The reason spending time with recovery peers is heavily emphasized in early recovery is because it’s hard to be with yourself. It’s common to feel uncomfortable with yourself and your thoughts, because you’re just getting used to having them without the influence of drugs and alcohol. Being with peers in recovery is helpful for remedying that. Everyone in early recovery is having a similar experience, offering you solidarity and support like no one can. Relationships are different from friendships and spending time with a romantic interest is about more than happy distractions. People’s feelings are involved, including yours. While a relationship can be a nice distraction and a nice producer of dopamine as well as oxytocin, it isn’t fair to you or someone else. Relationship advice across the board usually includes this sentiment: you have to be in a relationship with yourself before you can be in a relationship with someone else.
You might not know what love means yet: You loved getting drunk. You loved getting high. You loved being drunk and high. When you’re living with a disorder like a substance use disorder in which external, mind altering chemical substances have rewired the way your brain perceives and operates on pleasure- you’re not an expert on love anymore. One term often used in recovery is: your picker is broken. There are plenty of great sober people out there who you will think are winning bets because they aren’t addicts. Addicts and alcoholics aren’t the only people with problems. What you think is love might not be the healthy, mutually, respectful love you deserve in recovery.
You treat dates like recovery meetings: Hi, I’m _____ and I’m an alcoholic. Nice to meet you! Bringing recovery into dating can be a choppy sea to navigate. Anonymity is important, but so is honesty. Views on honesty in dating vary. Some advice being honest from the get go so as not to waste anyone’s time. Others say that too much too soon is a sign of unhealthy boundaries. You’re getting used to the recovery lifestyle where honesty, a lot of honesty, is the norm. Don’t treat your dates like recovery meetings. Remember how uncomfortable all that honesty was for you in the beginning? Keep it simple, as we like to say.
You go a little backwards when dates don’t work out or someone doesn’t respond: Dating in the digital age is tough. We can see when people are typing and we can see when people stop typing. In early recovery we are especially fragile to rejection because we are just learning to be present, show up, and act with vulnerability. Each time a date doesn’t work out or you’re rejected, you lose it. You aren’t ready not to take dating too seriously. Your recovery is teaching you not to take things so seriously at all. You have cravings, you spiral and more importantly, you aren’t able to cope. This is because you’re in your first year of learning how to cope with life on life’s terms. Unfortunately, bad dating experiences and rejections are some of those terms.
At Lakehouse Recovery Center, we believe laughter is the best medicine and learning to have fun in recovery without drugs and alcohol is the key to long term success. We take the business of recovery seriously. Our residential program is designed to give each client intimate attention and care for their entire stay and 12 month after care. For information, call us today: 877.762.3707