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Why You Shouldn’t Date in Early Recovery

It’s Tempting to Date in Early Recovery

Here’s why we should wait

Getting clean and sober is difficult, especially in the beginning. When we stop using substances to change how we feel, it can be very tempting to want to date in early recovery. After all, love is a drug. When we are dating someone new, our brains release the hormone, oxytocin. Oxytocin is a “feel good” chemical and it’s why we get butterflies and feel a little high when we’re in a relationship. Yet, despite the good feelings that romance brings, dating in early recovery can hurt us. In fact, nearly every program of recovery suggests that we should wait a year before starting to date.

I know a year sounds like a long time. I also know firsthand how dating in early recovery can jeopardize our clean time and our well-being. The first time I went to treatment, the men and women were separated and not allowed to communicate. Nevertheless, I had a relationship with a man at the facility. I left treatment him and was excited for my new clean life. But we got in a cab, and he directed the driver to a spot where he could buy drugs. I was high less than forty minutes after I left, and it took me TEN YEARS to get back to the program.

Mine is just one cautionary tale of why it’s suggested that we resist the urge to date in early recovery. It may feel like that is a huge sacrifice, but here’s what you stand to gain:

A Solid Foundation

Resist the temptation to date in early recovery and give yourself the gift of focusing on yourself. Go to meetings, get a sponsor you connect with, and begin working the steps. The programs of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous offer strong, supportive twelve-step programs that heal the brokenness that led us to use in the first place. With a strong foundation in early recovery, we build a bridge to a future that is more rewarding and beautiful than we can imagine.

A Chance to Have a Chance

Dating comes with the risk of heartbreak, overwhelming emotions, and distraction. The early days of recovery are difficult for every alcoholic and addict. We can’t afford to avoid our primary purpose – which is to get clean and sober and stay that way. Doing that now, in the midst of a raging opioid epidemic, can easily be the difference between life and death. When we stay focused on work the program, we truly have a chance to have a chance.

The Opportunity to Get to Know Who We Really Are

When we’re using, we often forget who we were before drugs or alcohol overtook our lives. Sometimes, trauma and mental illness has prevented us from ever having a healthy self-esteem. And some of us have been in abusive romantic relationships in the past and don’t know what a good relationship actually is. When we work the steps, we heal past trauma, and we discover our true worth. If we date in early recovery, we aren’t bringing the best version of ourselves into a new relationship. Take time to get to know who you are while clean and sober. Then, when you do start a relationship, you’ll know your worth, and you’ll know what you really want from a romantic partner.

A Positive Residential Recovery Experience

Residential recovery offers the best chance for long-term recovery. Not only does residential recovery offer us structure and focus, but it gives us the chance to attend meetings, get any medication we may need straightened out, seek counseling for ourselves and our families, form new friendships with sober people, get sponsors, and have time to focus on step work. More than that, long-term residential recovery programs allow us to get months of clean time under our belt. Relapse is always a possibility with the disease of addiction. But the tools offered in residential recovery programs allow us to go back into the world with confidence.

Commit One Year to Solid Recovery

You won’t regret it

The pain of addiction never gets easier. It hurts us, our families, our children, our careers, and everyone that cares about us. We can break that cycle and recover. To do that successfully, it’s important for us to refrain from dating in early recovery. Make that commitment to yourself because YOU ARE WORTH IT. And because once you have a solid recovery program in place, you have the rest of your life to find the romantic partner you deserve.

Don’t Suffer with Addiction for Another Second

Contact us. We’re here to help!

As they say in Narcotics Anonymous, “We Do Recover.” When we are stuck in the cycle of addiction, that sounds impossible, but it isn’t. Millions of people have recovered using the twelve-step model of recovery paired with a residential recovery treatment facility.

Please contact us if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction. Our team is committed to saving lives, offering hope, and helping addicts and alcoholics discover a new way of life.