When people succeed in their sobriety, a whole new world emerges. You’re clean and clear-minded, but you’re also very vulnerable and sensitive to this new lifestyle…whether you realize it or not. You’ve been courageous enough to rebuild a life that doesn’t revolve around drugs or alcohol, and now you are tasked with trying to gain a new sense of self. One of the worst things you can do at this point in the journey is to jump into a new romantic relationship.
Too Much Emotional Turmoil
New relationships are always difficult in the beginning. More often than not, you feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster with a stranger. The peaks and valleys of joy mixed with sadness can be too much for someone who’s new to sobriety. Recovering addicts need stability and consistency – that means jumping into a new relationship is off the menu.
Recovery is one of the only times in life when it’s perfectly acceptable to be selfish. It’s all about you and making smart, sober choices that benefit your life right now. You can’t do that by putting someone else on a pedestal and making decisions that are ultimately based on their happiness.
What’s a Replacement Strategy?
Recovery is all about changing – and changing for the better. Replacement strategies offer recovering alcoholics or addicts ways to replace old lifestyles of substance abuse with something that’s more positive and healthy. For example, instead of hanging out with friends who get high, you opt for working out at the gym. Or, instead of reaching for a beer in the fridge, you grab a glass of juice instead.
Why are newly-developed romantic relationships bad replacement strategies for people in the early stages of recovery? For one, whether you realize it or not, the relationship becomes your replacement strategy. The problem, however, is that this is not the healthy or productive replacement strategy you need to be focused on.
Think about it; how healthy would it be for you to sit around the house wondering why your new love interest hasn’t called back or wrangling with yourself about the possibilities he/she is cheating? A couple days of this emotional turmoil can lead to a relapse before you know it. And you’ve worked too hard to let that happen.
Focus on You
Instead of wasting your precious time on a new relationship, why not spend some time alone and get to know the “new” you? You’ll probably like what you find. There will be plenty of time for forging romances down the road. Right now, it’s all about you.
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