Steer Clear of Emotional Entanglements – Relationships

If you go into treatment or if you go to a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. You will be advised to avoid having a new relationship when first in recovery. This can be difficult advice to take on board.

First, many of us have lost our old relationships through our behaviour while drinking and using. Not surprisingly, after many months, even years of watching us get more and more addicted to drink or drugs, our partners reached the end of their tether and decided enough was enough. Now clean and sober we have to admit that we can’t blame them. Would we have wanted to live with us? Nonetheless, we are now on our own and lonely. As our self worth returns, we begin to take an interest in how we look and our appetite for life and relationships returns. One of the first feelings that returns for many of us is our libido.

Special Relationships

Managing a rehab clinic, this is something we have to look out for – so called ‘special relationships’. They are strictly forbidden in treatment centres for a number of reasons. They interfere with treatment as the couple start to focus on each other, rather than themselves; affect the dynamics of the group therapy. More importantly – if someone’s recovery becomes intertwined with a relationship, then when that relationship fails. Their recovery will also be at very great risk of going off the rails (alongside the other person’s if they are also in recovery).

Critically, we need to steer clear of emotional entanglements because in the first year of our recovery, we need to focus on ourselves and get ourselves firmly on the Twelve Step Programme of recovery.

Self Destructive

I know of several relationships that started either in rehab or in early recovery and I am sad to say that I know of none of them that lasted. We have even had a clinic baby (but not a marriage) but even that relationship did not last. Several people have indulged in a sexual relationship in which they met their partners in treatment but with no happy outcomes. One that I know of is still ongoing four months later but I can confidently predict it will self-destruct before the anniversary of one year arrives.

That makes me sound like a real pessimist but I am just a realist. And it has not been all plain sailing even for this couple as they are drug addicts who got clean together and have since relapsed together so are now back in active addiction together. Apart, focusing on their recovery, both would have had a fighting change. Together – sadly not.

I think the only real chance of having a successful relationship in your first year is if you get at least some months under your belt first and then meet someone who has years of recovery behind them. I have seen this work for a number of years in two cases but these cases were the rare exceptions rather than the norm.

The Haynes Clinic is an alcohol and drug rehab clinic which offers detox and counselling for people with addictions. It follows the Twelve Step Programme of recovery. Call 01462 851414 for free and confidential advice.