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Relationships in Early Recovery

While there is no exact timeline in which the recovering addict/alcoholic should enter into a relationship, it is suggested that one year of sobriety is good guideline. In early sobriety, the addict is learning how to cope with life again without the use of drugs and alcohol, which in and of itself is very challenging. The stresses of every day life can seem overwhelming as they have been numbing themselves for a long time.

The reality of what has become of their lives because their addictions can seem daunting. And, it is not uncommon for those in early recovery to seek out new relationships as a distraction from uncomfortable feelings such as guilt, shame, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.

It may be too soon to begin dating in early recovery if the addict and alcoholic can’t manage the feelings of a breakup or jealousy or feelings of abandonment. The “one year,” guideline is a suggestion since 12 months can provide the recovering addict to experience a variety of emotions due to new jobs, moving to a new home, traveling sober, holidays, celebrations, disappointments, etc. They have worked with a sponsor and completed their 12 steps, been of service to others, learned how to handle a variety of situations without drugs and alcohol.

Relationships are challenging for even the most well balanced individuals. Dating in early recovery can set up the alcoholic for an unnecessary relapse as their focus point is now on the new relationship rather than on their recovery.

There is plenty of time to pursue relationships after one gets their footing in sobriety. And, those relationships will be more meaningful and have a greater chance of blossoming into a long term, healthier one. The 12 steps of AA and NA are designed to clean house, clear up the wreckage of your past, recover, and become of service to others. A year under your belt sounds like a great suggestion all the way around!