Different scenarios and mistakes could lead to a person having a relapse. And in this episode, we discuss Mistake #4, which is getting into a relationship. Being in a relationship should result in positive outcomes. It should be your safe haven, but listen to find out why this is not recommended if you are trying to recover and heal from some form of addiction. Our host, Tim Westbrook, MS, will even share some examples based on his experiences.
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How To Avoid A Relapse: Mistake #4 Getting Into A Relationship
My team and I have helped thousands of people to stop their suffering and continue on their path to recovery. Let’s get clear on one thing. We believe that a relapse or a slip is not a part of recovery. That’s exactly why this show is dedicated to you or any loved one you know in their first year of striving to live a clean and sober life.
The purpose of this show is to come clean with all of the misinformation that’s out there about recovery, addiction, treatment, mental illness, and the strategies to stay sober in general. If you believe you’re in the right place, or if you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it’s my privilege to share this show with you. I have no idea if you and I have ever met, but what I do know is that AA saved my life. I also know that long-term recovery and living happily, joyfully, and freely is not just about stopping your drinking, drugging, gambling, sexual indiscretions, or any other addiction you may have struggled with or suffered from.
At Camelback Recovery, we believe that sobriety can and should be fun. Any recovery process is not easy. It is challenging and can sometimes be annoying. For most of us, it is often difficult to stay on the path, but here’s the good news. The self-awareness you gain from tuning in to this show, especially if you are in your first year of recovery, will help you make better choices, which will ultimately lead you to live a kick-ass sober life. Visit CamelbackRecovery.com to learn more about our treatment strategies for alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental illness. We even offer recovery coaching so that you can enjoy the freedom and happiness you’ve always searched for.
Welcome to the 81st episode of the show devoted to people in their first year of sobriety. Although your first year in sobriety is central to our discussions, you and I will also explore other fascinating and important topics such as health and fitness, self-care, food, and nutrition, breath, work, and biohacking, to name a few. All of these things are your gateway to living a kick-ass sober life, which is our mantra at Camelback Recovery.
Getting into a relationship is one of the mistakes people make that leads to a relapse.
In this episode, you’ll learn about the fourth mistake that leads to relapse along with how to avoid it. In mistake number four, you will discover that getting into a relationship is one of the mistakes people make that leads to relapse, along with why it is so important to avoid this mistake if you want to avoid a slip. I will share my experience and how I avoided this mistake. Based on what you read in this episode, you’ll be able to figure out how it works for you. Lean in and read carefully because this episode could have a significant impact on how you can make it to a year and much closer to living a kick-ass sober life.
This show is like an AA meeting. In that, everyone here is either clean and sober, trying to get clean and sober, thinking about getting clean and sober, or whatever it may be. If you hear anything or if anything resonates with you that I say throughout this episode, please let us know in the comment section of YouTube or Apple. What you share might resonate with someone else and possibly save them from a relapse or maybe even save their life. Every review and every comment get us that much closer to helping one more person or one more family. Don’t be shy and be sure to share what resonates with you in the comment section.
The fourth mistake you must be aware of if you want to avoid a slip is getting into a relationship. Getting clean and sober is likely the most challenging thing you’ve ever done. Focusing on your recovery and learning how to live your new life should be the focus. A new relationship will distract you from that focus. You will be a completely different person in a year and attract different people into your life.
As you get healthier, you’ll attract healthier people. Although new relationships can be fun, exciting, or seemingly fulfilling in the short term, you should be farther along in your recovery before you start searching for your soulmate. The recommendation is to not get into a relationship for at least a year. At the very least, wait until you finish the steps. Your goal should be to finish the steps. This is your chance to learn how to have healthy, platonic relationships. This will lead to a healthier intimate relationship when you are ready.
When I first got clean and sober, I didn’t date for my first year. I took the suggestion to not date. I ran with it and focused on recovery. Before I got sober, if a girl gave me a little bit of attention, I thought she was into me and wanted to date me. A lot of men, in my experience, think that if a girl gives them a little bit of attention, she thinks he is into her and he thinks that she wants to be in a romantic relationship. In my experience and what I’ve learned, it’s not always the truth and the case. Women are just being nice.
I learned how to have healthy, platonic relationships with women. I learned how to not be a sleazebag, not hit on every single woman just because she gave me a little bit of attention, and connect. It wasn’t about getting laid. It was about truly connecting, listening, getting vulnerable, not having an agenda, and being present, which made me a safe person to be around and a safe person to be with.
As I was nearing a year, I remember being on my ninth step. I was starting to get the edge. I wanted to start dating. I remember talking with my sponsor about it, and his suggestion was to wait until I finished the steps. I took his suggestion. After about a year, I was completely finished with the steps and I started dating. I had to figure out how to date without going out and getting wasted. This is the first time in my life where I’m dating and there’s no drinking, no drugs, and no agenda.
I’m learning how to connect below the surface and have a good time with a woman or a person of the opposite sex. We’re learning how to have a good time with people without having alcohol and drugs be part of the equation. If that’s something that you’ve never ever done before, it’s a new thing. You’ve got to be comfortable and know how to have a good time being clean and sober.
As you get healthier, you’ll attract healthier people.
When you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, a drink or drug is not what you reach for in order to make you feel comfortable. I remember going to a wedding and getting on the dance floor. I don’t know about you but most people I know like to drink and do drugs. I didn’t feel comfortable getting it on the dance floor without having a couple of cocktails. I had to learn how to get on the dance floor without caring what I looked like or what other people thought. The drink made it easier to do everything without having to care in the world. Now I can do it. Even at a year sober, I could do it as well, but you’ve got to get to that point.
The result of waiting a year and learning how to be a good guy was that I had lots of female and male friends and lots of people that had good things to say about me. This gave me credibility. Because I had credibility, automatically, I wasn’t a sleazebag. I was able to date higher-quality women because I didn’t have the reputation of being a sleazebag. I learned how to connect without giving off the vibe that I just wanted to get laid.
At about a year and a half sober, I met a woman. I’m going to call her Sally. This was the very first healthy relationship I had ever been in in my life. I had a friend, Sydney, and I knew her from the program. She was one of the women that I learned how to connect with and have a platonic friendship with. She was married. She didn’t have a kid at that time, but she ended up getting pregnant by her husband.
I remember her saying, “I have a friend named Sally that lives close to you.” Sally lived directly across the street from me for many years. I was married to my wife. She was married to her husband. I never saw her and she never saw me. Nothing happens by coincidence, in my opinion. I get introduced to or connected to Sally through Sydney. It turns out her front door and my front door is perpendicular to each other.
My front door was pretty far set back and her front door is pretty far set back. Most of her property was hidden by oleanders. We ended up meeting and we were aligned in many areas. We both liked to do yoga. We were both active, healthy, fit, and lived similar lifestyles in many ways. That was the first woman that I was totally committed to and the first time, I didn’t have any shenanigans on the side. At a year and a half sober, I was still a little crazy, and so was she. That was what attracted me, but it ended up being a great relationship. We were together for about two and a half years.
The next woman I dated after Sally was a little bit healthier. Again, in this relationship, no shenanigans on the side. At about five and a half years sober, I met another woman who ended up being my girlfriend for about three years. I remember thinking to myself, “I’m doing pretty good here,” because if you are attracted and I attracted this woman at five and a half years sober, I was like, “I’m doing really good.” This 2022, I’m about 11 and a half years clean and sober. I’m the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’m in the healthiest relationship I’ve ever been in. I’m totally committed. Lying, stealing, and cheating is not something I’m willing to do. The guilt and shame that would come as a result wouldn’t be worth it.
My suggestion to you is to stay on the path. Focus on your recovery, becoming a better person, and developing meaningful relationships with all people, men, women, and platonic. Once you get a little farther along in your recovery, you will start attracting a different person. Trust me. It will be worth the wait. Focus on your recovery for that first year. Make sure that you get through the steps. Not just wait a year. Wait a year and also focus on your recovery and getting through the steps. The person you attract now is not going to help you get to where you want to be. The person that you attract, once you’re a little farther along, is going to be a much better fit.
Here’s a quick review of the insights you and I both rediscovered in this 81st episode of the show. The fourth mistake people make that leads to relapse is getting into a relationship too soon. We also talked about why avoiding this mistake is imperative if you want to avoid a relapse. I shared my experience with this step or with avoiding getting into a relationship along with the benefits of waiting. Based on what you have read in this episode, you can figure out how it works for you and how you can apply it in your life.
Nothing happens by coincidence.
Remember, these insights will only work for you if you work them. Please, make sure you apply what you’ve learned in this episode because if you do, you’ll be on your way to living a kick-ass sober life. You’ll agree that’s exciting to think about. Speaking of reviews, before we end this episode, I want you to go to the reviews section on iTunes or leave a comment on YouTube and type in the one thing that resonated with you that you learned in this episode. Every comment counts, and what you share could resonate with someone else that is struggling and potentially save their life.
You’ll also be asked to rate this episode. I hope I’ve earned five stars from you. Go ahead and share the one thing that resonated with you in the review section of iTunes or wherever you’re tuning in. It will take just three minutes out of your day, but what you share could not only save you but could also save someone’s life. That does it for this week.
I’m Tim Westbrook. I hope that our paths cross again next week for I Love Being Sober, the show devoted to people in their first year of sobriety. Do whatever it takes to join me for episode number 82 because we are going to dig into mistake number five, hanging out with friends you drank and used with. I will share my experience with this mistake along with how to avoid it. I encourage you to invite a friend, a loved one, or a sponsee to read the episodes. I can’t wait to connect with you then. It will be an insightful episode, so I want you to join us with your loved one.
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