A love life seems to be par for the course when you’re an attractive man or woman here in Santa Monica. No matter where you look, it seems like just about everyone has a significant other. However, dating during treatment isn’t always as cut-and-dry as dating outside of treatment usually tends to be. While treatment definitely doesn’t mean that we can’t be involved in relationships with others, there’s something to be said for waiting until after treatment before pursuing a love life, or even casual dating. One big benefit of rehab in Santa Monica is that no matter whether we’re dating or not, there’s so much sober fun to have here that we’ll hardly have time to think about romance.
Why should I wait to date?
As lovely as the men and women of Santa Monica are, waiting before we get involved romantically is a rule of thumb that makes sense to follow. Many Alcoholics Anonymous-based groups emphasize the one year rule– a rule that basically advises people just entering recovery to wait until one successful year of sobriety before making any big changes to their lives. According to psychologist Anne Lewis, waiting until after treatment– whether it’s one year or longer– isn’t just a way to prevent us from having any fun. It’s actually beneficial for our sober health. “The first year of sobriety is fraught with challenging issues,” she says. “It will be easy for many to find replacement addictions, such as a love addiction, to replace the high the drug or alcohol provided.”
When we jump into a relationship too quickly while in treatment, we run the risk of getting hooked on another drug– love or lust. While this drug might not be one we’re ingesting, it affects our bodies and brains in much the same way a physical drug does. Treatment works best when we’re completely devoted and dedicated to it– and even though an outpatient treatment facility like ours is devoted to providing treatment that still allows our clients to live their lives, the concept behind outpatient treatment is providing clients with the ability to continue to work or go to school– not date! Dating during treatment has the capacity to be a huge distraction, even if we don’t realize it or it doesn’t seem like it would be. Furthermore, dating can introduce a whole new array of stressors and temptations that can complicate the methods we’re currently learning in treatment.
Another reason it always pays to wait until after treatment to date is because we can often be at our most vulnerable during treatment. As we learn to peel back our layers and dig deeper into the thoughts and perceptions that contributed to our addiction, we can find ourselves grasping for things or people to lean on. This is what our recovery family is for. When we’re going through a rough patch in therapy, or need help willing ourselves to dredge up some of the issues that are buried down deep, our recovery family can provide the uplifting emotional and spiritual support we need to help us keep going. With a relationship, there’s always the possibility of being manipulated or taken advantage of by a person that’s decided to prey on our weakness. To be frank, we just don’t really know the intentions of the people we meet, and it’s more beneficial for our recovery if we’re able to limit both distractions and possible complications that can come from dating during treatment. The benefit of rehab in Santa Monica is that there are many recovery communities that can provide us with the support we need during treatment– so we don’t have to go looking for it in a relationship that might distract us from our sobriety goal.
Finally, it’s wise to wait to date because dating during treatment is often not fair to us, our romantic partner, or the relationship as a whole. Many dating relationships frequent areas known for alcohol, like bars and nightclubs. One of the biggest Sunday morning pastimes, after all, is brunch mimosas. Furthermore, Santa Monica alone is home to dozens of bars, and we barely have 100,000 residents. When we date during treatment, we often have to keep ourselves and our partners tucked away from environments that are quite normal for couples to frequent. Our partner may not be able to have a drink themselves, because even the taste of alcohol on their lips could be enough to cause us to relapse and flush months of treatment down the drain. This unconventional means of dating could lead to resentment, jealousy, and anger later on down the road, even if it doesn’t seem like an immediate issue. There’s nothing worse than adding unnecessary complications to a recovery journey that is supposed to help us learn to cope with complications and stressors.
Knowing the right time to date doesn’t have to be challenging, and, once we’re confident in our sobriety, dating can be a great way to get back out on the town and enjoy life with someone we care about. When deciding when to date, we just have to remember one thing: our sobriety is most important.
Thrive Treatment is an outpatient treatment center in Santa Monica, California that teaches our clients to uphold the nuts and bolts of life so that they don’t just beat addiction– they become better, stronger, more independent people from it. Addiction is a mental illness that requires dedication and commitment to control. Our process helps clients focus on the task at hand, and minimizes distractions that could dilute the impact of treatment. One benefit of rehab in Santa Monica is that we get where our clients come from, and we use all of the resources available to us to help make the treatment process as efficient as possible. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started today.