Re-establishing damaged relationships and fostering new and healthy connection in early sobriety is one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding practices we can engage in. The renewal of relationship bonds is part of the foundation that we build our recovery upon because we need to be able to have people to turn to in the event that we need support, guidance, and accountability. These relationships will also help us to reclaim our self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. Early sobriety can be an exciting time in which we also meet new people who are sober and who share our vision of establishing a better version of ourselves, so it is no wonder that people often find themselves in romantic relationships early on in sobriety. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with dating in early sobriety, if we can be honest with ourselves, we will be able to acknowledge that there is a propensity for the relationship to overtake our recovery program as the top priority.
Managing a romantic relationship and our recovery in early sobriety is a big task to take on, and while the decision is ultimately our own, it is advantageous to discuss the pitfalls that can arise in order to avoid falling in. The first issue at hand is that early sobriety ought to be a time for self-discovery; the most effective self-discovery typically takes places when we are alone and able to introspect and connect with our deepest selves. Because the work of discovering our new selves in sobriety is tedious and often requires much patience, we will often look for ways in which we can circumvent this process. Relationships can be tricky for just this reason as they provide an excuse to delay self-examination by way of distracting us with the “relationship to other” rather than focusing on the “relationship with self.” Let’s also not forget that the other individual can almost be experienced as a drug. When we receive compliments, are told we are amazing, and feel as though we are worthy when judged through the eyes of another person, these interactions are reinforced due to the release of “feel-good” neurotransmitters that want more of these “rewards.” Clearly, romantic relationships aren’t too closely paralleled to our relationship with drugs and alcohol, but if the relationship becomes a barrier to personal growth in our recovery, we may want to approach them with caution while applying healthy boundaries.
Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138.