Navigating Romantic Relationships in Recovery

Newcomers are often dismayed to hear that they should wait one year before getting into a relationship. Waiting one year is not a rule, but a very sound suggestion based on the cumulative experience of countless men and women in recovery. The first year of sobriety should be focused on the enhancement of our spiritual lives and recovery. Getting into a relationship too early has been the downfall of many men and women attempting to recover from addiction and alcoholism.
The first year of sobriety is a time when we should be focused on solidifying and putting into practice our recovery program. In 12-Step recovery, this means enhancing our spiritual lives and developing our relationship with our Higher Power. Too often, men and women get into relationships before taking these vital steps. There is a common phrase in the rooms of 12-Step meetings: “Anything you put before your sobriety, you will surely lose.” Relationships can easily become distractions from our recovery, and we soon find that we are so consumed with the other person that we let up on the necessary activities of our recovery program. There is also the risk of “replacing” our Higher Power with the other person, meaning we begin to rely on them for our spiritual and emotional well-being rather than on a greater power.
Going through the program of 12-Step recovery requires that we reflect on the harms we had caused in past relationships. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous explains, “We reviewed our conduct over the years past. Where had we been selfish, dishonest, or inconsiderate? Whom had we hurt? Did we unjustifiably arouse jealous, suspicion or bitterness? Where were we at fault, what should we have done instead?” Before taking this vital step of honest reflection, we are unlikely to recognize the truth of our harmful behavior and will repeat those same behaviors in our subsequent relationships. The Big Book continues, “In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relationship to this test—was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.” Afterwards, we engage in a process of growing to meet the ideals we had set out for ourselves. When we are mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy, healthy relationships will follow.

Your story doesn’t have to be one of pain and suffering as a result of addiction. You can begin building a brighter future on the journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help now.  Oceanfront Recovery, located in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to helping clients develop all the tools necessary to lead rich, fulfilling lives in sobriety. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777