Most experts recommend  you have at least a year of solid recovery before entering a new relationship. Recovering from addiction is a big undertaking. You have to learn new, healthier coping mechanism, break old habits, make new friends, make healthy lifestyle changes, and address any co-occurring mental health issues. Then, after treatment, you have to transition what you learned into the real world, which is often tricky. Adding a new romantic relationship too soon in recovery may make this process even harder. Here’s why.

Relationships are distracting.

Perhaps the biggest reason to hold off on dating in recovery is that it’s a distraction. When first adjusting to life back in the real world, you will probably have a lot of practical matters to deal with–where to live, where to work, finding a good 12-step group, adapting your recovery plan to your circumstances, and so on. A new relationship is likely to be a distraction from those things. You may end up having to choose between spending time on recovery and spending time with your new romantic interest. You need to focus on recovery for a while and make sure you have the basics under control before introducing new elements.

Things can go wrong quickly.

While new relationships are great at first and can make you feel giddy and happy, they can also go downhill quickly. Most relationships don’t work out. They sometimes end amicably but more often there’s arguing, yelling, crying, anxiety, and sadness. This is not what you want early in recovery. Stress and anxiety are major challenges and a bad breakup may be too much to handle early on. While a new relationship might turn out to be great, it’s typically not worth the risk to your recovery.

You may fall into old patterns.

People with substance use disorders often have unhealthy relationship patterns too. They may be drawn to other people with substance use issues, abusive partners, or codependent relationships. It takes a little while to become aware of these tendencies and address the issues underlying them. If you rush into a relationship after treatment, you may end up in one that will sabotage your recovery. Some people also use dating or sex as replacement addictions, which is also not healthy.

Your partner may be a liability.

People in recovery often meet a lot of other people in recovery and they often end up dating. This can sometimes work out well, since you both understand what the other has been through. However, since the risk of relapse is highest in the first year, you may also find yourself in a relationship with someone who is drinking or using drugs again, which can jeopardize your own recovery.

At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.