Healthy Relationships While in Recovery

When you are going through the recovery process, maintaining healthy relationships is very important. While in recovery, all relationships should consist of healthy and positive support from all of the people involved. Surrounding yourself with an encouraging support system who have your recovery and your best interests at heart is key during this time. Avoiding former negative influences is important in helping you avoid potential relapses. Relationships aren’t easy under the best of circumstances, but when you are in recovery, even the strongest of bonds can be tested. Following some basic guidelines can be key in helping you to maintain your sobriety.

Keep Recovery as Your Main Priority

Keeping your recovery as your main priority is emphasized over and over in drug recovery programs and it is done so for a number of reasons. Taking care of yourself and your needs above all others is necessary to maintain the sobriety that you have worked so very hard to achieve. The vicious cycle of substance abuse is one that is complex and has taken time to develop. There is no exact timetable when you will be completely “healed”; you need to take all the time you need to focus on your needs and doing all things necessary to ensure that you maintain your physical and psychological health.

Recovery means so much more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Recovery entails continually working through the root psychological issues that kept you stuck in addiction as well as repairing and restoring the relationships with family and friends that may have been compromised as a result of your substance abuse. When you are actively taking steps to take care of yourself, you will be able to truly connect with others on a deeper level.

Take Relationships Slow

The most important relationship when you begin recovery is with yourself. When you are ready to begin dating again, the “One Year Rule” is strongly recommended while in any type of recovery treatment. The general view behind the suggestion is that it is a good idea to avoid anything that will distract from this time of self focus. Extra distractions such as worrying about relationships can diminish your chance for a successful recovery. The first year of recovery ought to be devoted to yourself and to letting your body be less dependent from any drugs or alcohol that you’ve been using. You might not feel like yourself at first and you will possibly feel extra cranky and moody. Adding a relationship to what is already a challenging time can oftentimes lead to results that set back your recovery process. Give yourself time. Process any negative feelings that you’ve been suppressing for years. Get to the root of your addiction.

Know When To Walk Away

When a relationship starts to impede the recovery process, it may be the best to simply walk away altogether. When you are working so hard to get better, it is crucial that no unnecessary stress causes a chance for a relapse. Often, especially when you’re in recovery, you will find that you simply need to say that you need to step back for a while from those who do not support you or do not have your best interest at heart. The truth is that no matter how much you care for those that you have bad relationships with, the situation is negative and it is hurting your recovery efforts.

Avoid Being Hard on Yourself

Above all else, it is extremely important that you go easy on yourself and treat yourself with compassion. One of the main reasons you may have given in to addiction in the first place were feelings of inadequacy and/or self-loathing. Thoughts such as, “I’m not worth anything” or “my life isn’t important anyway” are incredibly harmful to anyone’s self worth. The best thing you can do is practice self-affirmations such as “I’m a worthwhile person” and “I deserve the best life possible.” Because you do! And you are.

When you are finally ready to start a relationship, be kind to yourself and to your partner as well. Recovery can be hard—on you both. Kindness and compassion can go a long way in smoothing the many bumps and bruises that go along with the recovery process. Taking it one day at a time and being compassionate can make the difference between success and failure, in both your recovery and your relationship.

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