February 25, 2019

Handling Breakups in Recovery

Written by Alex Thompson

So it didn’t work out.

You broke up with your partner. Maybe it was an indifference, a lack of communication or maybe the passion died out and you started growing in separate directions. Whatever the case may be, heartbreak is one of the most difficult things to get over. It can be disappointing, and the agony and from a breakup can be relentless.

As you begin to pull your broken heart back together, it’s best not to hurry through your emotions or push them down. Gaining wisdom and insight from the experience can be valuable and for those in recovery, trying to speed up the process can sometimes lead down a slippery slope to relapse.

Unfortunately the end of relationships, are never painless – however overtime you can be accustomed to the tips and tricks you need to go through to heal and grow. So, while digging through that pint of cookie dough ice cream may really ease the pain, we have a couple of other tips for dealing with a broken heart in recovery.

Remember, You’re Grieving

After a breakup, many of us cross our arms, push down our emotions, and say, “i’m fine.” But, just like any loss you may have in life, a breakup is a process of grief. Not only do you grieve the loss of someone you loved, but you also grieve the loss of a future you may had planned together. It’s important to understand that it’s okay to be sad, hurt, or just plain devastated. No matter how uncomfortable these emotions and thoughts may be, pushing your feelings aside and brushing off your pain can sometimes manifest into a relapse. As with grief, your feelings of loss and sadness will ebb and flow as you navigate your new life.

Radical Self-Care

No matter if you’re the one who broke up with the person, or the one that got broken up with, we can spend time beating ourselves up for things we could have said or done differently. After a heartbreak, we tend to be a vulnerable state and being gentle with ourselves is crucial. Practicing radical self-care can be an important tool in dealing with a breakup. Do a couple of your favorite things and don’t worry about anything else. Remember that it’s okay to take a break if you feel bad, just no calling or texting your ex.


While recovery is a deeply personal life-change, a breakup is a personal love-change. While each are different, both are something that we can’t do alone. Not only can heartbreak be painful, but these uncomfortable feelings can be triggering and spur thoughts of relapse to self-medicate. By having deep-formed connections with friends, family members, and sober supports we can process some of these feelings to realize that we can get through the heartache. If you feel that friends and supports are not enough, it may be wise to seek out the help of a professional therapist or counselor. With this, your counselor can help you to identify any negative or maladaptive patterns to look for with the next partner.


Nothing is worse than an on-again off-again relationship. If you’re the one who is breaking up with someone, be sure this is what you want. Often times, we can have second thoughts and agree to give the person a second chance. This cycle can lead to toxic relationships. If you are the person who was broken up with, it can be tempting to send a text or the person or check their social media time and time again. In this, turning back to toxic relationships can lead to emotional turmoil and set you up for relapse. Nobody said it was going to be easy, but setting boundaries can help you avoid a number of pitfalls.

Reclaim Yourself

Reclaim yourself! Figure out who you are outside of the relationship. Maybe there were needs that weren’t being met or you pushed other parts of yourself aside. When you’re ready, find new hobbies, and create new goals. It’s easy to beat ourselves up when we’re already feeling crappy, however, it’s important to remember before you entered the relationship you were a strong, smart, and beautiful person – and nothing has changed.

While most of these tips and tools won’t take away the pain, they can help to ease it. And just like addiction, breakups can take awhile to recover from, however it’s important to not let them compromise your recovery.

If a breakup or anything else has compromised your recovery, the first step is to reach out for help. Reclaim yourself and your recovery by Contacting us today or giving us a call at 877.782.4747.