It’s Valentine’s Day, the month of love, and if you are in a relationship in recovery, the holiday can serve as a reminder that it’s important to check in from time to time to determine whether or not your relationship is helping or hindering your recovery.
1. Your friends don’t think your partner is right for you. This is not to say that a friend’s irritation with your significant other is reason enough to drop them and move on. However, the people who are closest to you may notice things you don’t and take into consideration factors you may be glossing over because you are head over heels for your new partner. If most or all of them agree that this person is not suited to you, treats you badly, or is negatively impacting your commitment to your recovery, it’s worth it to listen and consider what they have to say.
2. There is a lot of drama. For many people in recovery, fighting and relationships seem to go hand in hand naturally. Why? Because emotional health is not possible in active addiction; thus, it can feel normal and even safe to continually battle with a partner at the drop of a hat. However, this is not a healthy way to live in active recovery. Rather, the focus in all relationships should be on mutual support and respect, honesty, and clear communication so both people can get their needs met healthfully. Screaming and yelling is a manipulation tactic used to try to bend a situation to one’s will, and if this is the go-to method for the two of you in handling any dispute, it is a cause for concern.
3. Your focus is on the relationship first and foremost. Your primary focus should be on your recovery. Before you schedule date nights or anything for anyone else, you need to make sure you are getting in to see your therapist, working with your sponsor, attending support groups and alternative therapies, and prioritizing all the self-care that will help you remain strong and confident in recovery. Though it is perfectly fine to prioritize a special day in your significant other’s life and make accommodations occasionally, it should not be the norm. If your recovery is going to be healthy, you cannot choose your schedule based on your significant other’s availability and spend every spare minute together. You need time to grow on your own independently in recovery.
4. Dishonesty is the norm. Trust is essential in every kind of relationship, and where your heart is concerned, this is especially true. If your partner often lies to you about whom they are with, where they are going, whom they are texting, if they are drinking or using drugs, and/or not making good on their commitments to you, it is a deal breaker. Not only should you be able to trust your partner, but they should be able to trust you as well. If you are often lying and hiding things from your partner, it is not healthy for you or your recovery. If you cannot address the situation proactively, it may be an indication that it is best for you to remain single a little while longer.
5. Your partner actively undermines your recovery. If your partner is actively attempting to stop you from going to 12-Step meetings, puts down all your friends in recovery, tries to convince you to go out with them to bars, or even tries to put a drink or some other substance in your hand, it is time to end the relationship. For many people, the relationship may not start out that way, but especially if both are in recovery at the start and one person relapses, it may not take long for them to attempt to pull the other person back into active addiction along with them.
Is your relationship a healthy and positive part of your life in recovery? How do you handle the ups and downs that come with romance and ensure that it does not impair your ability to stay sober?