There is no set time frame for how long you should be single or abstinent in sobriety. Some veterans of recovery recommend staying single and abstinent for the first year of recovery. For the first twelve months you are sober your emotions are running high. Your mind, body, and spirit are trying to calibrate themselves. You need the time and space to do you. Through treatment, you’re working on a relationship with yourself. Working on a relationship with yourself and another person is hard to do. You should start dating in sobriety when you feel two things. First, when you feel secure in your sobriety and are not regularly having disruptive cravings. Second, when you feel more secure in yourself and that you are ready to let other people into your life.
The one thing which has to be made clear about relationships in the early phases of sobriety is this: not waiting to date will not kill you. Dating, getting emotionally entangled, putting yourself through the stress of a toxic relationship or break up before you can emotionally handle it, and turning back to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain, absolutely can kill you. Waiting has no risks.
How seriously should I take dating in sobriety?
Your sobriety is going to last the rest of your life, so it depends on what you’re looking to achieve out of your dating life. If you’re looking for a lifetime partner, you should take your dating fairly seriously. If you’re looking to just get “back in the game” and get to know people or experience dating, you shouldn’t take dating too seriously in sobriety. Not taking dating seriously does not mean taking other people’s lives and feelings seriously.
Make sure to respect others
Addiction causes the brain to lack regard for anything other than the substance of choice and anyone other than the addict due to the way it interferes with brain function and changes brain structure. Recovery teaches you how to respect yourself and others, which should extend into your dating life. People you date aren’t objects or exercises- they’re people with their own history, experience, and feelings.
Don’t use people to your advantage
We’re especially quick to aim for some “casual encounters” or “meaningless” sexual interactions only on our part of the equation. Other people are other people and we need to be open in our communication, clear about our intentions, and firm in our boundaries with other people. Sobriety should no longer be a time for hurting others.
Recovery for men needs to be mind, body, and spirit. At Tree House Recovery we are building men from the ground up with sustainable changes to create a sustainable recovery. Call us today for information on our treatment programs and how we can help you find freedom from addiction: (855) 202-2138