If there was one piece of advice I can confidently say I ignored when I was in treatment, it was the warning to not get into a rehab romance. Many of us fall victim to this trap, so much so that the act got its own name, and a whole lot of stigma. You may ask if we are warned so highly against it, why are so many newly recovering addicts and alcoholics so easily swayed towards a fling in treatment? The answer may be a little different for everyone, but it’s safe to say, the dangers of a rehab romance can be detrimental for those newly recovering.
First of all, let me start by saying that if you have been in a treatment fling, you are definitely not alone. As we come into treatment, we are vulnerable, lonely, afraid, and highly self-seeking. Which is why it is baffling that we think involving another person with the same traits into a sick and twisted love affair would ever seem like a good idea. Nonetheless, we do it. The reason being? We have a void in ourselves, an internal malady that we have been soothing with drugs and alcohol for a very long time. When we remove our long time remedy, we find that we strive for external validation, whether it be from a crush, our friends, or even acting out in groups for attention.
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Why Do We Think Rehab Romance Is A Good Idea
For many of us, entering into a rehab romance is not something that we premeditate. However, with our new found emotions raging, and being surrounded in close quarters with exciting new strangers, we find that we may just naturally begin to develop attraction towards another. Obviously, this is misplaced affection, as we are merely only looking for validation, but it can still sometimes feel like this person is our soulmate.
Regardless of how many people tell us that rehab romances are dangerous, we don’t always heed their warnings. We like the attention we get from this person. It makes us feel good, makes us feel important. However, the danger lies in the fact that when we are taking the attention off of ourselves, we are losing ground in our recovery. We focus more on how we look, how we act, and how the other person sees us. Obviously, the fear of losing our precious sobriety may not matter to some people, so let me give you a first-hand example on how I was affected by a rehab romance.
When I first got to treatment, it seemed like summer camp. A bunch of young people my age were outside playing volleyball, others were at the pool, and kids were all hanging out smoking cigarettes and drinking Kool-Aid. The air was thick with sexual chemistry and pent up emotions. Having just come from a string of broken long term relationships and embarrassing one night stands, I wanted nothing to do with the opposite sex. I cooperated in groups, I took my prognosis very seriously and took the suggestions of my therapists and the techs on site.
After a few weeks, I really started to feel better. Sure, my self-confidence was absolutely shattered and I had nothing positive to offer anyone except at the very least a short conversation about the weather, however, I started to build a crush on another client in my center, and vice versa. We started hanging out, sneaking out of groups, and trying to find places behind bushes to make out when no one was around. I was like a 22-year-old going on 13. I stopped caring about groups, I felt myself acting out and becoming disrespectful, and I started having reservations on if I was really an addict.
He graduated and left the program, and a week or so later, I followed. We met up, things got physical, and it lasted a few weeks until slowly we stopped talking. A month later, I found out I was pregnant. When I tried to contact him, I found out he had been extradited back to his hometown on a warrant and was sentenced to a few year term in prison.
So here I was, a couple months sober, pregnant, alone, and without a program. I hadn’t made any sober supports, I had no money, and would be kicked out of my halfway if they found out I was pregnant.
So I did what I had to do, but let me tell you, the pain and the guilt and the shame that I experienced was worse than any that I had felt before during my using. Sure, I had dated scumbags before, and I sullied myself to get high, but I had no excuse for this. I was sober, I was an adult, and I still decided to let another selfish addict take advantage of me. I had made my bed, and now I had to lie in it.
How Can We Protect Ourselves From Rehab Romances
Let’s be honest, I’m sure you have heard your therapists and techs advise you against rehab romances. We scoff and doubt them and assume, “Well I’m smarter than that” or “That wouldn’t happen to me”. Yeah, well I thought the same thing.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The same way we treat our substance abuse, we can treat our need from external and physical validation.
All we have to do is realize that
-we are looking for a temporary solution to our problem
-we are worth more than letting a stranger degrade us
-our bodies are sacred and have been through enough.
-our heads and hearts are not yet clear enough to understand what is healthy and what isn’t
-our sobriety will only benefit by focusing on ourselves for a while
You have to remember, that everything you are feeling in your first few weeks to months of sobriety, is a jumbled mess. We are feeling emotions that we haven’t felt in years, and all the while, we are doing this without our usual remedy of drugs and alcohol.
We can be of zero value to someone else if we are still broken, and vice versa. It is selfish to think that any other human can make us feel better. Being addicts and alcoholics, we are beyond human aid. We have to find God to feel better, our Higher Power is the only thing that will fill the spiritual void that we feel.
The best advice I can give you about the dangers of a rehab romance is to just refrain. If you and your crush are “meant to be”, ask your sponsor about it, pray to God, and wait until you are done with your steps.
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If you have found yourself suffering in addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then FindAddictionRehabs.com can help. We give you the jump start to recovery as well as teach relapse prevention including learning healthy outlets in sobriety . Our program is unique in that it doesn’t just treat the addiction, it treats the whole person. For more information on our program, call 1-877-959-7271 today.