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Navigating the Dating Scene While in Recovery

Stress can occur when navigating the dating scene. You may be eager to return to your sense of normalcy after treatment, and dating might be at the top of your list. Undoubtedly, you have learned a great deal about yourself and created goals that you are hoping to work on in the here and now. This newfound awareness is something to be celebrated. You may find yourself wanting a connection with another person who understands you. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. However, it is important to consider the potential triggers that could arise in dating situations. Those triggers may interfere with your sobriety.

This blog will discuss how to know you are ready to date during your recovery. We will also cover finding a supportive partner and tips for maintaining sobriety when in recovery.

How Will I Know When I Am Ready to Start Dating in Recovery?

Many recovery programs advise you to wait at least one year before attempting to date when in recovery. There are several reasons for this concept. For one thing, the brain is healing from addiction. As with anything, it takes time to heal the brain and develop new ways of thinking and behaving.

Several programs, including 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), will provide you with several steps to work on within your recovery. Typically, you will work on each step and complete it before moving on to the next step. Completing this formula for healing takes time. If you worry about making a good impression, you may want to complete The Twelve Steps to allow yourself time to heal and work on yourself.

Stress and the Dating Scene

One of the top triggers in recovery is stress. Stress comes in all shapes and sizes and can affect you matter who you are or where you live. Stress is everywhere in life. Dating can add enormous stress for anyone, let alone those in recovery who are trying to navigate their sobriety.

When stress is present, you may be tempted to partake in your substance of choice. Meeting someone new can make you feel like you are in the clouds. However, when something does not go right, you may be tempted to utilize unhealthy coping skills.

To approach dating in a healthy way, you must understand your stressors. You also need to explore healthy ways to deal with stressors that are outside of your control. At The Guest House, we have experienced therapists who can guide you to understand what coping skills will work for you. With a therapist as an ally, you can explore your needs, wants, and boundaries in a relationship.

Why Are You Looking To Explore the Dating Scene?

Exploring your “why” will often indicate whether this is the right time to start dating in recovery. All too often, you want to date because you are lonely. However, when you are in treatment, you are surrounded by professionals and other people who share a passion for recovery. Arriving home can feel empty without all of the support a treatment and recovery setting can provide.

Sometimes, people think that dating is a prime opportunity to fill that void. It may go without saying, but being lonely is not a good reason to date. Instead of dating, you could form supportive connections through an alumni program or by volunteering within your community.

Signs That You Are Ready to Join the Dating Scene

No one knows you better than you know yourself. For that reason, no one can tell you when you are ready to date besides you. People around you may be for it or against it. However, the only person who will know if you are ready is you. Before you start looking around or decide to join a dating app, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you feel comfortable putting recovery first?
  • Are you able to handle stressful situations?
  • Do you feel confident in your recovery?
  • Are you content either being alone or with others?
  • Are you aware of healthy versus unhealthy coping skills?

Be Honest About Your Recovery in the Dating Scene

If you decide you are ready to date, you must be mindful of your recovery in all situations. Do not set yourself up for failure by not being honest about your recovery. One of the hardest things is to be honest about your past. You may be thinking about how much to disclose or what they need to know. What you decide to share is completely up to you. Be mindful that there is a chance that they may not want to date someone who is in recovery. That is not your fault. Everyone has different priorities and needs.

Remember Your Boundaries

Establishing boundaries as early as possible is essential in any new relationship. For example, if your date wants to go to a bar and promises not to drink, you need to let them know that is a boundary for you. You may be okay the first time someone drinks in front of you. However, this situation can lead to a slippery slope in recovery. You do not want to participate in anything that could cause a trigger. At The Guest House, we are familiar with triggers and how one simple thing can lead to a string of irrational thoughts. This is why we have dedicated ourselves to meeting you right where you are at.

Navigating the dating scene can be a joyous time in your recovery. You may be wondering whether you are ready for the next adventure in your recovery. Perhaps you are thinking about the joys of connecting with another person and sharing your life. Dating can be a fun time to explore your needs and wants in a relationship. However, it is important that you know what you need and want before starting a new chapter. At The Guest House, we understand transitions and how those times can be difficult. We value your recovery and will help you every step of the way. If you or someone you know is struggling, please give us a call at (855) 483-7800 today.