Our support systems are comprised of many different people. It’s not just one specific group or community, but a wide, branching collective of people who we love and who love us back. Whether it be friends, family, or people we deem as family, the people we have in our system means more to us than anyone else, we think it’s safe to say. But even in the large support systems, you very well may have that one person who means the most. That one person who, no matter the time of day, will listen to you and let you feel heard. They’re the ones who you go to the most and can open yourself up to, make yourself vulnerable. For many of us, that person is our significant other or someone we are romantically involved with. We are able to open ourselves up to this person because we care so much for them and have invested so much of ourselves into the relationship. They are our rock and having them with us makes us feel safe.
But sometimes life may get in the way and that person isn’t able to close by. Long-distance is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly. For a lot of people, it may seem easy to do. You may be someone who values their alone time, who thinks that as long as there is a line of communication, it will all be okay. And maybe you’re right in thinking that, but really, you may be blindsided by how hard it can be. You are suddenly met with not having that person around and you formed a subconscious dependence on having them around. When that’s gone, you’re suddenly feeling lost and you never expected it to happen. Add on the fact that you are undergoing some form of recovery or recovery process, and you’re in a world of confusion, sadness, and fear.
Navigating a relationship while undergoing recovery is a tall task, let alone navigating one that is long distance. Relationships take time and energy, and that time and energy is multiplied when in a long-distance relationship, so now you have an even greater balancing act to accomplish with your recovery. It may sound impossible, but despite our warnings of how hard it can be, we want you to know that it is possible. It can be done and it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you can undergo in your life. We are lucky to live in a world where it’s easier than ever to maintain contact with someone miles or countries away. It doesn’t replace having that person with you physically, but it can make it a whole lot easier. There are a lot of things we can do to make the long-distance work.
The Space Between Us
Make sure to set time aside for each other during your day. Set a specific time that every day, you can FaceTime or Skype. A phone call is good to hear the person’s voice, but seeing their face can make it even better. Use these times to check in with each other, share the stories of your day, and let each other know what’s going on in your lives. Share freely about anything and everything, and focus on feeling that connection between each other. Talk with them about your recovery process and where you’re at. What kind of emotions are going through your mind and body that day, and how are trying to handle them. Let them in on the process even though they can’t be there in person.
Plan special trips and events. Long-distance relationships can be expensive to maintain, but if the person is someone you truly care about and are happy with, then those expenses are worth it. Plan trips to see each other far in advance. Having these things to look forward to can help you feel motivated to get through your days and give you something to work towards in your recovery as well. It’s important to have these things to keep you excited and keep the relationship feeling like it isn’t stagnant or stuck because of the distance.
Don’t be afraid of tackling the issues as they come. Any sort of problem that can appear during a relationship is magnified immensely by distance, and they can feel even harder to navigate. And maybe they are, to an extent, but a lot of that added stress is because we are assigning it to the situation. Approach an argument like you would with someone who is in the same room as you. Despite being far away from each other, you can still talk it out and come to a compromise that makes both of you happy. The distance doesn’t negate the love you still feel for each other.
Long-distance isn’t an impossible task just because you are undergoing some kind of recovery process. With technology and the right mindset, you can get through it and be stronger for it. They are your person for a reason and that won’t change because of a few miles between you two. Remember your love for them and let that always be what drives you.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]