Addiction recovery can feel like a new chapter in life as positive experiences become more common. However, recovering addicts must continue to focus on building emotional and mental stability. The problem with dating during this time is it can threaten budding stability. Discuss post-rehab relationships with a sponsor or addiction counselor before dating again, but Raleigh Durham residents could also consider the following tips.
Dating Concerns after Rehabilitation
The big questions are how, when and with whom to date, and the answer depends on the person. Relationships can be challenging enough, but recovering addicts face the following additional concerns:
- Emotional stress – New relationships can be exciting, but they also come with risks like rejection, arguments, jealousy, infidelity and undefined commitment
- Substitute drug – Recovering addicts often turn to substitute addictions like cigarettes, food or relationships, and these can likewise drive unhealthy and obsessive behaviors
- Lost focus – Romantic relationships can distract and trammel people who need to focus on recovery
- Breakups – Many relationships end, and breakups can greatly encourage relapse
Dating someone who is also new to recovery can be another concern. Both parties are working through emotions, expectations and new social dynamics that can collectively harm sobriety. If Raleigh Durham residents are in such a relationship, they could consider the following resources:
- Couples’ recovery counseling
- Establishing outside accountability, ideally with an addiction counselor
- Commit to attend all support meetings
Professionals recommend that addicts avoid dating for the first year of recovery. If a new relationship is unavoidable, be prepared to handle these concerns.
Social Difficulties for Recovering Addicts
Once a Raleigh Durham resident is ready to date again, she may face any of the following social difficulties:
- Learning to socialize while sober
- Bringing up the addiction when first dating
- Handling alcohol-related social settings
- Dealing with an intoxicated partner
While problematic, addicts can overcome these issues with the following suggestions:
- Become active in social groups and activities that lack alcohol
- Bring up the addiction recovery early and in a relaxed manner
- Avoid telling your entire addiction story with all its gory details on a first date
- Agree on clearly defined rules as the relationship progresses, e.g., no alcohol at the house
- Refrain from jealous or obsessive behaviors if a non-sober partner visits a bar
- Do not risk recovery by joining a partner at a bar if you are unprepared
When dating, make recovery your top priority. Do not let a new relationship interfere with group therapy, aftercare counseling and treatment.
Dealing with Substance Abuse
A bad relationship can motivate relapse, but rehab is the best treatment for this issue as it includes the following methods:
- Medically supervised detox
- Treatment for co-occurring mood disorders and emotional issues
- Behavioral therapies that shape responses to be positive
- Developing ways to identify and address substance abuse triggers
- Group and individual counseling
Rehab centers will also discuss boundaries for starting post-treatment relationships.
Find Addiction Recovery
Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to discuss relapse risks, support groups and treatment options. They can also look up health insurance policies for treatment benefits. Raleigh Durham residents should call our toll-free helpline now to get the help they need.