Addiction changes peoples’ lives in profound ways. The addiction treatment process layers that with even more changes, albeit in a more positive direction. As a result, dating after addiction recovery looks quite different from what people may have experienced before. Sometimes, it is best to avoid dating altogether immediately following addiction treatment.
Romantic entanglements can be fertile ground for relapse triggers. But of course, you need not avoid romance and dating after addiction treatment forever. It is natural to want to get back into the game and build new and exciting relationships. Midwest Center at Youngstown is here to offer a guide to dating after addiction recovery so that you aren’t alone as you head out on your own. Learn about the full range of resources and services that make up addiction aftercare by reaching out to 844.544.0502.
When to Start Dating After Addiction Recovery
As you begin testing the romantic waters, it is important to keep one thing front and center: your recovery. It would be best to avoid any relationship that threatens the success of your recovery or puts you in a position to relapse. Sacrificing the gains made during rehab on the altar of romance is never worth it. You’ll lose your sobriety and eventually the relationship as well.
The first question most people want to be answered is this: how soon can you start dating after addiction rehab? Most addiction treatment providers recommend waiting at least one full year after completing treatment. Why wait so long, especially when life in recovery is often lonely and challenging? Addiction and relationships are complicated territory. A few factors should influence caution here, such as:
- Infatuation can quickly become a replacement for addiction.
- Relationships often distract from recovery.
- Dating may mean greater exposure to stressors and relapse triggers.
- Relationships may impede self-care or healthy habits.
Not dating after addiction recovery for at least one year does not mean eschewing strong social bonds altogether. You can and should repair friendships, invest in family, and build a support network. Engaging in healthy activities, finding accountability partners, and attending support groups are critical.
How to Start Dating After Addiction Rehab
Waiting a year is all well and good, you may say. But what about after the year is up? How should you start dating after addiction rehab when you’ve achieved stability and are ready to put yourself out there? It comes down to three basics: choose wisely, be honest, and rely on your support network.
First, choose wisely. It is likely best to move slowly in any new romantic relationship. Full investment should follow a period of exploration where you get to know who the person is and what they value. Ensure the relationship does not become the sole focus of your life. In addition, it is best to avoid dating someone who is actively struggling with a substance use problem.
Second, be honest. Please share with your partner about your past addiction struggles and let them know about your recovery journey. It doesn’t have to be a first-date conversation. But withholding your past is likely to set up a rocky future. Remember, if the person can’t accept who you are, they aren’t right for you.
Third, rely on your support network. Be upfront with your family, friends, and therapist about the relationship. Discuss any issues that come up openly. Be open to receiving advice and listening if the people closest to you think you are getting in over your head or investing in someone that isn’t right for you during recovery.
Learn More at Midwest Center at Youngstown
Midwest Center at Youngstown has years of experience in helping people in recovery build quality aftercare plans. We understand the difficulty in navigating addiction and relationships. Reach out to 844.544.0502 to get advice on dating after addiction rehab.