Comprehensive addiction recovery requires the careful treatment of both the psychological and physical health of the addict. As this disease has such strong connections to a person’s emotional functioning, it is often recommended that patients focus their full attention on the recovery process without the distraction of dating. While romantic relationships can be a source of great comfort and encouragement to recovering individuals in Seattle struggling with sobriety, they can also present significant challenges to recovery in any of the following ways:
- Codependency issues
- Satisfying narcissistic urges
- Anxiety resulting from relationship complications can trigger relapse
- Longings for contact with boyfriends or girlfriends can cause recovering addicts to leave treatment prematurely
Reprogramming Pleasure Responses in the Brain
Substance abuse causes the brain to create new neural pathways. These pathways connect specific behaviors to the pleasure that is registered in the brain’s prefrontal cortex. The resulting behavioral habits are much deeper and more powerful than rational thought. Whichever behaviors trigger this psychological pleasure response will be irresistibly craved until these dysfunctional neural pathways can be reprogrammed.
This all happens in the same part of the brain that reinforces other sources of pleasure, including sexuality, eating, exercise and thrill-seeking. Tiny spikes of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain block negative emotions, psychological distress and even physical pain. Drugs and alcohol super-stimulate the pleasure center as they cause extreme spikes of chemicals such as dopamine. They key to long-term freedom from substance abuse requires the cessation of any unhealthy behaviors, a gradual detoxification of the body from harmful substances and the construction of new, healthy pleasure habits.
How Addicts in Seattle Can Avoid Codependency for Life
Addiction reinforces extremely unhealthy relationship dynamics between family members, friends, co-workers and romantic partners. For Seattle area addicts, everything revolves around their need to feel good. Everything and everyone becomes an accessory to their need for comfort and pleasure. This kind of narcissism does not lead to strong, mutually beneficial relationships. The addict uses everyone around them to satisfy their needs and their friends, family members and life partners live in fear, anger, disappointment and confusion as a result. Relational healing is possible in time, but the process requires addicts to end their substance abuse, learn new communication skills and develop healthy coping skills that will allow them to avoid getting drunk or high when emotions flare. While detox may be completed in a matter of days, correcting codependent patterns can take years to accomplish.
Better Relationships Later instead of Dangerous Relationships Now
It is completely natural for Seattle area addicts to long for companionship and intimacy. Humans are social creatures ill suited for solitary existence. But recovering addicts must be extremely careful when it comes to dating and romance. The resulting drama is not good for them or for the person they want to build a relationship with. Healthy people make healthy relationships and it may take some time for you to build the necessary skills to avoid codependency. Rehab and long-term recovery programs help you to become the best “you” you can be. One day you will experience the joy of a truly meaningful and mutually healthy relationship in Seattle based on respect, honesty and love.
Help for Seattle Residents in Addiction Recovery
If you would like more information about building healthy relationship skills during and after addiction recovery, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your questions and to connect you with the best recovery resources for your specific needs. Call now.