People new in recovery often struggle with relationships. It is a common challenge facing people in recovery but it is an obstacle easily overcome with some support. Common advice in recovery revolves around waiting to be involved in romantic relationships for at least one year, maybe longer, once sobriety begins after recovery. Relationships can succeed but there may be lots of good reasons to wait.

Relationships in Recovery

One of the main reasons to wait to enter into relationships in recovery is vulnerability. In early recovery, sober living is a brand new concept. Sobriety brings up a rollercoaster of emotions that are difficult to handle. Building a strong foundation in sobriety is important before trying to engage with other people. Without drugs or alcohol, a person is more vulnerable until new skills and tools are developed around healthy habits and coping with life’s ups and downs. Relationships have beautiful, beneficial qualities but it is also harder to recover from the pain of a relationship while in recovery and not being triggered to use drugs or alcohol to cope with a broken heart. There is enough to worry about in recovery without adding more unnecessary stress, at least early on.

Relapse Challenge

If a person is serious about entering sobriety and staying clean, it matters who a person hangs out with, what decisions are made about where to live, work, and play and especially who to enter into new relationships with. A relationship puts a person in greater danger of relapse because of the focus put on time and attention for that other person rather than individual, personal development. Dedicating oneself to recovery takes a lot of energy and effort and when that goes to another person, it can feel draining. Relapse can be a real risk and challenge for people who are new to recovery, even if it has been a year or longer. Taking the time to go slow is the best way to handle relationships in recovery.

How to Handle Relationships

Any person who has another’s best interests at heart will want that person to focus on recovery and not pressure him or her to start a relationship too early. If a relationship has already begun, there may be challenges to that but it is not impossible to move forward. Determine if the relationship is worth more than sobriety and that will provide the necessary answer to the question of whether it is worth pursuing now or waiting for a better time. Building confidence and purpose in recovery are important so take the time to go slow and move forward with caution to give the best chance at a healthy recovery and healing the past before moving into the future.


We provide space to heal and tools that help you process how to enter into relationships in a healthy way. Cypress Lakes is committed to helping you decide what relationships are healthy and how to cope with life’s ups and downs outside of treatment. We will help you grow and provide the tools you need to be confident in making these decisions. Call us to find out how we can support your recovery by calling today:  866-217-2636