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Love and Romance in Recovery

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There’s nothing like being in a new relationship. The excitement of seeing each other and the mystery and allure of the other person take over. It’s hard to concentrate on anything else, especially when things are going well. But when the romance goes bad, the feelings of rejection and heartbreak are difficult to handle. Now add the struggle with addiction and trying to get sober to the mix. A relationship can be a lot to handle and if things go wrong, it can send you into a tailspin back into addiction.

Relationship: The Ticking Time Bomb

So what is it about relationships that are so dangerous to the early stages of recovery? Let’s look at the timeline of new relationships. In the beginning, strong feelings emerge. Some of them are good, but if you get into an argument or learn something that you don’t like, negative feelings can consume you. This rollercoaster of emotions can be stressful and overwhelming. Another thing to consider is that when you are in a relationship, you open yourself up to the other person. This emotional vulnerability is potentially dangerous and can trigger you to fall back on using alcohol and drugs to cope. If your relationship reaches an end, your broken heart might be too much to deal with. Feelings of rejection, resentment, anger, confusion, frustration, pain, anxiety and sadness consume you and can trigger a negative thinking pattern.

The Hopeless Romantic and Other Destructive Thoughts

You may start off thinking that your new relationship is strong, solid and that there’s no way that it will fail. It’s good to be positive when starting new relationships, but you need to be realistic Or you may think that if it doesn’t work with this person now that you are sober, then you are never going to be lucky in love. This black and white thinking, commonly seen in addicts, is a slippery slope to relapse. Relationships bring on a high and excitement, so it’s common for recovering addicts to jump into one.  No matter, if it is alcohol, drugs, food or relationships, replacing one addiction for another, leads to relapse.

Above All, Recovery First

In addiction rehab, you learn that avoiding people, places, and situations that trigger substance abuse is the best way to prevent a relapse. This includes anything that causes an extreme emotional response from you, like a relationship. The added stress from dating someone new distracts you from the priority of recovery. It’s a good idea to avoid this situation and focus on you, your recovery and building a strong support system. If you start a new relationship, refrain from investing all your time, effort and feelings into one person. Don’t forget about yourself and your own goals. Keeping yourself mentally and emotionally balanced helps you build a stronger and long lasting recovery.

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