The Dangers of Relationships in Rehab and Early Addiction Recovery


Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m an addictions
counsellor here at Hope Rehab in Thailand and today I would like to talk to you about
relationships in early recovery and relationships in treatment and the dangers of. Coming into a treatment centre it means you’ve
identified that you want help which is great. It’s the bravest thing that any person I
feel can do so well done for that. Coming into treatment out of addiction you
are a vulnerable person, you are coming because there are pieces of your life that may be
missing, that you may be can’t deal with life on life’s terms and you are struggling
with day-to-day life. So, well done for getting yourself into treatment
and asking for the help that you so rightly deserve. When you come into treatment normally as a
vulnerable adult that comes with emotions that may not have been expressed for some
time, feelings that you don’t know how to express, and it can be a very, very emotional
and confusing time to begin with. So whilst in that confusion of what is my
life going to be like, what am I going to do here, all the very normal thoughts and
reasonings that we go through while in treatment, normally what we would do from that is we
would use drugs, alcohol, we would do something to suppress those feelings because that is
our coping mechanism, that is what we do to cope with life, that is what you do to cope
with life on life’s terms. So it’s very, very common for men and women
to start looking for other things external of themselves to fix that feeling and in treatment
you don’t have access to drugs and alcohol so therefore it’s very, very common for
you to start fixing on people. Romantic relationships blossom in treatment
quite regularly simply because you don’t have access to your normal, usual way of suppressing
those feelings. These are where romantic relationships are
blossoming and this is highly, highly dangerous for the individual in treatment. So this is a chance for you as an individual,
to grow, to learn, to process and to get out any of that stuff that you’ve been carrying
around probably for many years and which you have used drugs off, which you have tried
to suppress, suppress, suppress. This is an opportunity for you to learn and
grow in this area and I would really strongly recommend that you use it wisely. By getting into a romantic relationship it
actually lights up the same part of the brain is when you are using drugs or alcohol, it’s
exactly the same receptors, it’s the same reward centre in the brain, so you are fixing
your feelings so therefore you are still really using drugs through people. The chances of relapse is tripled once getting
into a relationship whilst you’re in treatment simply because of the reward centre. You are not focusing on treatment, you are
not focusing on the real reason why you have come to treatment, you actually start to focus
on the other person because they are fixing those feelings, so they become your new drug. This is really, really important, what if
to say the other person was to relapse, what if to say that this other person was to abscond
from treatment, how would you be left feeling? How would you be left, in more pain which
you’d want to suppress even more and now you have nothing else to suppress those feelings
so therefore it is heightened where you may abscond from rehab yourself and you may relapse. Your ability to make good, sound choices is
compromised once you get into a romantic relationship because the focus isn’t on you. Recovery is about self-discovery, it’s a
journey of this amazing, amazing self-discovery that you have access to if you concentrate
on yourself. So it is recommended not to get into a relationship
for the first year of your recovery and there’s a reason for that, because you’re going
to learn skills, you’re going to learn tools, you’re going to learn how to self-regulate
emotions and feelings. You’re going to be going to meetings, making
new connections, you’re going to start to develop social skills for the right reasons
this time. So if you don’t know how to practice all
that already and you’re not giving yourself a chance for the first years in your recovery
then what chance have you have surviving your recovery, because this person, this relationship,
is only a deterrent away from what the problem actually is and that lies within. Also getting into relationships in recovery
can also be an avoidance of self. People like to take care of other people in
order to avoid what’s actually going on for them, so if I just look after this person
over here then I don’t have to look at actually was going on for me, and I really do acknowledge
how scary it is to feel feelings, I acknowledge how scary it is to express feelings, fear
of being judged, all the fear that surrounds you feeling and expressing for the first time
in probably a long time, I acknowledge that. However that is highly, highly important for
you to learn to do that in order for you to have a successful recovery and not avoid with
other people. You come first in your recovery, so be careful,
try not to use other people’s vulnerabilities to fix your feelings and don’t allow somebody
to fix off your vulnerability either. Remember you are here for you, you come first
in your recovery. You have to put yourself first the right reasons
probably for the first time in a long time. So please if you’re thinking about getting
into a relationship in recovery very early on or in treatment remember why you’re here,
remember that it starts with you. My name is Sarah, thanks for listening, take
care.

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