Congratulations Jeff Zacharias!

Named NASW 2015 Illinois Social Worker of the YEAR!

Jeff Zacharias Social Worker of the Year

Jeff Zacharias

 

New Hope Recovery Center is pleased to announce that our Clinical Director and President, Jeff Zacharias, has been awarded the 2015 Illinois Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

Relationships in Recovery: Why Is Dating Discouraged in Early Recovery?relationships in recovery

The advice to not date or become involved with someone intimately during early recovery is a frequent point of resistance.  People involved in 12-step programs often rely on the “one-year rule” for guidance.  In other words, it is recommended that someone not date during their first year of recovery.  Because there is a lot of resistance to this guideline and the results from dating can be detrimental to one’s sobriety, let’s look at some of the important reasons WHY dating during the first year of recovery is not advised.

1.  Me Time

The focus of early recovery should be laying a strong foundation for long-term sobriety and this involves searching deep within ourselves.  Personal reflection and self-analysis is an important step to knowing ourselves and learning to accept and love ourselves.  Our work to understand ourselves can be undermined or become convoluted if our efforts are distracted by a budding romance.

New romances are not only distracting they can quickly become all-consuming.  They may initially feel great, but it doesn’t take long before we find ourselves slipping into old patterns, habits and behaviors.  It also becomes very difficult to sort out what are my issues to work on and what are someone else’s.

You can truly only love someone to the extent that you love yourself.  Recovery is essentially about finding and loving yourself and this cannot be achieved through dating another person.  Romantic relationships can be appealing because they can temporarily numb pain we may feel from facing our personal hardships, behaviors and past.  Cultivating love, respect, and care for yourself is the key to establishing healthy and lasting relationships down the road.  People sometimes are lulled into thinking they are healthier because they are in a new relationship, but there is no short cut to becoming healthy.  It involves time with yourself.

2.  It’s an Attachment Problem

Early recovery can be the most uncomfortable time period of our lives because our attachment for coping with the world (our drug) has been stripped away. In addition, we often need to strip out many other areas from our using past: old using friends, unhealthy places to live, unhealthy past activities and just about every other aspect of our former using-lives.  This is a lot of change. Many feel a need to attach to another person for comfort, instead of working on self-regulation and healthy ways coping with this change.

Often the attachment to a new person can feel incredibly strong and lasting. But because it does not have a strong foundation, it is a really false sense of comfort that does not last.  Drugs can be viewed as a maladaptive attachment attempting to fill a void of unmet needs.  Jumping into a dating relationship will only perpetuate the cycle of unmet needs.  This is because the recovering individual doesn’t have the time and space to see what their unmet needs are or how to approach them appropriately.

In early recovery, it is important to recognize the relationship we had with our addiction.  Addiction was almost certainly the main focus of our lives.  There were times we may have felt joy, relief, comfort and understood.  And of course there were times we felt abused, helpless and a victim to our addiction.  We form a strong attachment to our addiction.  When the drug is removed, it is comparable to a romantic break-up and therefore it needs to be grieved as such.  We put a lot of time, money, energy and emotion into our addiction and it is important to grieve the loss of all these things. Sitting with this emotional withdrawal or void is uncomfortable, so people will sometimes jump into a romantic relationship as a way to fill the void.  Similarly, people will replace drugs with sex as a way to achieve a quick fix.  The same patterns and behaviors that were used to get and use drugs are often used to get romance or sex.  When this happens, one addiction has been traded for another.  We can only break free when we understand what is underneath our addictive behaviors.

3.  People, Places and Things

Early in recovery our new way of thinking and coping with the world is new and immature and therefore we are often inclined to rely on old behaviors and old ways of thinking. This is especially apparent when we notice the type of partners we choose to date in early recovery.  At this point, our lives are more defined by the addiction world than the recovery world.  It is no coincidence that people in early recovery tend to be attracted to people still using or equally new to recovery.  Also, because our relationship with our addiction was one-sided in favor of the addiction, we often see people getting involved in relationships that are just as one-sided. These relationships are often filled with drama and chaos.  It is common for those new-to-recovery to become over-involved and hyper-focused on the new relationship.

When healthy coping skills are under-developed, we run the increased risk of relapse.  If the relationship doesn’t work out and the couple breaks up, the main coping skill people choose tends to be the substance of their addiction.

Final Thoughts

The underlying concern for dating in early recovery is that it provides a distraction from the real task at hand, which is working on ourselves.  This may be confusing because a strong recovery program involves sober connections and community.  However, it is easy to mistake vulnerability and intimacy of  the sober community for romance and sex.  If you are contemplating dating in early recovery ask yourself if you are at the place you want to be and if the role was reversed would I be someone I would want to date right now.  If the answer is no, don’t take it as shaming or discouraging news, take it as a reminder that you are learning and growing into the person you want to become.  It won’t be long before you ARE the person you would want to date.

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

What is Love Addictionlove addiction

Love addiction is a process addiction that affects both men and women.  The love addict is addicted to the feeling of being in love. Many who are love addicted do not realize that they are.  Sex, love and relationships are natural human behaviors.  However, those affected by love addiction take these feelings and subsequent behaviors to very unhealthy and destructive extremes.

The Pattern of Love Addiction

The typical pattern of a love addict is to fall quickly (sometimes instantaneously) in love with a person without really knowing him/her.  Because they do not really know this person, they fall in love with their idea of the person, who they frequently see as “perfect”.  The love addict is in a constant search for the “right” person, who they believe will complete him/her and eradicate feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and emptiness.  A common core belief of the love addict is that only the unconditional love of this perfect person can bring happiness, and that without that person and that happiness, life is not worth living.

The Brain in “Love”

According to many researchers such as Stanton Peele and Pia Mellody, falling in love causes a chemical reaction in our brains and stimulates the reward system in much the same way cocaine or heroin does.  The love addict, after experiencing the “highs” that these chemicals cause, becomes dependent on that high and will begin to chase it.

Love Addicts and Love Avoidants

Love addicts tend to be attracted to those who are known as “love avoidants”.  Love avoidants are people who are deeply fearful of long term commitment and emotional intimacy.  Both the love addict (dependent) and the love avoidant are currently incapable of healthy, intimate relationships, and so each is attracted to the other as a way to escape reality.  A love addict will often say that he/she really wants an truly intimate and mutually satisfying relationship with another person, however, there are many underlying psychological issues that prevent this from happening and actually cause the person to subconsciously destroy his/her relationships through the constant need for reassurance, dependent behavior and emotional intensity.

Like drug or alcohol addiction, untreated love addiction is a progressive disease that brings increasingly severe consequences.  Love addicts have a deep-seated fear of ending up alone and so they will often stay in relationships that are abusive or otherwise destructive and unhealthy.  A love addict will often go outside of a committed relationship in a compulsive attempt to chase down the high that he/she craves so intensely.

Love Addiction Withdrawal

When a relationship ends, the love addict will most often go into a withdrawal phase that can render him/her incapable of participating in everyday life.  This can result in an inability to work, take care of children, and complete activities of daily living.  It is also not uncommon for a love addict to become suicidal (and in rarer cases homicidal) upon the loss of a relationship or love interest.  There is a propensity to cope with the withdrawal symptoms using drugs and/or alcohol, which lead to further problems.

Help for Love Addiction

Like the chemical addictions, there is evidence-based treatment for love addiction available, despite the fact that mental health professionals still have not agreed on a universal definition for the disorder, and it is not considered an addiction or a behavioral disorder per the DSM-V.  There are several levels of treatment for love addiction, including trauma-focused residential programs, intensive outpatient programs, individual therapy with clinicians trained in treating sex and love addiction, and group therapy.  Additionally, many love addicts achieve long term recovery in the 12-step program known as Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).  The goal in recovery for love addiction is to treat the underlying psychological pathology and gain an understanding of healthy, non-addictive love.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

New Hope Recovery Center is located in Chicago and offers individualized alcohol and drug addiction treatment in a loving supportive environment.  Contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707- 4673 (HOPE).

 

national drug facts

Help spread the facts about Teens and Opiates, including Heroin, visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse, National Drug Facts Week.

Opioid Facts

Heroin Facts

Teens Prescription Drug Abuse

What Is Your State's Prescription Drug Abuse?

state prescription drug abuse addiction

from NIDA

 

Also to help, here are articles New Hope Recovery Center has written about Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin:

Most Abused Prescription Drugs

10 Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Warning Signs of Heroin Use

Parent's Guide to Prevent Heroin Use/Addiction

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

 

Teens and Marijuana: National Drug Facts Week

 

Articles about Teens and Marijuana by New Hope Recovery Center:

 Teenage Marijuana Use Affects Brain Development

Is Your Teen Smoking Pot: 38 Warning Signs

Marijuana and Addiction Treatment

 

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center