So you’ve decided to drop all substances and get completely sober huh? Well welcome to the recovery melting pot, where there’s all sorts of colors, shapes and sizes of people. You are never alone. Here you will meet some of the most intriguing beings that planet Earth has to offer. Tall people, short people, big people, small people; it’s like a living Dr. Seuss book with characters just as befitting.
Everybody will be going through different struggles and changes depending where they are in their recovery. Those in early sobriety will be rediscovering their emotions and libido as they return from the imprisonment of alcoholism. Due to this instinctive nature, some of the other characters in the book will then begin to look attractive them. After all, hormones rage in all of us. However, those newcomers would be wise to keep to the museum rules of look but not touch. But why?
Like it or not, it’s highly recommended to stay out of a relationship in early recovery. I mean let’s face it, nobody wants to be entirely alone in this world. Some people might be introverted extroverts while others are more so extroverted introverts, but still everybody craves companionship to some degree. Even the people that cry lone wolf still don’t want to eat lunch alone 24/7. It ties into our primal nature and is just who we are. We want help. We want love. We want friendship. We want somebody to understand. Yet all of those wants are a two way street; all relationships are. The paradox in itself is that we can’t really be there for somebody else if we’re not there for ourselves first. We should stay out of a relationship in early recovery because we’re supposed to be having it with ourselves.
Relationships in Early Recovery
First of all, being told to stay out of a relationship in early recovery is a recommendation, but it’s not a concrete requirement to be sober of course. It’s advised to take baby steps and ease yourself into this new role of being the new you. The mind of alcoholism will always be trying to lure you back to an island of insanity where it can finish you off. It’s literally a siren of a disease. Giving your will over to a higher power or just accepting that there is a problem takes a lot more focus than the outside looking in would provide.
So how can there be time for sirens and temptations right now? Those same temptations will ruin your chances of strong sobriety and will be the means for a distraction. That same distraction is often the means that leads to an end: the end of sobriety, the end of recovery, and sometimes the end of life. A means to an ugly end at that.
Should I Stay or Should I Go Now
Any deep enough relationship takes a little while to truly get to know that person. In some rare instances you may have “Romeo & Juliet”, but life it typically unlike that of a Shakespearean tragedy. Quite full of tragedy, yes, but not in that manner. The way reality plays out for many is that the person were originally infatuated with becomes our new nightmare.
Everybody at some point has been in a toxic relationship or two at some point in their romantic lives. We can’t all avoid the “crazies”, and nor can they all avoid us. Likely for most, those relationships were during active addiction as well. Out rationale was very much skewed whether we saw it or not. Even in early sobriety, we are still rebuilding mentally. The substances may be out of our physical shells, but the mind is still very much corrupted. Rejuvenation takes time, just as good quality sobriety does. That “time” is something that should be taken advantage of to ensure we never find ourselves there again. There are things that can be done to help stay out of a relationship in early recovery like:
- Putting yourself first
- Talking to a sponsor about your feelings/options
- Setting clear boundaries with specific individuals
- Finding new hobbies/staying busy
- Becoming aware of yourself and your actions
Some of these things might be your saving grace while trying to stay out of a relationship in early recovery. All it takes is for one toxic relationship to occur. This person might mentally drag your feet out from under you quicker than you can say “no”. Or you might do the same to them? Remember, as we’re getting clean, our own rationale is just returning. What do we really have to offer others than a warm body and trouble?
Love is one of the strongest things to exist and is a force that can’t be reckoned with. It’s essentially what makes the world go round. On the other hand, love is by far one of the most powerful drugs out there. As alcoholic thinkers, we have the ability to latch onto anything. Thus codependency is often born in these early relationships. So why not date yourself?
If you think about it, just because the substances are taken away doesn’t mean that the problems are all fixed. That’s the true message within all of this. Alcohol is only a symptom of the alcoholism. It’s the selfish style of deluded thinking that dictates the very reason why anybody should stay out of a relationship in early recovery. All of our problems were our doing, therefore the solutions come from within too. We have that power and the ability to harness it if we choose to. It is not until we get to know ourselves that we should even begin to learn the inner workings of another human being. Early recovery is that introduction to yourself. Study up, and then move on.