Relationships play an important role in our lives, and many newly recovering addicts worry about the subject of dating. The common rule that most people hear is to avoid romantic entanglements for the first year of sobriety. However, despite the advice they receive in drug rehab Oregon addicts still often get distracted by dating in early recovery. While dating and sex in early recovery do not always result in disaster, nobody should go in blind. If you wish to move forward in your romantic life without sacrificing your sobriety, you should understand the dangers beforehand.
Problems with Dating in Early Recovery
The core issues with romantic relationships in early recovery typically revolve around the distractions they create. When they first begin abstaining from drugs and alcohol, addicts and alcoholics must maintain a strong focus on their sobriety. Due to the relationship between addiction and brain chemistry, the craving to use does not subside immediately.
In fact, the very nature of the disease springs from the substance user’s inability to fully enjoy natural sources of pleasure. They become accustomed to the instant gratification provided by drugs and alcohol. Dating in early recovery may seem harmless, but it is often little more than another source of instant gratification.
The problem with seeking instant gratification in any form is that recovery takes time. After the addict’s brain chemistry becomes altered in addiction, they must regain control over their emotions and cognitions by retraining their brain through neurobiological adaptations. Due to a quality known as neuroplasticity, every brain can make these adaptations; however, the process does not occur overnight. Dating and sex in early recovery can disrupt the process by either providing instant gratification or by leading to emotional disturbance if the relationship does not work out. This happens quite frequently, and is why so many experts advise against dating in early recovery.
Advice on Dating in Early Recovery
No matter how many people advise against it, many addicts and alcoholics will inevitably decide that they can handle the risk of dating in early recovery. Those who make this choice should tread carefully, following at least a few basic guidelines to reduce the chances that their relationships will become problematic.
First, do not take another person’s sobriety into your own hands. Many men and women who seek dating and sex in early recovery meet their potential partners through 12-step programs or even before leaving their drug rehab Oregon facility. Sometimes they do so without respecting the other party’s struggles with sobriety, while others may even fantasize that their relationship will “save” the object of their affections. No matter what the motivation, dating in early recovery when neither party has their feet completely under them will rarely work out well for anyone.
Others will try to avoid the pitfalls of dating in early recovery by seeking someone who is not in recovery at all. This can create an entirely different set of problems. Those who begin their sobriety in our drug rehab Oregon treatment center will receive relapse prevention therapy to help them overcome their triggers, but they should still work to avoid temptation if possible. Winding up in a relationship with somebody who drinks or casually uses recreational drugs can complicate matters.
In short, those who attempt dating in early recovery must be careful about who they date. They should not rush into anything before they feel entirely prepared, and they should not seek relationships for the sole purpose of instant gratification. The strongest relationships are those forged between self-sufficient, independent people. If you are seeking a relationship because you feel like you need somebody else to make your life more complete, you might not be ready just yet.
Focus on Yourself in Drug Rehab Oregon
While not impossible, dating in early recovery remains inadvisable due to the importance of focusing on your own sobriety. You will learn to do this in addiction treatment. Through a highly individualized program of action, you can identify your triggers and learn how to combat the urge to engage in old behaviors.
Aspire Health Network’s facilities will teach you to focus on yourself so that you can become strong in your recovery as quickly as possible. Entering a facility such as Aspire Oregon, men and women will enter separate living facilities to cut back on the urge to begin entering relationships in early recovery. By focusing on themselves early in sobriety, they will ensure a healthier love life later on by becoming more independent. When they feel ready to dip back into the dating scene, clients will no longer feel like they need to seek fulfillment from external sources. This will greatly enrich their romantic prospects.
Do not focus too much on dating in early recovery until you feel ready. For now, sobriety should be your top priority. Feel free to contact us at any time if you need help seeking treatment to get your recovery started and begin focusing on your own well-being.