Why Wait to Begin a New Relationship in Early Recovery?

Why Wait to Begin a New Relationship in Early Recovery?

Early recovery is a very vulnerable, delicate time. For some, it might even be the first time in their lives that they are not relying on the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with their problems and daily stressors. Those who have completed treatment after being addicted to drugs or alcohol require time to rebuild both their lives and themselves. Early recovery is a period of self-discovery and establishment of oneself. Therefore, it is important for individuals to protect themselves from events that could compromise their early stages of recovery. For example, addiction recovery and a new relationship are two things that most professionals advise against combining, and for several reasons.

Early Addiction Recovery and a New Relationship Can Be Detrimental to One’s Progress

If you have completed an addiction treatment program, you can be sure that you have made a great deal of progress in your recovery. You might even start living your daily life feeling like you are on top of the world! But, it is crucial to remember that while you may feel great, you are still in the early stages of recovering from a fatal disease. Taking your time and doing it right is absolutely essential to your continued success. 

Someone Special

It is normal to want to share your life with someone special, even during a time when you are working on building yourself back up. People love love, and being without it is extremely difficult for many. But, jumping into your early addiction recovery and a new relationship is not something that is typically recommended. That is because doing so can compromise the work you have already done and the work you continue to do in the following ways.

Pressure to Impress

Everyone, no matter what point in their life they are at, always strives to make the best first impressions with a potential significant other. Sometimes this means that people sacrifice their needs to appeal to the needs of another. If you are in early recovery, this is not something you should put yourself in a situation to do. You run the risk of compromising your needs at a time when your needs should be put first, rather than the needs of a potential partner.


You have likely grappled with dependency in your life if you have recovered from drug or alcohol addiction. It can be very easy for someone who has dealt with dependency to mind-altering substances to find themselves struggling with relationship dependency. It does not always happen, but it is common. What can end up occurring is that you start looking to your significant other to help you determine how you feel, what you want to do, and even what you want to wear or want to eat. At this time, it is so important that you look to yourself to answer these questions and to establish your own emotional resilience rather than rely on someone else. 

Relationship Woes

Every relationship has its ups and downs, and it is not abnormal for those in newer relationships to butt heads as they work to define boundaries with one another. When in early addiction recovery and a new relationship, however, both big and small arguments can be triggering. For example, say you and your partner get into a fight and break up. There is potential that you may still be working on sharpening the skills needed to manage rejection and anger properly without turning to drugs or alcohol. If you are not yet emotionally established in this way, you may act on impulse and start using again as a form of comfort and release.


Early recovery and a new relationship do not always go hand-in-hand, especially because of the distractions a new relationship can create at this time. You might find yourself situations where your partner is wanting you to do something that takes away from your recovery. For example, you may spend your Saturday mornings at a 12-Step meeting but your significant other wants to go out for breakfast instead. It is possible that you start becoming distracted by their wants as opposed to standing firm in what your recovery needs are. Your self-care routine can also be interrupted if you are in early addiction recovery and a new relationship is occurring. While you partner may not be attempting to distract you on purpose, it can happen and can make your recovery less stable.

Focus on Yourself First

It may sound selfish, but early recovery is the time to be selfish. You likely have a great deal of work to do to help reestablish yourself, therefore attempting to split your focus can be gravely detrimental to your progress. Relapse is imminent if you begin to ignore your recovery needs, regardless of it is because you love someone else and want to be with them. The best thing you can do for yourself is wait until you are further along in your recovery prior to starting a new relationship with someone else. Not only will you benefit from doing so, but so will your partner who will be getting a better version of you. 

Drug Rehab in Denver, CO

If you are ready to make changes in your life to support your wellbeing, reach out to us at Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado right now. We can help you get on the right track so that your recovery can set you up for a lifetime of success.