The recovery process opens our eyes to necessary and painful transformations that need to take place. We may find ourselves addressing and modifying our behaviors, our lifestyle, and who we associate with, as we let go of addictive substances and heal from destructive patterns. In addition to these changes, it may become clear that we need to let go of a romantic relationship that is no longer serving us or has caused us harm.
It can be hard to let go of this love, especially if the relationship was our sole source of comfort and companionship during hard times, and periods of struggle. There can be a drive to stay, for many reasons, but if we know in our gut, and in our heart that we need to let go, then we should let go.
But how can we let go when it hurts so bad? Why is it harder to leave this relationship? Letting go looks different for everyone, there are tips that can make it easier.
- Recognize that you may be experiencing a form of survivor’s guilt, which can make you believe you need to stay, especially if you are healing and recovering, but your partner isn’t. This can feel like you are abandoning or leaving behind someone who was by your side through it all. These compounded feelings may lead you to believe that leaving is wrong. But never stay in a relationship because of guilt or a sense of obligation. Staying for these reasons is a disservice to you and your partner.
- Honestly assess the relationship with a sober state of mind and ask yourself these questions. Was it supportive, healthy, balanced? Or was it harmful, co-dependent, toxic? How much of the relationship involved using?
How much did substances drive you two together?
Does or did the relationship feel like a drug?
Does this relationship seem like healthy love you have witnessed in your life?
If you didn’t see any examples of healthy relationships or love while you were growing up, think about how you may be perpetuating the patterns of bad relationships.
Remind yourself of these things while you are releasing this love.
- Remember you can’t save anyone else. And you need to protect yourself and your recovery. A broken heart can heal, but it might be impossible to rebuild or recover if a relationship keeps injuring you or runs interference with your health, wellness, and ability to be sober. If you don’t let go, it could take you down.
- Remind yourself it is normal and okay to feel sad or depressed from a breakup. It will take time to grieve and heal. Try not to rush the process. Give yourself time and space to heal. Do not expect to get over the relationship right away and slow down if you find yourself trying to jump into another relationship to distract yourself from the pain. Doing this can be doubly harmful and will only make matters worse. If your negative feelings spiral out of control, please contact a mental health professional, a loved one, or call a crisis line to discuss what’s going on. You don’t need to be alone in the pain.
- If it is hard or impossible to end the relationship at once, scale back communication and contact. Even if it hurts, see how you truly feel without the destruction, chaos, and distraction of the harmful love. How does it feel to have peace, even if you are experiencing pain?
- Reflect on whether or not the relationship is in alignment with who you are, and where you are going in life?
Does it support what you truly want for yourself in your future?
Make a list of things you want in a relationship moving forward.
Could there be love, trust, healthy communication?
Do you want someone to vision and plan with for the future?
Someone who values relationships, family, and contributing positive things to the world?
Define new deal-breakers for you.
What are actions and behaviors you will no longer tolerate?
How will you stand up for yourself, and protect your heart moving forward?
- Never forget that you deserve a healthy, stable, grounded, and supportive love relationship. You are worthy, no matter what has happened, and no matter what you may have done in your past.
Now you can slowly work to become your own beloved.
If you picture yourself as your beloved, how would you treat yourself?
With kind words?
By taking good care of your body, mind, heart, and spirit?
By loving and believing in yourself?
You have the power to become your own beloved! Give yourself the love you never had or experienced. Try to embrace the beautiful process of self-discovery, even if you have bad days.
Are you ready to release a harmful love? Is substance use interfering with your ability to let go? Do you want to take time to learn how to truly love yourself, and become your own beloved? If so, contact us at Ashley Addiction Treatment, a residential recovery facility located on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, in Northern Maryland. We know how hard heartbreak is, especially during recovery, and we will be by your side to support you, every step of the way as you grieve, heal, and let go. You deserve a healthy and loving romantic relationship, but taking time to heal the relationship with yourself will restore your soul, empower you towards self-care, and will bring peace to your mind and heart. To speak with our compassionate staff about the next steps, or for more information, call us at 800-799-4673.