Unfortunately, the outcome is not good when people in new recovery enter into an intimate relationship before they are stable in their recovery. Romance and early sobriety are an uncomfortable combination. Addicts and alcoholics are emotionally and mentally damaged, and this is why they use drugs and drink. When people get clean and sober, their ability to cope without being high or drunk is minimal. Yet, the next best distraction to keep someone’s mood up and a way to feel better is through love and sex. But if someone wants to change their life by giving up the need for drugs/alcohol to fix them, they must also restrain from chasing after relationship highs.
What is an Ideal Time for a Relationship in Recovery?
There are many opinions on when a person is ready to seek out an intimate partnership. The general consensus is that the person needs to acquire no less than one year of solid abstinence from drugs and alcohol before they are ‘ready’ for a relationship. However, this golden rule is not wholeheartedly accurate. One year of recovery is not the cure. It is often a time of tremendous suffering to stay clean and sober. People in their first year are fixating on how to feel better without drugs and alcohol. Many people in early recovery can’t make it; others with years of clean time may also not be at peace. The best gauge for when someone is ready for a relationship is whether or not they are satisfied with all aspects of their own life without drugs and alcohol.
Why Is Strong Recovery Important Before Entering A Relationship?
When people have hit bottom and recognize that their life is a disaster because of their drinking or drugging, they get help to stop. Next, they are guided by professionals and others in recovery on what to do. Then they work a program of some kind that supports their recovery and desire to remain clean. If a person does not do months and years of internal healing and self-work, they will not stay sober. But if someone is committed to their recovery before everything else, they will become stable and happy and can be prepared for a relationship. A lot of personal healing and self-awareness must come before a relationship. Recovery is not a destination but a lifelong route with ups and downs that are anchored in self-awareness.
Recovery and The Mind
All recovery is not the same. The term white-knuckled sobriety applies here. Many people who quit drugs and drink are suffering emotionally and mentally. They have remained clean and sober but do not feel at ease. The self-talking mind is a condition of all alcoholics and addicts when they are without drugs and alcohol. Since addiction is a disease of the mind and emotions, with the cure being drugs and alcohol, and when they are removed, the person is left with a wretched mental condition. For example, their mentality will be finding fault with others, being dissatisfied with most everything, and having a self-talking mind that persuades them towards doom. And all of this occurs in their head, and some take it to the outside world and usually relapse. For someone to suffer this much when their recovery is not strong enough, the idea of adding a relationship to their instability is insane.
Recovery and The Heart
When someone is not happy even though they are clean and sober and, for all instances, have been working a program of recovery, they need more help. The 12 step programs are effective in helping people understand their disease and how to alleviate the mental and emotional turmoil. However, their heart will not heal unless a person figures out that they must have a spiritual connection to support their mind and emotions. The word God is problematic for many, and it is acceptable to believe in a higher power or another person such as Buddha, mother earth, or universal energies. However, at the heart of the matter when it comes to spiritual connection and healing is simply to believe that something out there is there to help you and love you.
What Does Addiction Research Say About Recovery And Relationships?
The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances in science and health studied love and addiction’s physiological and behavioral effects. In layman’s terms, they found common traits and concluded that love is a drug, and addicts will use it as one.
People in the early stage of romantic love express many similar traits with addicts. They focus on their beloved (obsession); they yearn for the beloved (craving); they feel a “rush” of exhilaration when seeing or thinking about their beloved (euphoria/intoxication). As their relationship builds, the lover seeks to interact with the beloved more (tolerance). If the beloved breaks off the relationship, the lovers experience the common signs of drug withdrawal, such as lethargy, anxiety, insomnia, or hypersomnia, loss of appetite or binge eating, irritability, and chronic loneliness. (NCBI)
Where to Get Help Today For Addiction in Massachusetts?
Evoke Wellness at Cohasset provides advanced treatment programs that are evidence-based for men, women, and young adults. Call for immediate conversation with the clinical staff and discuss admission today. Don’t let addiction and love “too soon” ruin your recovery. We have the process down to a science on getting and remaining clean and sober and being fulfilled!