Many recovery programs frequently suggest a one year rule when it comes to beginning to new romantic relationships while a person is in recovery. Under this rule, an individual is encouraged to avoid beginning any new relationships or making important decisions during his or her first year in recovery.

The primary reason behind this belief is that a person who is attempting to overcome an addiction needs to be extremely focused on him or herself during the very important first 12 months. While new romantic partners often provide many reasons for happiness and excitement, they also involve certain challenges and demands that can make some people lose focus.

When a person meets a new romantic interest, the initial stages are frequently filled with joyous interactions. As the relationship progresses, however, numerous challenges are bound to present themselves that not only makes the relationship difficult to maintain, but also the ability to stay clean or sober.

In some cases, the most threatening aspect of a new relationship is that the new partner will not fully appreciate what the person in recovery is going through. If the new partner is using the same drug that the person in recovery is attempting to overcome (especially common for those dealing with alcohol), there can frequently be a temptation to indulge in the drug once again. The new partner may not fully understand the severity of the damage that even a single use could cause.

Another problem with a new relationship for a person early in recovery is that those who fall hard for new partners become quickly consumed with them. Again, this often comes at the expense of the focus on one’s self that is very much needed one early recovery.


In early recovery, a person is bound to engage in significant acts of self-discovery. In some cases, relationships can thwart this journey, the limiting the effectiveness of the recovery efforts.

Additionally, the relationship itself can become a substitute for the addiction. While such emotions can provide a natural high, a sudden end to the relationship increases the likelihood of relapse. In essence, the relationship becomes a new kind of dependency.

The one year rule is not ironclad. Certain people are able to date others in their first without issue. Some individuals enter recovery only after recently meeting new partners and view the partners as being supportive of their recovery goals.

As humans, we are driven to form new relationships, but a person in recovery needs to keep a proper check on those that are romantic in nature. All too often, newfound romances can dominate a person’s life to an unhealthy degree when attempting to recover.

The team at Asana Recovery knows that these kinds of issues are incredibly complex. We fully understand the importance of the first year of recovery and help clients navigate these complicated situations.

Are you or your loved one seeking to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction? Contact Asana Recovery to discuss your situation with one of our admissions counselors, who are available 24/7. You can begin the admissions process when you call (949) 438-4504 today.


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