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New Relationships in Recovery: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Couple in new relationshipAfter drug and alcohol rehab, many are in a big rush to start a new romantic relationship. Some find refuge in the relationship, others like the way it makes them feel to fall in love, and others are looking for validation and support. Whatever the reason, starting new relationships in the first year of recovery is a highly controversial issue. Some are big proponents, and others think it’s a bad idea until the addict or alcoholic is on more stable emotional ground. The following are the views from both sides of the issue.

New Relationships in Recovery: Good Idea

It can be lonely in early recovery. Having lost all the people you use to drink or get high with, many recovering alcoholics and addicts find themselves trying to make new friends and build a new life for themselves all at the same time. Meeting someone new can take the focus off the difficulties inherent to new recovery and provide a much needed break.

It feels good, too. The initial stages of dating and falling in love makes everyone happy, and that’s never a bad thing. If the other person is in recovery, too, the two of you can support each other. If he or she is already clean and sober, then it may be a much needed break from the 12 step world and the support you need to stay on track.

New Relationships in Recovery: Bad Idea

The problem with relationships is that they inevitably fail. There are problems and fights, and if one person stops feeling it, there can be a lot of pain for the person left behind. The fear is that those in early recovery are not stronger enough to handle those setbacks and hurt feelings and, when dumped, will relapse and, perhaps, not come back to recovery.[1]

If the other person in the relationship is also in recovery, the concern is that the two will relapse together rather than encourage each other to stay clean and sober.

A codependent relationship is never a positive thing, and too many in early recovery find themselves in them without even realizing it. Without the time to understand and develop personal boundaries, they often move too quickly into a relationship that clearly isn’t right for them and thus take the focus off where it should be: their own recovery and progress.[2]

New Relationships in Recovery: What Do You Think?

For both sides of the issue, there are success stories and failures. There are those who meet their partner or spouse in early recovery and remain together for years without relapse. On the other hand, there are those who fail in early recovery without starting a romantic relationship of any kind. As a result, many in recovery are of the opinion that the decision should be made on a case by case basis.

What do you think? Should those in early recovery avoid relationships or embrace them? What has your experience been?

If you or someone you love is looking for help in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today. We can help you assess your different treatment needs[3] and can even check your insurance coverage for you. Please call today.