Taking the step to stop drinking and get sober is huge. A lot of people say you shouldn’t worry about dating and relationships when you’re in your first year of recovery. If you are already in a committed relationship when you get sober, that is one thing. But if you have been casually dating around or if you are single, you should try to stay single during the first year. Why? There are several reasons.
Your First Priority Should Be Your Recovery
With detoxification, rehabilitation for alcohol abuse (whether you need an inpatient or outpatient treatment program or both), and aftercare, you will be busy. It is hard to go through the processes you will need to go through to heal if you are focusing on your girlfriend or your boyfriend. Once you get into a recovery program, there will be a lot to do as well. You’ll need to go to meetings and work the program–whether it’s the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or the 4 points of SMART Recovery. If you have a sponsor in AA, they will likely discourage you from being in a relationship while you are working the first year of the program as well.
You Need Time to Focus on You
Anytime you have made a major change in your life, you will need to readjust to make sure you are taking the time you need to focus on yourself. This is especially true with the life-altering decision to get sober. You need to figure out who you are again. You need to figure out what you want to do, what things you enjoy, and what your goals in life are. Now that you don’t have the distraction of alcohol, you will have a lot more time to figure out what you want to be doing with your life.
You Need to Figure Out How to Date Without Drinking
If you’re anything like I was, when you were drinking, your life revolved around that. This means that anytime you started dating someone new, it was probably someone you met at the bar. Or if nothing else, you probably went on your first date at the bar. Dating while sober is a whole other ball game. Once you get into it, you will see that it is a lot more genuine, and you are a lot more likely to make good decisions.
You shouldn’t feel like you have to be rigid about this. If you’ve only been sober for eight months, but you meet someone special, obviously go with your gut. But this is a general timeline you should think about following. Once you have put in the necessary time you need for your own healing, you will be in a place to be in the most healthy relationship you’ve ever been in.