At the end of the day, nobody wants to be entirely alone in this world. Some people might be more introverted and prefer a state of isolation, but even those people still crave companionship to some degree. It just ties into our primal nature and genetic makeup as human beings.
We want help, love, friendship, and compassion. We want somebody to understand. However, in that same breath, we can’t really be there for somebody else if we can’t be there for ourselves. All this loving energy has to come in time throughout recovery, not in a rehab romance conjured overnight.
Why Rehab Romances Don’t Look Promising
Most people who are recovering from alcohol and drug use abused substances for years and eventually wound up lying in the gutter. Our pockets are always emptied, we’ve stolen everything we could, not even a crumb left for a mouse, and mentally and physically we are exhausted without the wherewithal to realize it.
When we were using, most relationships weren’t even a serious thing. How could we tend to the company of another if the chemical dependency always comes before anybody or anything? Some of us managed to struggle through a relationship or two with a significant other, but they never could amount to much without us seeking to fix ourselves.
Patience, Young Grasshopper
Eventually, there comes a day when those of us who are lucky enough to enter a detox facility and become ready to turn our lives around. As far as we’ve been concerned, the world has been on pause while we were adjusting to this new life. There are places to go and people to see.
We have so much intimacy to catch up on with all these new exuberating feelings we’re not used to. As the cliché goes, slow and steady to win the race. Some things including rehab romances are taboo and personal relations will just need to wait. It would be a terrible idea to do anything rash while these early phases of recovery remain fragile.
Recovery launches us into life with a jump, skip, and a hop as we join back in the races. No part of these races, however, is ready for the dating game, including the mingling, fraternizing, and flirting that surrounds the idea. Rehab romances are troublesome because of the distraction from the big picture. It’s more than advised to take baby steps and ease yourself into this new role of being the new you.
Trouble Seeking Trouble
Recovery from alcoholic thinking has the power to promise things beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. The 12 steps and all the anonymous programs are a saving grace for millions. However, when entering a rehab of sorts, there are a number of things that can ruin this newfangled path we’ve manifested.
Of those things known as rehab romances are at the top of that list that can potentially ruin any momentum. A few of the reasons rehab romance is an awful idea in early sobriety are:
- It can provide a false sense of security
- So much is uncertain in early sobriety
- Rehab romance distracts from introspection
- Unhealthy thinking on two counts is worse than one
- Easy for codependency to arise
- Increases the likelihood of relapse for both
- Love is a drug that becomes abused
- Unstable emotions in rehab/early recovery
- Possibilities of an STD (prone to addicts/alcoholics in early recovery)
- Heads are usually not clear enough yet to determine what’s irrational/rational
Let’s take a good look at reality. Once we decide we fancy somebody and begin a bond with this person, whatever the manner, we’re taking a leap of faith. We never can predict exactly who this person really is until they’ve shown a few of their true colors.
In some cases, there may be this Romeo and Juliet scenario where the planets align and the stars shine in their favor, but in most cases, this rehab romance concept becomes our worst nightmare.
Everybody finds themselves in some relationship gone sour at some point in their lives. That’s why there’s dating because every slipper won’t fit Cinderella. 9 times out of 10 with a rehab romance, we don’t really realize how toxic and harmful these relationships can or will be.
In early sobriety, our rationale is still very much skewed whether we like to see it or now. The drugs and alcohol are out of our bodies but our minds take much longer to rejuvenate. Playing with these waters while in treatment can play with our heads even more.
If you think about it, just because the substances are taken away doesn’t mean that all the problems that got us here are fixed. Yes, substances are the root of all the debauchery, but the problems come from within us. This means that the solution comes from within too. It is not until we can learn to be introspective and get to know ourselves that we should even think about focusing on another individual.
Needs vs. Wants
Many factors play along with trying to understand our newfound emotions and abstaining from a rehab romance. Think about the way we’ve handled ourselves over the course of our using and how we present ourselves now. All it takes is for one nasty relationship to occur and everything can roll downhill fast. Remember nobody wants to be alone but we have to practice setting our boundaries for the future, if not for ourselves then for the sake of others.
Distractions While Dating in Rehab
There’s no doubt that addiction treatment is difficult; coping with that difficulty can either make or break an individual. Distracting oneself with different pastimes is sometimes imperative to one’s recovery, but only when it serves their best interests. If someone in recovery starts dating another person, it may compromise either one of their success. This is because when someone is in a relationship, they are fixated upon satisfying the needs and desires of the other person. It’s better for an individual to fixate that attention upon themselves.
All of this, however, does not mean that someone suffering from drug addiction shouldn’t date eventually. The wisest thing for someone to do would be to wait about a year before dating in recovery. This gives individuals enough time to focus on being there for themselves, getting healthy, and learning how to cope apart from relationships.
It is worth noting that these suggestions should be taken quite seriously, as it could mean the difference between a successful recovery and relapse. Not only that, but it could mean the difference between a successful recovery and relapse for the other half of the relationship as well. When it all boils down to it, sobriety should be the first priority.
Finding Yourself: Why You Matter
It can be incredibly tempting to cope in recovery with a relationship. In fact, some may not even be coping; they may just feel a unique connection with someone that they’ve never felt before. That feeling is sobering (no pun intended). But as important as it is to hold your emotions and connections to others in high regard, it is also imperative that you hold yourself and your own development as an individual in high regard, absent from a romantic relationship.
When thinking about reasons not to date in rehab, it is important not to focus on the negatives. If negative motivation is the mindset, then it feels as though something is being stripped away. There are plenty of positive reasons to abstain from a relationship while recovering. How exactly can one stay positive in this regard when a relationship is all they want though? The answer is quite simple.
Abstaining from relationships can be a very healthy way to practice both self-care and care for others. When in a relationship, it is imperative that you give yourself, your time, attention, energy, and affection towards a partner. Doing this the right way is detrimental to the health of the relationship and the individuals. Being a good partner in a relationship is a privilege, and taking their needs and desires into consideration takes a lot of effort and confidence in oneself. If someone doesn’t know how to care for themselves, how can they be expected to care for someone else?
None of this means a person in recovery should never be in a relationship; it’s just that whenever someone is committed to pursuing another person’s affection, it’s best to give 100% to that individual. If you aren’t in a place where you can do that, that’s okay! This is nothing to be guilty about. Finding yourself, caring for yourself, and making decisions in regard to your own personal health is something that will strengthen you to be the best version of yourself when you do become romantically involved with an individual.
Taking a Look in the Mirror
Recovering from chemical dependency takes a lot of personal growth but it will help be able to truly feel again. It takes getting clean and sober before our senses and true happiness come back to us and we can venture into intimate relationships with others. A clean mind and body can open up a world of possibilities. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please contact us here. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.