Getting Over a Breakup While in Recovery

Getting over a break up is an extremely emotional and stressful situation to go through, especially while someone is in recovery from addiction. You may face having to make significant life changes from a breakup such as finding somewhere else to live or reorganizing your social life. It is for this very reason that you are discouraged from entering into or being in a relationship early on in recovery. Most would suggest you not be in a romantic relationship for at least the first year.

Romantic relationships can start wonderfully. They can be exciting, fun, make you very happy, boost your self-confidence, give you something to look forward to, and make you feel like you are on top of the world, but if things don’t work out or go well, it can have a devastating effect on you. Recovery is hard enough, add heartbreak or an explosive breakup into the picture, and you are setting yourself up for a potential relapse. It’s not just those that are early on in their recovery that is at risk here.

Breakups can cause uncomfortable feelings, from insecurity and grief to depression, anger, and more, so at any point in recovery, if a romantic relationship doesn’t work out, a relapse can be triggered. If you’ve recently had a breakup or worse, gone through a divorce, here are some ways to keep it from ruining your recovery.

Getting Over a Breakup While in RecoveryAccept What You Are Feeling

Initially, it may seem better to try and ignore what you are feeling and pretend that it’s not happening or that you don’t care, but it’s important to accept what you are feeling. Let it all out. Let yourself cry. When you try to avoid these emotions, it only makes it worse. It’s okay to grieve the loss. Otherwise, you are setting yourself up for a potential relapse. Give yourself a couple of days and remember the pain will eventually pass. Also, I have always said and firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. If it was meant to be, it will be.

Talk To Your Therapist

Talk to your therapist. My therapist has been an important part of my recovery. It always helps me when I get things that are bothering me or weighing me down, off of my mind. I get things out, and she helps me by giving me tips and tools on how to cope. If you are like me and have fought this disease for as long as I have, 20 years, you have to learn how to live all over again. Even if you don’t feel like you need a therapist, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Reach Out To Others

It’s normal for people that have experienced something as traumatic as a bad breakup, to want to be alone. You may feel so depressed that you want to isolate yourself but resist the urge to isolate yourself. It is not good. I know when I isolate I get into my head a lot, and that’s a dangerous place to be for someone in recovery. Reach out to others. This is why it’s so important to have a solid support system. More than likely someone you know has been through a bad breakup. Talk to them, and you will feel and know that you aren’t alone! Don’t be afraid to reach out!

Go to Meetings

AA and/or NA meetings are a great way to connect with people. If you are already going to meetings, it wouldn’t hurt to get some extra ones during this time. There is no better way to connect with people that are familiar with the challenges you are facing than through AA/NA. You will almost certainly find someone that can empathize with you and share how they’ve dealt with things such as a breakup. Plus this helps to reaffirm your commitment to recovery despite your recent setback.

Write About it

Journaling is always a good way to get things out. My therapist has suggested that I do a daily journal to help me cope with emotions and things that are bothering me. Also, studies have shown that journaling is an effective way of reducing the stress that’s associated with a difficult experience. It’s usually not a good idea to write about it right away; give it a few days and then do it. Focus on your emotions related to this experience and then journal about it. Writing helps you feel like you have more control over the situation. Studies have shown the more specific you can write about emotion, the more control you’ll have over it.

Pamper Yourself

Spend time with your animals if you have them. Order a big pile of takeout. Get a manicure/ pedicure or a massage. Listen to music. Music always gets me out of my head and helps me to deal with a range of emotions. I never leave my house without my headphones. Spend the day watching a marathon of your favorite show. Do your favorite things all day for a couple of days and don’t worry about anything else. Taking a break is okay. Just make sure you don’t have any contact with your ex. Take a break from the whole situation.


Exercise helps to reduce depression and anxiety. Take a walk or establish a workout routine. Make it a conscious effort to start eating right, and you’ll start looking better and feeling better in no time.

Spend Time With Your Family And Friends

During relationships, we can lose touch with our friends and family. Take the time to reach out and reconnect with those that are important to you. Spend some quality one on one time with people you’ve been missing the last few months.

Pick Up Some Extra Shifts at Work Or Volunteer

If you have a job, try to pick up some extra shifts at work. Relationships can often cause us to lose focus, so this is the perfect time to get your focus back. If you can’t put in more time, look at getting a second job or maybe enrolling in school. Volunteering is also a good way to get out of your head. I know when I’m helping others I feel so good about myself. Helping others is a great way to shake off any blues.

If you are in recovery and trying to get over a breakup, focus on yourself. Surround yourself with people in your support system and talk about it. Get those negative emotions out, and whatever you do, do not isolate yourself and get to some meetings! If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact Recreate Life Counseling today. Someone is available to speak with you 24 hours a day.