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The road to recovery is rocky and fraught with many obstacles. It’s very personal, but that doesn’t mean it is lonely. However, early recovery is extremely important to a successful recovery. Focusing inward and creating a healthy sense of well-being is going to work out better for the recoverer after rehab than looking outward to distractions like dating or possible replacement addictions.
Early recovery after rehab should be spent establishing boundaries, finding healthy routines, growing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, and seeking out and receiving support. Self-reflection is paramount, and self-help is important to re-establish a positive personal identity.
Social interaction is hardwired into our DNA, so we will want to seek out healthy relationships to benefit us mentally, emotionally, physically, and possibly spiritually. But when is it time to begin dating after rehab?
Often, waiting until at least a year of sobriety is great protocol. Add in dating after rehab a little too early, and you may end up replacing substances with love interests. You may put too much pressure on this person, use them as a life raft, and feel obliterated if the relationship ends. The various feelings related to love can fight and cause a bigger fire with the feelings you need to work through for recovery. So, here are some tips for dating after rehab.
Do make a commitment to not date someone else for at least a year. That way you will be able to keep yourself steady with enough time to properly build a healthy self. Do develop a supportive social circle. Seek out a sober group of friends to do things like go out for lunch or hikes. Do set goals and follow through on them. There are many new experiences to be had without drugs or alcohol. Also, do reach out. Especially to others whom you may have hurt prior to recovery. Don’t let a bad breakup before recovery linger and fester. Consult your support group, therapist, or sponsor to figure out how to find your way through reaching out to others.
The don’ts are far fewer. Do not keep secrets and do not try to simply “self-help” through difficult times. It’s right and good to trust and lean on people for help. And if you need help, especially in regard to dating after recovery then please call the Greater Essex Counseling Services at 973-623-7878.