During our active addiction, there was not much that could keep us from getting our next fix, our next high, or maybe just to get us “right”. Family, friends, loved ones were all obstacles that just got in the way, unless they could be used in some way to help us obtain our drugs.
Our days seem to be on a repeated cycle of being high and finding ways to get high for extended periods, sometimes for years. We may get tired of the cycle and put ourselves into detox or our family has an intervention and sadly some of us never get to that point due to an overdose.
Addiction is a Disease
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. These brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease—people in recovery from drug use disorders are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.
When we decide that we have had enough, no matter how long it takes, and are tired of being sick and tired, we finally take that first step and ask for help. We either enter into a detox facility and/or treatment program or join a support group. Whatever the steps we take to end our addiction, we have made that choice that we are ready for a life of recovery.
First Weeks of Rehab
The first week or two in detox or treatment is pretty difficult. You are anxious, probably not feeling well emotionally or physically, feel alone, you are feeling all your feelings and you don’t have your drugs to “fix” it or make things better, temporarily. With all that you start to look for anything that can give you pleasure; candy, cigarettes, or maybe a little card playing, anything that will distract you from what you are feeling. During your time in detox or treatment, you will meet many other people that are there for abusing drugs and they are going through the same thing. You may find someone attractive and could use some validation, that triggers our pleasure sensors. This is where you hear the term “rehab romance”. When you start a relationship while you are going through detox or treatment.
Most treatment facilities that are co-ed have strict rules against “fraternizing” with other residents. However, where there is a will there’s a way and for us, addicts and alcoholics engaging in romance and romantic activities is a perfect distraction. The brain thrives on pleasure and needs to feel a surge of dopamine wherever possible. From sneaking cookies, doughnuts and sugar packets from meetings to sneaking across corridors, or even into bathrooms, addicts will find a way to get a “fix”.
Romances in Drug Rehab
Although it may be fun and seem silly, rehab romances can be harmful to one’s recovery, and here are some reasons why:
- You’re Both In Treatment – This doesn’t mean you are bad in individuals, it just means you both have probably been through a lot and are still going through a lot and getting involved in a relationship with all the emotions that go along with it can be even harder to handle and can even make you worse off. Neither of you is ready to handle it.
- It’s Not Fair To Either Of You – Rehab romances have a very low chance of turning into anything serious and usually end up in a breakup. As addicts and alcoholics in early recovery, you will not yet have developed the skills to communicate in non-harmful ways or cope with the pains of break up. It will bring up issues of rejection and abandonment, which, because of the next reason, you might not have dealt with yet.
- It’s A Distraction – Mostly a relationship in rehab is a distraction from either of you getting better. You can’t focus on yourselves, your treatment or therapy if you are too busy thinking about what the other one is doing or how they are feeling and why they haven’t spoken to you today. There is nothing that should take the focus off you getting better, getting healthy. Your recovery comes first and anything you put in front of your recovery you will lose. Also, you risk a relapse when you don’t fully take advantage of treatment. If it is meant to be, it will happen later down the road but to get to that point, you have to focus on you first.
We are Here to Help
We at Garden State Treatment Center can help you get your life back. The most important thing you can expect from your Garden State Treatment Center Treatment experience is that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery. Every second in active addiction makes it more difficult to reach out for help. Break the barrier of substance abuse and begin healing from the underlying causes of your addiction. Contact Garden State Treatment Center today.