Early Recovery;Are Relationships Appropriate

One of the basic suggestions for people beginning their recovery is that intense, serious relationships with the opposite sex should be avoided for at least a year.
Observationally over twenty years I have seen numerous situations develop that would certainly support this recommendation. There are a variety of reasons why people in early recovery should avoid this type of relationship. The first and foremost is the development of lack of focus for recovery when these relationships develop. When these relationships occur in early recovery the focus now is directed towards the relationship and recovery now is relegated to a secondary priority. Recovery from addictions especially in the early stages must be the primary focus with 100% of energy directed toward this goal. Once addiction recovery is no longer the primary focus and goal the individual is doomed to fail.

Secondly, when addiction recovery takes a back seat to this new found relationship ones ability to think more effectively about positive decisions needed for addiction recovery to be successfully accomplished are hindered. Also many of these relationships that develop while in the early stages of addiction recovery become very intense very quickly. Often times these relationships occur between two people that are attempting recovery. This combination in the relationship usually leads to more problems and consequences that either party had anticipated.
Two people entangled in an intense relationship of which neither is capable of dealing with appropriately at this point in their addiction recovery. Relationships under normal circumstances can challenge the most stable person. Dealing with the potential of numerous stressors can derail the most committed person in recovery.

One additional problem that can occur with relationships existing between two people early in the addiction recovery process is that the relationship is often among two people struggling with their own lives and issues essentially not really making this relationship a match made in heaven.

Conventional wisdom suggests that people in recovery do not even consider this type of relationship for at least a year. After reviewing some of the pitfalls of some of these relationships one can easily come to conclusion that conventional wisdom regarding serious relationships is wise advice. A person in recovery should gain a significant amount of clean time as well as being well on their way with dealing with and understanding the issues that contributed to their addiction.

The wait may be well worth it by allowing the person to have a totally different perspective on relationships and the type of person they might want to have a relationship with.

Back to top