There’s a big debate out there about when to date after rehab. Most people in recovery and those that work in treatment will say to wait for at least a year after your sober date to re-enter the dating pool. Of course, there are exceptions, like if you have an existing relationship that started prior to your sober date. It is up to you to decide if continuing with that relationship is the best choice for you own well-being.
No matter what your situation is, there are definite benefits and reasons for why you should wait to date. Here, we’ll explain some of them as well as how dating affects you and your recovery.
Recovery and You
When you sober up, a lot of things are going on physically, socially, and psychologically. Many factors contribute to why you used or drank in the first place. Treatment and recovery are all about finding out what those are and how to prevent it from happening again in the future. Chances are, you will likely be an entirely different person when you are sober than you were when you were using.
In recovery, you will have to learn how to deal with life’s situations without the aid of drugs or alcohol. Also, you will have to learn how to socialize and what your new likes and dislikes are. Essentially, you are in the process of becoming an entirely new person and getting to know yourself on a new level. It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Sober living brings with it a lot of small pleasures that people in addiction don’t get to experience.
In becoming a new person, you likely won’t be hanging out with the same people or in the same places that you used to. Many addicts form relationships with other addicts. Once they get sober, they realize how little they have in common with those people other than the addiction itself. No matter if you were into drinking or doing hard drugs like heroin, you’ll find that many of the people from your past no longer have a place in your life once you are sober.
Here’s Why You Should Wait to Date After Rehab
All of the above is reason enough to wait to date after rehab. You need to get to know yourself as a new, sober individual before you go sharing that with someone else. After all, if you don’t even know exactly who you are, how can you attract the right person into your life? As the saying goes, “you need to love yourself before you can love someone else.” In recovery, it’s all about loving and knowing your sober self before you can turn your attention to a relationship.
In early recovery, you are fragile. Unfortunately, many people relapse in early recovery. The people who relapse often do so in groups. They also often do so because they form the wrong relationships. When the focus is turned from recovery to relationships and hanging out, priorities become shifted. The less attention you put on your own recovery, the more of a danger relapse becomes.
If something goes wrong with a relationship you form at 32 days sober, you’ll have no idea how to handle it without turning to drugs or alcohol. Situations like these are a leading cause of relapse, so ensuring you don’t put yourself in such a situation is the best way to avoid it.
Learn to Love Yourself and Wait to Love Others
They say a year is a good time to wait to date after rehab. While this may vary- some people may wait eleven months while others hold off for a year and a half- it is a good general rule of thumb. It’s a long enough amount of time to allow you to get to know your sober self on a deep level. You’ll also likely have encountered some rough situations that you made it through sober, and that is something to congratulate yourself for!
After a year, you’ll be able to find someone who is the right fit for you. You’ll be more likely to be attracted to someone who is sober also and has your best interest in mind. Dating anytime earlier than that would be a disservice to yourself, your recovery, and the other person.
For information on how gender-specific treatment and sober support networks can benefit women in early recovery, contact Willow Place for Women at 1-888-651-4212.