What’s the deal with no relationships in the first year? First you told me that I couldn’t drink anymore. And now you’re telling me that I can’t even date or have sex?
First of all, no one is telling you anything. These are merely suggestions. But really it’s for your own good. Allow us to take you on a little voyage of the mind. Go back to the last time that someone really broke your heart. Like really broke your heart. You were probably still drinking then right? And what was the first thing that you turned to. Drinking. To ease that pain. To escape. To forget about that guy or gal that you thought couldn’t live without.
And now think about getting into a relationship for the first time. Or going on that first date. Didn’t it just seem like the best idea to have a few to loosen up? So you could be just a little bit wittier and funnier and impress that person.
Or, what about the period where you’re not really sure about if the person likes you or not. You’re sitting at home and waiting for them to text or call. You’re wondering if they might be out with someone else. Wouldn’t it be nice to throw back a couple to take the edge off?
So, I think by now you’re getting the point. The suggestion to not get into any relationships in the first year is not because AA is some rigid form of the sex police. It’s because many of us have neglected to heed that warning and paid the price whether it was through our own emotional anguish or, even worse, losing our sobriety.
Getting through that first year of sobriety is going to be tough. There’s no doubt about it. But you’re going to be a different person on the other side. They say that we attract who we are. So, wouldn’t you rather attract someone who is more like the healthier version of you in a year than be in a relationship with someone equally as dysfunctional as your barely sober self?
So, how do we suggest that you avoid getting into a relationship in your first year?
For starters, be honest with yourself, your sponsor and your AA fellows about your thinking. If you feel something brewing across the room with that hottie who just won’t stop staring, let your sponsor know.
Try to hang out with AA fellows where there won’t be opportunities for romance. An innocent ride home for someone could turn into something more. And sometimes it’s just an innocent ride home. Trust your gut. And when in doubt tell your sponsor.
Get involved in other things that can take your mind off trying to fill that hole in yourself with a relationship. Remember that you’re in the process of disentangling yourself from your one true love, alcohol. You don’t want to rebound with someone else. It’s not fair to them. And it’s not fair to you.
All this being said, it’s important to remember that we are human. It’s easy to get caught up in the rules and experience shame if we act outside of them. If you do end up in a relationship in your first year, and it doesn’t go well, learn from it. Hopefully you stayed sober. And hopefully the other person did too (if they’re in recovery). You’re not a bad person and you’re not shunned from the meetings. Just pick yourself up and get refocused on your sobriety one day at a time. And once you hit that year get out there like a champ!