How to Handle a Breakup In Recovery

breakups in recovery

Recovering from an addiction is difficult enough, but having to experience a breakup in the midst of that time can negatively impact a recovering addict’s emotional stability, well-being, and their current journey to sobriety. While breakups are unfortunately a natural event in life – it is imperative that during this vulnerable and heartbreaking time, you use the following methods to appropriately handle a breakup in recovery:

  1. Give yourself worth and value

First and foremost, your worth and value should ultimately come from yourself – not the validation or approval of others. Speak to yourself with only compassion, love, and understanding – not blame, bitterness, and anger. Regardless of whoever broke off the relationship or whatever happened, the relationship needed to end for a good reason. Remind yourself that not only do you need to be there for yourself during this difficult breakup, you are the only person who can ultimately end the power of its pain.

  1. Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself means not neglecting either your emotional and physical well-being. No matter how terrible you feel, eat three meals a day and take showers. Wear clothes that make you feel confident, not defeated. When you feel too sad to get out of bed, make yourself get up anyway. You cannot abandon the quality of your everyday life even if this breakup was awful. In fact, no matter what happens to you in life, you must always take care of yourself.

  1. Don’t succumb to feelings of self-criticism and blame

If you succumb to feelings of self-criticism and blame due to the end of the relationship, you are just asking to experience a detrimental emotional spiral. Not only is hating yourself emotionally exhausting, it takes a toll on your body as well, making you feel constantly fatigued. Eventually, you will start to believe you are a valid source of where to direct hatred, and that is neither healthy or safe to do. Doing so can make you hurt yourself without meaning to and destroy your self-esteem.

  1. Direct your attention towards accomplishing personal goals

Breakups force us to be alone with ourselves, but we are the ones who ultimately determine the quality and impact of that alone time. If you have any personal goals you have been wanting to accomplish, but haven’t gotten around to doing – wholeheartedly pursue them. Whether it’s a professional and intimidating task that needs to be finished, or the desire to explore a new hobby, the act of dedicating your time and energy into another activity prevents you from drowning in emotions or feeling tempted to abuse substances from the past.

  1. Allow yourself to grieve the relationship

A breakup feels like traumatic loss sometimes, and it is crucial to give yourself time and moments to grieve it. However, grieve safely. Release all your emotions into healthy outlets such as physical activity, a hobby, or allow yourself to cry – for example. We all express our emotions in different ways, and there is nothing wrong if we need to physically release that tension through tears. Setting emotional boundaries of expressing grief is also important, since you both give yourself the room to express emotions without letting them turn destructive. Lastly, never turn to mind-numbing substances or activities, even if they aren’t your addiction triggers – doing so may result in you developing an entirely new addiction.

  1. Reach out to a support system when you feel unstable or unsafe

The people who love and care about you, such as friends or even a recovery group can be a source of mental strength for you. Support systems, sometimes called “sober supports”, are there to remind you of the significance of your sobriety, spend time with you to get your mind off the breakup, and share their own mutual experience. Sometimes, we can’t handle our feelings alone and that is completely okay. Reaching out to your support doesn’t make you weak, it makes you strong and willing to confront your emotions.

  1. Solidify healthy coping mechanisms into your emotional arsenal

Reach out to your therapist, loved ones, and support group to get recommendations on healthy coping mechanisms to use when you feel emotionally overwhelmed and unstable. These methods and strategies will ground you and help you take a step back from your emotions. A fantastic and healthy coping mechanism is volunteering, which is where you can help aide a better cause with your assistance, thus positively impacting groups of people, animals, or the environment. An alternative healthy coping mechanism is exercise, which naturally gives you the high of endorphins and dopamine necessary to upkeep your mood and prevent yourself from developing depressive symptoms.


At the end of a day, a breakup is a breakup – no matter the circumstances of our life or health., and every person in this world can relate to the pain of losing someone they love. But despite the fact, breakups are just one of the many obstacles we must overcome in life. Your journey to sobriety is defined by the choices you make and actions you take during it, which will always take priority above all else. You will get through this, even though it feels like the suffering is going to last forever. With effort and time, you will come out stronger than you were before the past relationship, and succeed in moving forward on your path to recovery.

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