Dating after dual diagnosis rehab in California can be both exciting and intimidating. You’ve come far in your journey to sobriety and have learned a lot about yourself. At the same time, recovery is a work in progress, so you will be entering a relationship while still healing. You will also have to be honest about your addiction and be prepared for the various reactions from others.
As you develop new relationships, we recommend keeping these tips in mind.
Give Yourself Time to Heal
It’s normal to feel vulnerable and lonely straight out of treatment, but it’s important not to jump into a new relationship too soon. You need this time to recover and focus on your needs. Starting a relationship too early can lead to trouble, and the stress of fighting or breaking up can jeopardize your recovery.
If you do want to date right away, recognize your motivations for why. Do you want the euphoric feelings of meeting someone new? Be careful not to replace one addiction for another. Do you feel incredibly lonely in your new life? Consider other ways to combat loneliness, such as spending time with supportive friends and family, practicing mindfulness and rediscovering your passions.
Seek Individual Therapy
Therapy is an important part of the healing process. Substance abuse problems typically stem from some type of trigger, such as mental illness, financial problems or relationship struggles. If you don’t work through these issues, they are likely to resurface in your new relationship.
Working with a therapist allows you to identify underlying causes for addiction. This way, you can work through past trauma or mental illness and come to terms with it. A therapist can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms when you’re feeling stressed, such as neurofeedback treatment.
Be Open About Your Recovery
You should never be ashamed of your recovery. Being in recovery is something to be proud of. Although you can’t control how people respond to your past drug and alcohol abuse, it’s not an excuse to hide it. Be open and honest about your addiction so that it doesn't creep up later in your relationship. You do not, however, have to divulge all the details. You are a different person now.
Manage Your Impulses
When you do start a relationship, take it slow. You may be tempted to move fast, especially if you’re feeling excited and want instant gratification. Refrain from making drastic decisions early in your recovery, such as buying a home or having children. Your recovery needs your full attention, and major life decisions can compromise its integrity.
Practicing self-care is important for your mental health, so when life gets busy, slow down and take care of yourself. Self-care varies from day to day but comes down to proper balancing of daily activities so that you don't feel overwhelmed. Some of the best ways to care for yourself include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, avoiding stress, spending time with others and treating yourself.
Many recovering addicts go on to form healthy relationships after outpatient rehab in Agoura. Your time will come, too. To establish positive connections with others, give yourself enough time to heal, enter relationships slowly and be honest about your recovery.