Going to rehab for addiction is an important step in learning to live a sober life, one that is satisfying and full without drugs or alcohol. In rehab you will learn how to let go of your addiction, how to dig deep inside and find your motivations for abusing substances and how to move past those things that hold you back. While in rehab you will meet a lot of new people. These people will be your healthcare professionals and your fellow patients, and they will all become your allies and supporters. While they may become your friends, you should not fall in love or get romantically involved with anyone in rehab. Here’s why:
- Love can become a substitute addiction. A substitute addiction is something that replaces drugs or alcohol and becomes an outlet for your obsessive tendencies. It is not uncommon and often starts out innocently. For instance, someone might replace alcoholism with working out. It sounds like a great idea, and it is, until that person starts working out for hours a day and repeats the same habits she did when she was a drinker. Love can be a similar substitute.
- You are vulnerable. Being in rehab means that you are in a weak and vulnerable position. You are emotionally and physically drained because of your addiction. No one should fall in love in this situation. You could be taken advantage of, but you are also not presenting your best self. You need time to learn how to be your best self before love can enhance your life.
- You need “me” time. Rehab is when you will learn to be a better person, someone who will be ready for love eventually. In the meantime, you need to be selfish. You need to focus on yourself in rehab, your needs and getting sober. You can’t be focused on your own improvement if you also have to consider the needs and desires of someone else. Be selfish now so that you will be ready for healthy relationships later.
- You may be breaking the rules. A practical reason not to get romantic in rehab is that it could get you kicked out. Many facilities ban romantic relationships because rehab is not the place for them. The experts there know it’s not a good idea, so they set rules against it. If you are caught canoodling with another patient, you could lose your opportunity to get the treatment you need.
- You need friends, not lovers. Having support during rehab, and after in recovery, is essential to your success. You need to have people who care about you to help and guide you. What you need are friends, not romantic relationships. The most important thing now is getting better. Friends and family members are the best people to help you. Make friends in rehab with your fellow patients. Support your new friends and let them support you. Be there for each other. Who knows? Maybe if you maintain these friendships and continue to support each other after rehab, you might end up falling in love. For now, friendship is better.
Romantic love is a wonderful thing, but there is a time and a place for it, and rehab is neither. Forge positive and healthy new relationships while maintaining relationships with your family and focusing on your needs and getting better, and you will be successful in rehab and ready for romance once you are firmly and safely in recovery.