Forming New Intimate Relationships During Recovery

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

couple making heart shape with hands

During recovery we meet many individuals who are also in recovery.  We can meet people in these meetings and some might even become friendships.  While friendships are encouraged due to the support and connection provided, getting romantically involved during recovery might not be a good idea.  There are men and women who attend these meetings and we might find ourselves wanting to form a relationship with a person that is more than friendly.

Forming a new intimate relationship during recovery is not unethical; however, it could jeopardize your recovery particularly if you are new to recovery.  Some people who have been attending 12-step meetings for a long time state that forming a new relationship is not an ideal situation until one has been clean and sober for one year.  Regardless of whether one meets someone through meetings or elsewhere, there are reasons for not getting into an intimate relationship during recovery.  It should be noted that recovery is a lifelong process.  It is not realistic to state that one should never begin a new romantic relationship during this process.

Recovering from drug and alcohol abuse in the beginning is a difficult time for many, both emotionally and socially.  Starting a relationship at this early stage can cause problems as the persons involved may want to focus more on the relationship and less on recovery.  There is also an emotional consideration.  When quitting drugs or alcohol, there are many emotions a person might experience.  These emotions include depression, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed. Starting a relationship can take the focus off of working through these emotions, which is important for recovery. Another reason to avoid forming an intimate relationship in early recovery, is the possibility of relapse.  If a person meets someone at a 12-step meeting and becomes involved with this individual and a relapse occurs, there could be the opportunity for the other person to relapse as well.

There is some truth to not starting a relationship for one year at the start of recovery.  This first year should be a period of selfishness and working on recovery no matter what.  It would be a good thing to focus on yourself and develop relationships that are more friendly.  Having this friendship in recovery can assist in developing a good support system and having a friend to talk through emotional crises or bad days.


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