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Learn Something New

Enlightened Solutions’s Blog From Near Atlantic City, New Jersey

staying single

The Importance of Staying Single Your First Year Sober

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and it can be a difficult time for people in recovery if you’re not dating anyone. You’ve probably heard one of the main suggestions in early recovery is to stay single your first year, but that can be difficult when you’re feeling lonely this time of year. This is why you should know why this is such a major suggestion from people with more clean time than you. There are many people who don’t listen to this suggestion, and sometimes it even leads to a relapse. 

Early Recovery Takes All Your Energy

In your active addiction, your entire life revolved around drinking or using drugs. For many people struggling with addiction, getting drunk or high becomes a 24/7 job. When you have the courage to get sober, it takes a lot of work and energy. We say to work on staying sober one day at a time because even staying sober for just one day can be tough. Throughout the day, you’re dealing with both external and internal triggers that you have to navigate in order to maintain your sobriety. 

Although dating may seem like it’ll solve all of your problems, relationships take a lot of hard work and energy as well. During that first year of recovery, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to manage your time between making your recovery a priority as well as a relationship. This is especially true during that honeymoon phase of early relationships because couples often want to spend all of their time together, which can result in you putting your recovery on the backburner. 

The Fragility of Early Recovery

No matter how much clean time you have, relapse is only a few bad decisions away. Those with clean time have developed coping skills from treatment and 12-step programs that have become second nature to help them work through the difficulties they face in daily life. In early recovery, you’re still building your foundation, so it’s important to reduce your stressors and not add to them. One of the most stressful things on earth can be a relationship, and this is why it can be such a danger to your early recovery. 

Often times, when dating, it’s common to have rose-colored glasses and have complete faith that this relationship is going to work out. Unfortunately, as we learn in recovery, our expectations often set us up for failure. It’s difficult enough to deal with the challenges of work and family life in early recovery, but dealing with a breakup in early recovery is often more than a person can handle. Even during the relationship, something as small as an insignificant fight can be enough to make you want to pick up. 

You’ll be Grateful for Taking a Year Off From Dating

Finally, it’s also important to understand that many people in early recovery don’t know how to be in a relationship. In recovery, we learn that one of our main problems is that we’re selfish and self-centered, and this bleeds into different aspects of our lives. By taking that first year to completely focus on yourself, you’ll learn principles that will make you a better boyfriend or girlfriend by the time you’re ready to date again. You’ll look back at that year you spent single and working on yourself and be grateful that it helps you through any relationship challenges you experience for the rest of your life. 

And don’t forget, although you may feel lonely this time of year, you’re not alone. Here at Enlightened Solutions, not only are we here to help people get sober, but we help people stay sober through the support of our recovery community, so give us a call today at 833-233-7336.

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