Relationships, Sex, and Sobriety

After spending ample time in a tightly run drug rehab, sleeping about 5 inches away from your snoring roommate and being forbidden to so much as make eye contact with any member of the opposite sex, it is likely that your hormonal needs are begging to be met by the time you transition into a halfway house. Opportunities may seem to present themselves wherever you go – tons of pent-up 20-somethings shuffle in and out of the rooms looking for sobriety, serenity, and maybe a severely unhealthy and codependent relationship. And besides, nowhere in the Big Book does it say, “avoid sex at all costs or you will never make it”. However, it may be wise for those men and women in their first several months of sobriety to practice abstinence in multiple senses while working thoroughly and seriously on themselves. If you find yourself with a sponsor who has been successful in maintaining meaningful and fulfilled sobriety, you will likely receive a suggestion to avoid relationships within the first year. And while sex and relationships are, of course, entirely different animals, both come with unnecessary complications that are more often than not detrimental to early recovery.

Engaging in Sexual Activity Will Distract You From You

The most important person in your life, believe it or not, is you. In order to truly reap all of the benefits of the amazing opportunities that have been presented to you, it is of utmost importance that you remain focused on your own self-betterment before anything else. For this reason, it is generally recommended that a newly sober individual avoid getting involved with members of the opposite sex for somewhere around a year – after he or she has had ample time to work through the 12 steps with a sponsor and has truly reestablished him or herself as a functional and productive member of society. While serious relationships are always ill advised simply because they drastically complicate things and require major amounts of attention and upkeep, sex is somewhat of a gray area. It is difficult to advise a 20-something to completely avoid engaging in any sort of sexual activity, seeing as a combination of hormonal unrest and social expectation make it exceedingly difficult to do so. However, maintaining a healthy sexual relationship that does not develop into more is a very difficult thing to do, and even if one involved party remains neutral and emotionally unattached, the other party is likely to develop romantic feelings and ultimately desire more.

Sex and Early Sobriety

While relationships and sex are not recommended, those that do choose to engage (and many will, of course) simply need to be prepared to deal with the consequences. Keep in mind your motives as well as the motives of others, and always prioritize your own personal safety and sobriety.

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