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They may have other mental health issues, compulsions and cross-addictions that need to be addressed as well, before they can truly focus on a relationship. The focus of the first year in recovery should be on working your program, practicing the 12 Steps and meeting with your sponsor, counsels Desloover, not on the distraction of relationships. Desloover asks her clients, “Would you want to date you right now? Early in recovery, people tend to have high expectations of others without thinking about what they themselves are bringing to the table.
Only when people know who they are and what they have to offer can they find a mate who is an appropriate match for their values, interests and goals.
Desloover also advises newly recovering women to attend women-only 12-Step meetings during that first year.
By working your program, you will discover who you are and what you can bring to your relationships, rather than what you can get from them.
In most cases, individuals who can’t refrain from having a relationship in the first year of recovery are missing an opportunity to address the core issues underlying their addictions.
Recovering people often have learned to either shut down and hold in their emotions for fear of being hurt or to romanticize their relationships and fall in love at the first opportunity, without discriminating.
“In treatment, people learn new skills that need to be practiced before they are able to make them part of their daily life without returning to old patterns,” she explains.
We teach people how to treat us, so with longer term recovery, we are going to demand to be treated differently than when we are new to recovery.” Recovery is hard work that requires a full-time commitment.
Returning to daily life without the security of being able to use drugs as a coping mechanism can be terrifying, particularly when drug cravings and triggers to use set in.
The first few months of recovery from addiction are some of the most difficult.