Recovering people often have learned to either shut down and hold in their emotions for fear of being hurt or to romanticize their relationships and fall in love at the first opportunity, without discriminating.“In treatment, people learn new skills that need to be practiced before they are able to make them part of their daily life without returning to old patterns,” she explains.

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Codependent individuals focus too heavily on the needs of their partner (“My happiness is dependent on making/keeping you happy”), and define themselves by their relationship, sometimes lowering their personal standards to please someone else.

Some women choose abusive partners in early recovery because they lack discernment or grew accustomed to being treated poorly in childhood.

“It is commonly recommended in the recovery community to avoid romantic relationships for the first year, because most of us are just beginning to get to know ourselves and to define our values,” Desloover says.

“We have to learn to love ourselves before we can love someone else.” People in recovery might choose to date a very different type of person when they first quit using as compared to when they have achieved a year of sobriety, observes Desloover.

They may have other mental health issues, compulsions and cross-addictions that need to be addressed as well, before they can truly focus on a relationship. The focus of the first year in recovery should be on working your program, practicing the 12 Steps and meeting with your sponsor, counsels Desloover, not on the distraction of relationships. Desloover asks her clients, “Would you want to date you right now? Early in recovery, people tend to have high expectations of others without thinking about what they themselves are bringing to the table.

Only when people know who they are and what they have to offer can they find a mate who is an appropriate match for their values, interests and goals.

The first few months of recovery from addiction are some of the most difficult.

Insomnia, triggers, drug cravings, and the need to deal with emotions that were previously numbed with drugs make early recovery a period of enormous adjustment.

Desloover also advises newly recovering women to attend women-only 12-Step meetings during that first year.

By working your program, you will discover who you are and what you can bring to your relationships, rather than what you can get from them.

Many recovering addicts benefit from ongoing support to help them work through their insecurities, build confidence, and learn to feel and express emotions in healthy ways.