How Long Should You Be Single After Going Through Treatment?
After completing the demanding rehabilitation treatment process for addiction, the recovering addict is most vulnerable.
It is a common rule in early recovery to suggest that the addict abstain from intimate relationships for the first year after treatment. Often addicts will hook-up with other recovering addicts after treatment and that becomes a dangerous union. If one addict becomes weak and slips into relapse, the other addict almost always follows suit.
It is a known fact that many addicts form co-dependent relationships. The instability of a co-dependent relationship is that it creates an environment for an addict to become more emotionally unstable. When the relationship begins to breakdown the addict will look for an escape to work off the pressure; usually in drugs or alcohol. This is an unhealthy place for a recovering addict to be during early recovery. Even if the addict begins a relationship with a fairly stable person, it will interfere with his or her need to focus on himself or herself and recovery.
Getting clean and sober is the best gift that an addict can give to himself or herself, and remaining sober is a top priority. There is still much work to be done holistically in body, mind, spirit and emotions. This is a process and takes time. The addict owes it to himself or herself to discover true identity and potential without the influence of alcohol or drugs. It takes time to discover who you really are and not what you were told you were supposed to be.
Trying to be someone you weren’t may have been a precursor to addiction. Some people never discover their true selves and they go through life never feeling completely satisfied, and always trying to figure things out. Once you have established your true sense of self, you are ready to create a new life for yourself and begin to actualize your potential. This is a process that begins in therapy and continues after treatment. It is a process of throwing out the former negative beliefs and replacing them with the truth.
It is like a tree whose leaves are changing colors and dying off. The tree then lets go of its leaves when the time is right. Once that is done, the process of rebirth begins with new leaves and new colors. The shedding of former negative thoughts and behavior patterns allows the addict to discover his true self that was buried beneath. As his true identity emerges, the addict will become happier, more secure and empowered to begin his life again. He will be able to think more clearly and exhibit discernment and good judgment. This is a process that needs time and space to develop. It is a time of personal introspection and growth that will ensure a healthy, more productive future for the recovering addict. Involving oneself in a new intimate relationship will just detract from this process taking place.
Drugs and alcohol dull the senses, sexual desire and performance. Once an addict becomes clean his or her libido is re-awakened and they have strong sexual urges. This is not a reason to begin a relationship with someone. The recovering addict will have to extinguish the fires of lust the best way he can, and not have them overtake his reasoning abilities. Avoiding sexual attachments and emotional involvement will serve the addict well in the long run.
If an addict is having trouble staying single during early recovery, he or she should discuss it with his therapist or counselor. There may be underlying issues that are provoking him or her such as: abandonment issues, loneliness, fears of being alone and other emotional and psychological reasons. A relationship will bring more emotional and psychological issues with it, if the people involved have not been able to adequately become whole again. Early recovery should be a time to focus on improving the self, creating goals for the future and maintaining sobriety. Developing a good relationship with the self is the first step toward being able to develop healthy relationships with others.
Learning to love, understand and respect the self will improve self-esteem and create joy, peace and fulfillment in a recovering addict’s life. The addict owes it to himself or herself to complete the healing process by staying single during early recovery.