Is anyone ever ready to date in early recovery?
Anyone who asks me if they should date in their first year of recovery will get the same answer…WAIT until you have a strong spiritual foundation and a solid relationship with yourself. Nobody knows exactly how long that will take but, you’re certainly not going to be ready in a few months and it honestly may take longer than a year.
When you’re ready you will have worked on yourself, cleaned out all the garbage you’ve been holding onto and you’ll love yourself enough to know how to be present in a healthy relationship. You’ll be relieved of your resentments and character defects and you’ll be in a place where you truly love and accept yourself. It’s unfair to get into a relationship when you can’t give love and you certainly can’t give what you haven’t got. I understand it can be hard, we want to love and be loved, which is exactly why it’s important to wait. Needing to fill avoid by feeling loved is a recipe for disaster and you’ll know when you’re truly ready.
I can tell you from experience because I realize now I definitely was not ready to date.
I threw myself into a relationship at almost four months sober and I really wish I had waited. We ended up projecting our own fears and resentments onto each other and my character defects where soaking it up! I was unknowingly taking all the energy in that situation and making it my own. Trying to fix him and control everything around me. When I look back to the beginning it was new and exciting but, I simply didn’t have the tools to see the red flags and the relationship wasn’t healthy. I was trying to fill a void and it took some time and a lot of pain before I saw the behavior for what it was and stopped trying to control the situation.
Only those who know what we have endured in this disease can understand the mental state we’re in when we first start working a program.
On the outside we may even look happy and healthy to the rest of the world. In early recovery we may have so much hope and love for life we can’t even see that we’re still sick. We also don’t know where the other person is at emotionally. We become master manipulators and it’s really difficult to see the truth in a situation when we’re lying to our self unless we have a clear mind and heart…something which I hadn’t yet developed. When we believe what we’re putting out there it can look so real that it’s easy for others to believe it too, especially when we’re still learning how to deal with our own emotions and fears.
That being said I had a huge part in the destruction of that relationship; I allowed behavior, I tried to control the situation and put too many expectations on him. As time went on I started to build up a strong relationship with myself. This manifested a whole new set of problems personally and in the relationship. I spent so much energy worrying about him, and clinging to the relationship, that I didn’t see the truth…that I was outgrowing him. Not that he wasn’t growing; we just change so much the first year it’s easy to grow apart and at different paces. I simply wasn’t ready to date and I’ve made my amends to him as well as myself.
There were so many things I would have done differently in that relationship if I was in the emotional space I’m in today. Honestly, I don’t even know if that relationship would have made it the few months it did if we had met today. We can only meet someone as deeply as they have met themselves. Needless to say the relationship didn’t last long and it’s no wonder – two sick alcoholics do NOT make for a happy future.
It’s hard to fathom just how much you grow the first year of your spiritual journey, but I can tell you I am such a different person today then I was then. Dating in early recovery isn’t easy
Until I had a solid foundation for my own beliefs, a clear mind and true self-acceptance how could I expect myself to be in a healthy loving relationship? I was still harboring so many self-destructive behaviors and all that energy would’ve been put toward working on me. That being said, I believe in a way it helped me in my journey toward self-love and acceptance. It showed me what a healthy relationship is not and today it’s a good reminder of where I was at with my emotional sobriety so early on.
Also, be conscious and aware of anyone who wants to get into a relationship with you in early recovery. What are their motives, where are they at in their own personal program and are they concerned about where you’re at mentally? I didn’t have the confidence or an understanding of how fragile I was to ask those questions back then. Another sign I simply wasn’t ready. There’s always a lesson and the beauty in this is I get to share that experience with others and hopefully they’ll will wait to get into an intimate relationship until they’re spiritually and emotionally fit.
Time on a journey does not always constitute quality time spent working on you so, make sure you love yourself first.
Chances are you’ll have two sick people trying to make a healthy relationship and that just doesn’t make sense. Worse yet it can be disastrous and I’m so grateful I kept working on myself and no matter what was presented – I stood strong in that.