery. Getting wrapped up in the recovery progress of another individual from a romantic relationship standpoint can add further stress to your recovery journey.
High Levels of Emotion
Dating often comes with heightened emotions. This is especially true toward the beginning of a relationship. As you and another individual attempt to figure out the state of your relationship, conversations can lead to heartbreak and sorrow if it does not go as you wish. This, sadly, is an aspect of dating for nearly anyone. There are often moments full of joy and sorrow throughout a relationship. While you are working to regulate your emotions in recovery, these instances of heightened emotions can make it harder to stay in emotional control. Before these emotional regulation skills are fully established, you may want to refrain from adding potential relationship stress.
Some relationships may end positively. If both individuals contribute to the success of one another, it can be uplifting. However, during these early stages, it is not worth the potential risk of a devastating breakup.
Change in Focus
Someone who wants a lifelong monogamous relationship or marriage will likely want to be careful about who they select as a partner. They may want to think about the qualities they want in an individual throughout their life and determine whether the person they are seeing fits into that category. This can take a lot of focus. Even people who are not interested in monogamy or marriage often spend a lot of time and energy evaluating whether the people they are seeing are good fits for their lives. Unfortunately, as you contemplate your relationship, you are likely no longer prioritizing recovery.
Relationships often have to be a priority for a short period for them to last. Therefore, treatment and recovery are not great times to start a new romantic relationship. It is essential that you are fully focused on maintaining sobriety and do not get sidetracked by the commitment of a relationship until you are fully ready.
Developing Habits of Dependence
If you begin a relationship in the early stages of recovery, there is potential for your significant other to encourage your sobriety and recovery journey. While this can be beneficial through this period, what happens if the relationship ends?
Relying on a relationship to motivate your sobriety puts the accountability out of your own hands and onto uncontrollable factors. It can be easy to become dependent upon your significant other. If you rely on them to motivate you and hold you to your goals, it can be difficult to continue these actions without them.
We want to help you gain skills in recovery that will help you set yourself up for success throughout the rest of your life. Relying on another individual to push you through recovery takes away the opportunity for you to gain and practice these skills.
Consider Saving Dating for Later
If you find that you build strong connections with individuals in the recovery community, nothing is stopping you from pursuing a relationship with them in the future. We are not here to recommend you stay away from dating forever. We just hope you take the opportunity of early recovery to prioritize yourself. After completing treatment and being comfortable and far along in your recovery journey, you can determine if you are ready to start dating.
It may seem strenuous to wait, especially if you desire a relationship. However, waiting to pursue a relationship allows you to gain the skills to maintain your sobriety on your own and develop a sense of independence. Being independent and having these abilities is a great way to begin a healthy relationship. You can use your communication skills and various other recovery skills to help you establish a healthy relationship and set yourself up for long-term success.
How to Avoid Dating
Avoiding dating during this stage can be difficult if you are seeking a relationship or meeting someone you find potential in. It is important to keep your focus on yourself and understand the impacts that dating in early recovery can have. You can begin to establish what you want in a potential partner during this time, but keep your time and commitment dedicated to yourself. This is an opportunity to gain self-love before attempting to love a significant other.
Recovery takes a great deal of self-commitment, especially in the early stages. While you may feel the desire to pursue a relationship at this time, there are many potential dangers involved with dating in early recovery. As you work through your recovery journey, you will eventually reach a point where dating is practical. Through the early stages, we recommend you keep your focus on yourself and your recovery process ahead of you. You will gain various skills through these early stages that can help you establish a healthy relationship in the future. To learn more about the dangers of dating in early recovery and how to stay focused on yourself, reach out to Dream Recovery at (949) 732-1960.