Knowing if a recovery alumnus is ready for a romantic relationship is a difficult question, and each individual may have many questions, reservations, and uncertainties when preparing for such a commitment. Preparing for a relationship after graduating from one of our Hawaii drug treatment programs can be difficult. However, some may be excited at the prospect of pursuing these relationships in their own lives and may feel prepared to jump into these commitments with their newfound sobriety. Knowing the challenges of managing both a romantic relationship after treatment and ensuring that it does not come at the expense of their hard-earned sobriety and recovery efforts is a crucial skill before committing to this part of the journey.
The Risks of a Relationship After Treatment
Romantic relationships are always difficult, with each individual needing to be prepared to compromise and adapt to new situations, people, and perspectives. However, for those overcoming the use of addictive substances, there can be additional challenges when it comes to pursuing a romantic relationship too early in their recovery journey.
Alumni of a dedicated substance use treatment program are still making many changes to their lives, and jumping into these relationships too soon can bring a plethora of challenges. Changing values, social circles, and goals can inform the kind of people an alumnus may be romantically interested in. Some alumni may also approach these relationships with unhealthy expectations of physical intimacy without considering how it may impact their emotional state or needs.
Other alumni may romanticize what being in a romantic relationship may entail, with unhealthy expectations of how a potential partner may “fix” their situation. Moreover, some may look to romantic relationships to fill a void left by the cessation of addictive substances. Each alumnus must ask themselves a number of questions to ensure that they are not only approaching relationships with the right intentions but also have established their own skills to develop new healthy relationships.
Do I Feel Emotionally Stable and Comfortable in My Sobriety?
The recovery journey is wrought with mental health challenges, stress, urges, cravings, and much more. Graduating from a dedicated detox or residential treatment program at Hawaii Island Recovery does not mean that these stresses are over or that there will not be new triggers along the way. Before committing to a relationship after treatment, it is paramount to first ensure that each individual is capable of managing new stresses, urges, cravings, and more in their daily life.
Emotional instability, anxiety, depression, and more all affect those closest to each individual and can impact relationships of all kinds. Feeling out of control of a person’s emotions can greatly and negatively impact romantic relationships, leading to conflict, unhealthy expectations, breakups, and more. Working with peers to develop new strategies in outpatient care and discussing with professionals the continued recovery journey can all help to create robust and healthy approaches to emotional stability in recovery.
Am I Ready to Be Vulnerable?
Relationships must come with a degree of vulnerability in order to foster trust. Those in recovery must be emotionally prepared to discuss emotional needs and express these vulnerabilities with others, as well as able to receive expressions of vulnerability from others equally. Romantic relationships are times of change and compromise, and being open to personal change, continuing to practice resilience-building strategies in recovery, and otherwise being open to vulnerability for the health of oneself and the relationship is crucial.
Can I Clearly Communicate Needs and Boundaries?
Effective communication skills are crucial in any kind of relationship. Practicing effective communication skills with peers and professionals at Hawaii Island Recovery can ensure that individuals are prepared to use these kinds of personal skills within their romantic relationships. From being able to articulate needs and goals to active listening and effective conflict resolution strategies, practiced and proven communication strategies and skills are absolutely necessary and should be well-practiced before engaging in a romantic relationship.
These communication skills are also crucial for effectively compromising and setting boundaries with romantic partners, each of which can help alumni further continue their journey with sobriety while also fostering these relationships.
Why Am I Pursuing a Romantic Relationship After Treatment?
Romantic relationships after treatment can be incredibly enticing for those furthering their recovery journey. However, it is important to first ask why an individual wants to pursue these kinds of relationships in the first place. Romantic relationships should never be considered a way to “fix” challenges in life or simply to feel less alone. Pursuing a relationship after treatment due to a personal connection and shared expectations rather than as a way to address a perceived emotional lack is necessary for a healthy relationship after treatment.
Continue to Manage Your Sober Life
Relationships after treatment are complicated. Even if an individual feels prepared to take on such a relationship or is just beginning a relationship after treatment, continuing to engage in professional outpatient programs and local support groups and otherwise focusing on continued sobriety and personal recovery goals are paramount. The professionals and communities available through Hawaii Island Recovery can help each person determine when and if they are ready for such a relationship while providing the skills and guidance necessary to further their own sober ambitions.
Pursuing a romantic relationship after treatment is always possible, but there are a number of special considerations that those graduating from one of our Hawaii drug treatment programs should consider before taking this step. At Hawaii Island Recovery, we are committed to a sustainable and personalized approach to sobriety that empowers you to pursue your personal goals and develops a personalized treatment plan and continued support to help you pursue these ambitions safely while continuing to manage your daily sober life. For information on how we can continue to support you as an alumnus, or to discuss any questions or concerns you have about pursuing a relationship after treatment, call to speak to us today at (866) 390-5070.