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When we’re working to recover, it’s clear to us that we want to abstain from our addictive substances and behaviors. What is often less clear to us is how beneficial it can be to abstain from dating and relationships as well. Some of us identify as being love and sex addicts, so our relationships are one of the most problematic elements of our addictions. Others of us may not identify as such but experience attachment, addictiveness, obsessiveness and compulsiveness in our relationships. Even when we’re not aware of it, our relationships often bring with them a lot of toxicity and unhealthiness that are contributing to our addictions. We use sex, romance and affection to distract us from our emotional pain. We seek refuge from our addictions in other people. Our relationships can themselves form the basis of our addictive behavior.

When we’re embroiled in unhealthy relationships, it is often because we don’t have a healthy relationship with ourselves. We’re battling mental health issues alongside our addictions, and we’re suffering from deep self-hatred and self-rejection. Our relationships become our distraction from our own internal issues, but when we try to avoid our issues rather than confronting them, they fester and grow worse, causing our relationships to suffer as well. We’re caught in cycles of emotional unwellness, relationship turmoil, addictive patterns and inner dissatisfaction, all of which compound each other, worsening our addictions and mental health issues.

Choosing abstinence while we’re recovering gives us a chance to heal our minds, heart, bodies and spirits from all the accumulated pain of our relationships, addictions and illnesses. We’ve been contending with so many things all at once, and there’s only so much we can take. We often will experience a breakdown, or hit “rock bottom” before we finally make the conscious decision to work on our healing. Part of our recovery needs to be giving ourselves the space and time we need to focus on ourselves. We need to be able to prioritize ourselves and our well-being, without feeling the obligation and pressure of maintaining a relationship. We need to focus on healing ourselves, without trying to make a relationship work. We can’t have a healthy relationship with another person until we’ve healed our relationship with ourselves. Abstinence during recovery gives us the chance to work on ourselves, to learn how to love ourselves, and to give our healing our full energy.

Riverside Recovery is committed to your healing and to helping you find happiness. Call (800) 871-5440 today for more information on our treatment programs.

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