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Why Sobriety Should Be Your Only Valentine This Year

With Valentine’s Day approaching, you might be seeing ads featuring happy couples–happy because they bought something expensive, probably. Or maybe it reminds you of past Valentine’s Days you celebrate with wine and romantic dinners. Seeing all these happy couples around Happy Couples’ Day makes some single people feel lonely or depressed. Now that you’re in recovery, you might feel inspired to call up your ex, tell him or her you’re in recovery, and see where it goes from there. Or you might be considering asking out that person you keep running into at the coffee shop.

Generally speaking, that’s a bad idea. If you are newly in recovery, you have enough on your plate without trying to start or rekindle a relationship. It’s better to focus on essentials. Getting your life together requires a lot of changes in a short time. You have to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating healthy, and going to regular meetings and therapy. There’s a lot to fit in and it’s all directed toward one goal: staying in recovery.

Trying to start a relationship on top of all that needlessly complicates things. For one thing, it’s incredibly stressful, although we typically think of it as exciting. You have to find room in your schedule to spend time with a new person, you have to negotiate the problems of dating while sober, and if everything goes a certain direction, your sleep schedule might be severely disrupted. That’s all manageable if you are on solid footing and have some time in recovery, but when you’re just starting out, it’s a huge distraction from the most important things- like learning how to stay sober.

The worst case scenario is that a new relationship goes really well at first and then falls apart. How are you going to react to being dumped if you are a month or two into recovery? You are only beginning to learn how to handle your emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with them. That kind of rejection can cause depression, anxiety, loneliness, and feelings of shame or inadequacy, all of which are powerful relapse triggers.

When it comes to new relationships, it’s better to err on the side of caution. Most people agree that it’s best to have a year in recovery before you enter a new relationship. Some people say six months is enough, but that may be too ambitious. If you consider it takes about three months to form a new habit, and that at the very least you will need to make solid habits of adequate sleep, exercise, and meetings, so that all those are basically on autopilot, you would be hard pressed to accomplish that in six months, or possibly even a year.

Set a goal to be strong enough in recovery by next Valentine’s Day that you can celebrate in proper style. Until then, put all your energy into recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.