So you’ve roped together a few days or weeks of sobriety and you are starting to feel human again. Maybe you’re riding the pink cloud and it feels like nothing can stop you. Hopefully, you’ve gotten a sponsor and started working your steps. At this point, you might have even found yourself a little cutie at a meeting or in treatment. But beware, dating in early sobriety can be a serious danger to your long-term recovery.
Take it From Me
When I first got sober, I was in a treatment center that sort of felt like a summer camp for broken and miserable grown ups. The center was fueled by sexual tension as it was co-ed and a lot of people were linking up. For the first week or two, I refrained and really stayed focused on the program. Until one day, a poor broken soul caught my eye and it was all over. I started worrying about the outfits I was wearing, I tried to constantly place myself in situations where I could be around them, and sometimes, I was consumed by fear and jealousy when I saw them flirting with someone else.
When we got out, they moved into a flop house and could have guests over at any time. Obviously, we made some bad decisions but after a few months, we found out we were pregnant. One of us relapsed, and the other was picked up on an old warrant and put in prison for a year. Needless to say, this was not a match that God had intended for us. This was our own will run riot.
If you think about it, treatment and early AA’s are usually people who have been obsessive, manipulative, and controlling for a good portion of their lives. Why anyone would think that dating someone with these same tendencies after only a few short days of sobriety is foolish, and I can tell you from experience, it definitely takes one’s mind off their own recovery.
What are the Pros and Cons of Dating in Early Sobriety?
Let’s look at the cons first.
- Focusing on other people takes your focus off of yourself.
- It distracts you from the fact that you are here to find a new way of life.
- There can be a lot of unmet expectations and hurt feelings.
- We do not yet know how to live without drugs and alcohol, and adding someone else into the mix is selfish to ourselves and them.
- We are often easily persuaded in early sobriety, it is extremely common for these couples to relapse together.
- Many women have a history of codependency along with their addiction which can trigger a lot of negative emotions and lead to relapse.
- To put this bluntly, there is a huge risk of STD’s and hepatitis with addicts. A lot aren’t aware of them or just don’t care if they are carriers.
These are only a few bullet points, and I’m sure if anyone reading this has any experience in this topic, they could add a few more to the list.
The mix of Cons that come from the Pros of dating in early sobriety.
- You can feel confident about yourself again. But don’t come crying to me when you find out you break easier now that you’re sober.
- You won’t feel lonely anymore! However, you will learn that trying to fill that void with meaningless physical contact often leaves you feeling worse.
- It is something to do. Now you have an excuse not to look for a job or you have someone to go to a meeting with.
I know you’re probably thinking, well that won’t happen to me. I thought the same thing and I have sponsored many alcoholics who thought that was true for them as well. I heard people say, don’t date for your first year in sobriety, and the common smart ass remark was, it doesn’t say that in the big book.
Well that’s probably because in Bill and Bob’s day, people took their recovery very seriously. They started their steps immediately so they could learn that it was only fear and selfishness that drove them to seek comfort in one night stands and fleeting romance.
Years of unfelt feelings will come back to us, and we are very vulnerable in the early days of our sobriety. We don’t yet know how to deal with and analyze our feelings, and it really is a selfish act to try to involve someone else in our mess. Not only does it hurt ourselves, but it takes away from their sobriety as well.
We come into these rooms as broken people, but there is a beautiful possibility of a new life if we simply stay on the right track. We have been given the gift of desperation, and we should never lose sight of why we are here. Our old ways didn’t work for us, so what’s the harm in trying something new? I guarantee, if you hold out on that relationship, and give yourself time to grow, the perfect companion will be shown to you in time.
Need More Tips to Help an Addict or Alcoholic You Love?
If you or a loved one need help to overcome addiction, treatment is a proven effective option. If you are a woman looking for treatment, Wayside House can help you. A woman’s treatment center offers a safe, supportive environment and our programs are developed specifically to address the unique needs of women. Call us today at 800-655-0817, our trained specialists are standing by to help you or your loved one.