Valentine’s Day is coming up, and having a significant other can suddenly become very important. The problem is that most people suggest that newly sober people wait at least a year to enter a relationship. Why – you ask? Well, there is evidence that people who get into relationships before they are emotionally ready can relapse. If the relationship does not work out, newly sober addicts often lack the coping skills to remain sober. Building a steady foundation for recovery is essential to prepare for the emotional rollercoaster that most relationships entail.
Talk to your sponsor
The best thing you can do is be honest with your sponsor. You may dread taking instructions, but this is an integral part of early sobriety. If you do not tell the whole truth to get your way, you’re setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning. Wanting what you want when you want it is what got you into trouble with drugs and alcohol in the first place. Take some time to get clarity about what you should be doing for your recovery. In time, everything else will fall into place, including relationships.
Work your 12-Steps
Even in relationships, your 12-Step Program must come first. Growth is inevitable if you work the steps the way they are intended. If you are continually amplifying your program and your partner isn’t, the two of you may not be a match. Do not be afraid to ask where they are in their step work and how their sponsor feels about them dating. You will be surprised by how much information you can gather from these two fundamental questions. Again, honesty is a necessary part of relationships, and you should not hesitate to inquire about anything that could adversely affect your recovery.
Take time to do your recovery inventories
Step 4 and Step 10 are inventories that can tell you a lot about yourself and how you act in relationships. Seeking the patterns of despair in your past relationships can give you a guide for successful relationships in the future. Additionally, facing your character defects head-on can provide you the perspective you need to advance in your program. If you have not made it to these steps yet, you might want to hold off on a relationship. Until you have these tools into place, you’ll likely struggle to be a caring, romantic partner.
Look for Recovery Principles
You may have always been attracted to the “bad boy” or “bad girl” persona. In sobriety, however, you may need to change the qualities you’re looking for in a partner. If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done. Examine what you are genuinely searching for in your relationships. Set a few columns on paper and label them with “qualities and values they must have”, “qualities and values I like”, and “red flags to watch for”. If you list what you are looking for, you may manifest that special someone. Being with the wrong person can keep you from meeting the person you were meant for and waste your time in the process. Be true to yourself, and your recovery, and start dating someone who complements what you are working towards.
There are obviously exceptions to every rule. You should take time to ponder whether you really are an exception or if you’re just trying to be in a relationship on your own terms. Your sobriety must be your number one priority, or the relationship is doomed before you even get started. Relationships are already difficult to navigate, but if you allow the 12-Steps to guide you, your relationship could flourish, given time and patience.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463