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Focus on Dating Yourself This Valentine’s Day

It can be challenging to watch others spend time with their significant others this Valentine’s Day knowing that you’re single. You may feel a flood of emotions, ranging from jealousy to sadness. You may even want to rush out and find a date for the night. However, dating in early recovery is not recommended. So, why not take this Valentine’s Day to focus on dating yourself?

Focus on Yourself

Addiction is a serious disease that has taken a toll on your mind and body. It is only fair that you take the time to heal both aspects before you even think about becoming romantically involved with another person.

Use this Valentine’s Day to focus on yourself. Cook yourself a nice meal, watch your favorite rom-com (or action flick), or spend some time engaging in your favorite hobbies. In order to heal and learn to love yourself, you must spend time with yourself. 

Replacing One Addiction With Another

When you got sober, you may have felt a void within you that drugs and alcohol once filled. It is common for those in recovery to replace one addiction with another to fill this void without even realizing it. If you date too soon after treatment, you may end up replacing your substance use with an addiction to relationships or intimacy. With such a strong attachment to others and this new addictive behavior, you may never learn how to stand on your own two feet. 

Instead, take this Valentine’s Day to focus on your recovery from substance use. You can attend a support group meeting or work on step work (if you are in a 12-Step program). You can also focus on engaging in healthy activities, such as:

Identity Issues

Drugs and alcohol can become such an essential part of life when struggling with substance use; because of this, when they are gone, you may feel like you lost your whole identity. In recovery, you need to relearn how to go about your life without using these substances as a crutch and learn who you are without them. If you begin dating in early recovery, you may become too dependent on the person you are dating. You may lose the new identity you were starting to build and find yourself only able to identify with your relationship.

After treatment, many people struggle to figure out who they are–and that’s okay. Maybe you want to be a better parent to your kids. Direct your energy there this Valentine’s Day. Perhaps you want to be a partner, spouse, son, daughter, or friend. Reconnecting with people on this holiday is a great place to start finding your identity. 

You can also pick up with hobbies and interests that you may have ignored during active addiction. Maybe you used to read a lot. Take this Valentine’s Day to sit down with yourself and read a book. Maybe you liked being outdoors; go hiking or try rock climbing. Find what you enjoy doing, what gives you a sense of purpose, and do it.

Toxic Relationships

Unfortunately, not all relationships are healthy and, when you are in early recovery, you are likely in an emotionally vulnerable state. This state may make you more likely to find yourself in a toxic or unhealthy relationship because you are still struggling with some self-esteem problems or are too heavily reliant on others. Ultimately, a toxic relationship established in early recovery may be harder to escape and could lead to severe issues, including relapse. 

Falling Back Into Bad Habits

Poor mental health and substance use are often connected, so some people who go through recovery also need mental health treatment. This means that part of their recovery will be staying sober and managing their mental health. For some people, dating and intimacy help them feel better momentarily, but they may make them feel worse in the long run, just like with drugs or alcohol. If you begin falling back into these dating habits, you may also feel tempted to fall back into other bad habits like substance use. 

Dating Yourself

Many individuals in recovery circles recommend not dating until you have a year sober. However, time is not the most significant indicator of whether or not you are ready to start dating again–progress is. Take this Valentine’s Day to begin your journey to healthy living. Instead of looking for a date on Valentine’s Day, focus on:

  • Building a support system
  • Attending recovery meetings
  • Following a good routine
  • Mending relationships with friends and family
  • Exploring your thoughts, feelings, and emotions
  • Learning to love yourself

Once you can learn to love yourself and build a life free from drugs or alcohol, you can then confidently look for a romantic partner without the risk of compromising your progress. 


Valentine’s Day can be challenging for people who are not in romantic relationships, especially in recovery. However, dating in early recovery can be detrimental. Instead of focusing on finding a date this Valentine’s Day, learn to date yourself! Focus on your recovery and what you can do to achieve healthy living. Spend time with yourself–cook your favorite meal, watch your favorite movie, or spend time with friends and family. Most importantly, make a commitment to yourself this Valentine’s Day to start looking at what you can do to reach healthy living. If you find yourself struggling to spend time with yourself, reach out to RECO Intensive. At RECO, we believe that recovery is a lifelong journey. We have developed an incredible community of support through our alumni program, aiming to introduce clients to the limitless possibilities that life in recovery can create. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of care. For more information on how we can help you, call us today at (561) 464-6533.

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