The thought of dating can be an exciting idea, but if you are in recovery, this could be fun or terrifying. However, since meeting someone or liking someone is something you cannot avoid, it is best to realize that just because you are in recovery, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of being in a relationship. Now before you decide to meet people and start dating while you are in recovery, here are awesome tips to try while dating during recovery.
Take your time and don’t rush
When you are in recovery, it is best to surround yourself with people who genuinely care about you and your recovery journey. There is NO NEED to rush and be in a new relationship. Why? Because for one, your recovery should be your first priority. Keep in mind that when you are in a relationship, you will have to deal with a lot of emotions. You could feel happy, excited, or maybe sad, angry, etc. – all of these could be a good or bad experience for you. This is also why you must prepare yourself.
Ask yourself if being in a relationship will be helpful in your recovery. Jumping into a new phase of a relationship right after your treatment can mean unhealthy management of your new-found sobriety and emotions. So what you need to do is to relax for a while. Take time to breathe and look at the new goals you have. Keep also in mind that there is nothing wrong with being single. What you need to focus more on in this stage is no one else but yourself.
Be in an environment that supports your recovery
Say you did meet someone and things are going well. You are now going on your first date, exciting, right? But where should you go? Keep in mind that there are places that could trigger your addictions all over again. So it is best to avoid them as these places could potentially compromise your actions to maintain sobriety.
Pick locations or places that promote sober activities. Avoid going into bars where there’s lots of booze and loud noises. These could be stressful and can trigger you to drink or use drugs. Find a place where there are lots of activities to do. Keep in mind that you need to stay sober. If your date doesn’t like the places you have suggested, then perhaps it is a sign that they don’t really align with your recovery needs. Besides, would you really want to go on a date where you can barely hear yourself think or at least have a proper conversation together? Choose the places well and always remember that you can also have fun without alcohol or drugs involved
Be upfront about your recovery
Telling someone you like about your past addictions can feel embarrassing, but you’ll learn to not be. Addiction was part of the past and you need to own it. There’s no perfect timing to tell a potential partner about it. You must let them know first before things get serious. Choosing to avoid this issue could put a strain on your new-found relationship and your recovery as well. So just be honest about it. There is nothing you can do about your past but you can always change your future. Being in recovery is one and telling your date about your addictions saves you time from creating a toxic relationship. Being honest about it also helps reduce your stress and at the same time put your mind at peace about dating.
Of course, it can be a difficult thing to do and may even be uncomfortable to just tell someone about it but being open and honest about your past addictions can make or break the budding relationship. If he or she accepts your past and does not mind it, then they could be a potential partner. And if they encourage you to keep going, find ways to keep you sober, and help you get all the help you need to keep you sober then it’s even better! However, if this new partner is not as supportive about your recovery then it’s an indication that you are heading towards the wrong path. Your recovery should be as important to your new partner as it is to you. Keep in mind that this is a lifetime process and if you want this person to be in your life, then he or she needs to accept your past and move on with you towards a healthy, happier lifestyle.
Your sobriety is No. 1
Remember the time when you were struggling with addiction? How about the time you were going through detox? Tough, wasn’t it? All of these took you a lot of courage, time, and energy to get you to where you are now. Your sobriety is not an overnight thing, remember how hard you worked just to be in recovery – don’t derail that especially over someone who does not have your best interests in mind. Your recovery goals should be your priority and should always be on the top of your list. Always ask yourself if dating someone is worth sacrificing your own accomplishments and health.
Dating or being in a relationship means understanding so it is important that you establish the things you can and cannot do. Make sure to set boundaries on the type of activities that you both can do and if the situation is uncomfortable, do not be afraid to speak up. Voicing out your concerns is also for your own good and at the same time helps your partner understand the situation much better.
Your recovery is yours and yours alone, not your partner’s. Keep in mind that a relationship is all about compromise but as a recovering addict, you must also know your own limits and where you stand in terms of sobriety. If you ever feel that your potential partner is compromising your recovery, then you are not obligated to stay with them. There is no shame in putting yourself first, and aiming to be better should be the first goal you must achieve.
Check if it’s a healthy relationship
Learning about your recovery has taught you a lot of things, but, as we mentioned, your recovery is not going to happen overnight. In fact, you must work even harder and apply what you have learned from your doctors and other health care providers in order to achieve your goals.
Now, ask this, is your partner rooting for your recovery? Is he or she interested in helping you get better? Does he or she support and encourage you to take healthy steps towards your recovery? If you can answer these simple questions with a yes, then great! Perhaps you found a great partner after all. But what if they don’t? If your new partner does not respect your decisions to remain sober, then it is time to reassess the value of your relationship and what your partner can bring in your life. Don’t forget that your recovery comes first, once you are able to achieve this, everything else will fall into place, in their own time.
Dating is not recommended during the early stages of recovery by many health care experts. Keep in mind that you are still coping during this phase but like any human being, we cannot avoid the fact that we will meet someone along the way. If this happens, don’t feel bad for breaking rule number one. Instead, find out if he or she is good for your recovery and if they are as supportive as you need them to be. Finding someone who can accept your faults and look beyond them is great, but finding someone who accepts your past and helps you get better is a blessing! So enjoy the process and don’t be afraid to feel again. Just make sure that you are dating someone who is a blessing in your life and not a curse that you will be carrying for a long time, good luck!
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.