Recovery from an addiction is not exactly a cakewalk. The process itself can be quite challenging and is usually one of the hardest things an individual might have to go through in their entire lives. It is only natural that at this point, people undergoing such a recovery tend to feel lonely and alone. Any form of companionship helps. And while – in some cases anyway – certain friends and family members try their best to be there for their loved ones going through the process, sometimes this alone isn’t enough. This is why it isn’t rare to find recovering addicts turning to romantic love. But is it really a good idea to fall in love during addiction recovery?
Well, the answer isn’t quite as straightforward as one might think.
When Falling in Love Helps
The simple answer to whether or not it is advisable to fall in love during recovery from addiction is that it depends. There are certain situations where it might be a good idea, and there are certain situations where it is an absolute no. Everyone needs love, and the assumption might even be truer for people recovering from addiction. Recovery is a hard and often lonely road. If you have someone holding your hand or people providing support, be it, you’re one of the lucky ones.
If the person happens to be someone you’re romantically attracted to, that might be even better. Sadly, there are so many things that can go wrong by falling in love with the wrong person during the initial stages of recovery, that some discourage it. This is because the margin of error is quite thin, once you get it wrong all the good that could come of it goes away, and it is replaced by a world of hurt.
When Falling in Love is Harmful
As much as love is good, it can also be harmful in certain situations. During recovery from addiction, love, especially one that is expressed wrongly can lead to a relapse and undo one’s months or even years of progress. The addict is then forced to fall back on familiar destructive patterns for comfort.
There is also the risk of falling in love with a toxic person that might drive them to familiar patterns.
Below are some examples of scenarios wherein falling in love during recovery can be very harmful instead of beneficial.
When You Feel Too Volatile
Recent studies have shown that the part of the brain activated during romance is also the part affected by substance abuse.
In situations where one person begins to rely on the other for emotional support and self-esteem, this can lead to harmful behavior and relapse.
Romantic relationships require a lot of mental capacity to manage turbulence and a volatile relationship can trigger the recovering addict to fall back on addiction for comfort.
When You/They Feel Needy
Recovering addicts are often very vulnerable during the early stages of their recovery. Falling in love during that period might lead to them over-relying on the person they are in love with.
Falling in love during addiction recovery can lead to addicts relying on loved ones to make them feel better. It could also lead to a readdiction. It acts as a replacement for the previous addiction to invoke the high being provided by the previous addiction.
When Jealousy Comes into Play
Addiction leads to a lot of negative emotions and one of these emotions is jealousy. Addictions are often rooted in emotional struggles and a recovering addict is usually emotionally immature. They may have an irrational fear of their partner being unfaithful, experience insecurities, and become resentful of others.
This jealousy can often act as an excuse to relapse into addiction.
When They’re Controlling
Addiction often leads to loved ones paying close attention to the recovering addict. They might find it hard to trust the recovering addict due to previous occasions in which trust has been broken thereby straining the relationship and the recovering addict.
In a romantic relationship, this may lead to a situation where the partner is too controlling, which again leads to even less trust, which finally results in a completely unhealthy environment. And, of course, the last thing anyone needs as a recovering addict is to be in an unhealthy environment.
The Case for Being Single
Being self-dependent may help you heal faster
Even for people without a substance use disorder it is important that they can thrive on their own. While relationships are important, we must be careful that we don’t use them as a crutch to replace standing on our own. As a person in recovery, being single will help you focus solely on getting better. There’ll be no distractions of being worried you’re hurting someone which can make you overwhelmed and may lead to you to fall back into old patterns. It also takes off the pressure of wanting to be better out of love which may cause a relapse if the person you’re in love with goes away.
Your happiness won’t be dependent on others
Happiness and contentment are important requirements for persons recovering from addiction. Being single during addiction helps you be happy from within. It also helps you find happiness in ordinary things which helps with stability.
It is hard to give one’s focus to both a romantic relationship and recovery from addiction. Both are equally tasking endeavors, but addiction recovery is a journey to self-discovery that one must undertake alone. After stability is gained, one can then focus on romance.
Final thoughts on falling in love during recovery
Like all things about humans, the question of falling in love during recovery isn’t black or white. Some may thrive with love in the picture, while some may need to be alone to get better. The period of addiction recovery is where one begins to start a new life. While a romantic relationship is not recommended, support is nonetheless important.
Addiction Treatment in New Jersey
As we’ve seen above, the importance of a solid support system during recovery cannot be overestimated. If you’re looking for a program in New Jersey offering a strong support system and a track record of success, then you’ll do well to get in touch with us at North Jersey Recovery Center today.