People in recovery can experience challenges the first few months of recovery or years later. Wide spectrums of emotions should be expected as sobriety opens up a whole new world of possibilities for renewal and growth. A large part of this is learning to build positive, health relationships. Repairing old ones and establishing new ones takes time and energy. Learn the keys to giving new relationships a chance and building long-term, fruitful bonds.
Early recovery is one of excitement and possibilities. While it may seem like being on top of the world it also brings a degree of loneliness. As a result, a person may feel seeking out relationships will fill the void and giving feelings of being loved and connected but it can also be challenge recovery. It takes focus away from the recovery principles before the firm foundation is set. No time table exists to accomplish this goal but making sure to take time that is needed for recovery first, before relationship building, can ensure a healthy, safe, return to sober living.
“One Year” Rule
When establishing a firm foundation in recovery, it helps to focus on intimate relationships later rather than early in recovery. Early recovery can be compared to being on an emotional rollercoaster a person is trying to figure out while also stabilizing emotions as a recovering person. Working on oneself and relationships already established can be healthy before adding new ones in. The one year rule is arbitrary but it is a solid reminder a person needs to spend a lot of time tending the garden first before going into the forest to seek greener pastures.
Enjoying Time Together (and Apart)
Healthy relationships skills include spending time together and apart. Whether friendships or more intimate relationships, people need to pursue personal goals without the other person as well as together. Overall well-being is not and should not be fully dependent on one another. People in recovery must be aware of developing emotional dependency in a relationship. There must also be adequate time devoted to enjoying the company of other people or pursuit of separate interests.
The journey to building healthy relationships is the backbone of long-term recovery. When it comes to handling the process of building new relationships and maintaining existing ones in recovery, it is helpful to understand that it takes a lifetime to be in recovery so it will be one step at a time, day by day learning. When a person is taking it slow, learning as he or she goes and is focused on positive recovery principles it can really help an individual maintain focus and stay clear headed for the journey.
Call the Villa to find out how we can help you seek out relationship building tools and skills as well as provide information about addiction recovery principles to benefit you or your loved one.