According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Drug treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use,” a process that can be long and drawn out and often takes more than one treatment program or intervention. For these reasons as well as others, it isn’t usually considered to be advantageous for a person to start a romantic relationship during addiction treatment. However, it can also depend on the individual and their current state in their recovery.
Early Recovery and Treatment is Not the Time for Romance
In most cases, it is not recommended that someone in the early stages of addiction treatment begin a romantic entanglement, especially if they are beginning to fall deeply into this new relationship. Having a significant other can often be a source of strength, but for many fragile, recovering addicts, a new romance can become a distraction or even a detriment. This is because having new feelings of love for someone can cause intense emotions, not all of them pleasant, and this could possibly lead the individual toward relapse if they become extremely hurt or unhappy.
A romantic relationship is also a big distraction for individuals who should be focused on staying sober more than anything else. The beginning of recovery is difficult, especially with withdrawal symptoms and other changes that cannot be avoided, and throwing a new relationship into that mix can be very hard. It can be distracting when your main priority is your sobriety and your treatment, and you may begin to choose that relationship and maintaining it over these very important aspects of recovery.
Therefore, most medical professionals and treatment programs recommend that individuals not start dating until they have been in recovery for a year. This way, they will have had time to create a strong foundation for their recovery through treatment and to be stabilized on whatever treatment method they are using.
When Can I Begin a Romantic Relationship During Treatment?
After you have become stabilized and feel that your recovery is strong enough that you are not constantly looking after your actions––usually around the one year mark––you may be ready to begin a romantic relationship. However, some individuals meet others who interest them during their treatment programs, as these can sometimes continue on for longer than a year in many cases, and want to know if it is acceptable to begin dating while attending treatment.
There is a serious concern that two recovering addicts in a relationship can be dangerous, as one individual could relapse and take the other down with them. But if you are both in a place of steady recovery without any serious relapses for a long period, then you may be able to consider a relationship of this type. It can be beneficial to know that your partner understands what you are going through, but it is still important to be aware of what could occur in this instance.
Seek Addiction Treatment Now
Remember, an addiction treatment center is not designed to help you find romance. These programs can help patients “stop using, avoid relapse, and successfully recover their lives,” and it is always more important to focus on these aspects of treatment (NIDA).