Few people have such a deep and intimate understanding of one another than two people in recovery. The shared experience of addiction or alcoholism is an incredibly personal shared experience. Whether two people share the experience of the same drug of choice or not, the experience of addiction, as well as recovery from addiction, is incredibly intense. Especially in the first few years of recovery, when the memory of active addiction is still fresh, emotions are running high, and individuals are at their most vulnerable, romantic bonding can take place.
People in recovery have varying opinions on dating in early recovery, let alone dating someone else who is in early recovery. There are the benefits, like being understood and related to in a very special way. There are, however, some challenges. Firstly, both people are growing and changing every day. The first two years of recovery are a growth and discovery process unlike any other. Who two people are when they start dating in recovery and who they become through their growth process may not be compatible within a few months or a few years. Second, emotions run high as individuals are learning to connect to their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Love, and the perception of love, is overwhelming, stimulating, and pleasurable. For the brain which is recovering from addiction to pleasure, the pleasure caused by drugs and alcohol, love can be confusing. Too often, people who start dating others in recovery find a new ‘high’ or a new ‘rush’, as well as a new obsession. When the emotions come in, particularly difficult emotions, that can create a stress which inspires the brain to crave more of that pleasure. Relapse is commonly affiliated with recovery romances that happen too early on.
Romantic love and recovery can go hand in hand. Ultimately, your life, and the life of someone who has the attention of your heart, are at stake in these relationships. Keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t become each other’s recovery. You have a lot to live and grow for in recovery. Love can fill all of your focus. Remember to focus on yourself and your recovery.
- Don’t be each other’s sponsor. If you are both in early recovery, neither of you have the experience or expertise to be offering sage advice. This is one of the most common fallouts in recovery relationships. Couples turn to one another instead of their sponsors, which can quickly become problematic.
- Do be independent of one another. Don’t be codependent with one another. People in recovery are prone to codependent relationships, where boundaries get blurred between where one person ends and another person begins. You can act independently of one another and still be close. Maintain a watchful eye for common rescuing, saving, and fixing behaviors.
At Tree House Recovery in Orange County, California, men are finding freedom from addiction every day. Our programs help men create sustainable change, building a sustainable recovery. Call us today for information: (855) 202-2138