Establishing a healthy romantic relationship is not always easy, but dating a former drug addict or alcoholic can present its own unique challenges. If you have met someone and you feel a connection you would like to explore, but have just found out he is in recovery, you may be wondering if you should go forward.
If you do continue the relationship, you may wonder how it will work and what you may be in for. Finding out that someone you like is a recovering addict does not need to be a roadblock, but you should be prepared to meet the challenge. Here’s what you need to know before dating a recovering addict:
He should have been sober for a while. Some experts might recommend not dating someone until they’ve been sober for a full year. Others might say even waiting two to three years. Recovery is never easy, but it gets less difficult the more time passes that the person is sober.
Addiction is never over. Addiction cannot be cured. If you’re going to take on an addict, you have to know that this will be part of your new lifestyle—forever. That means the meetings, the other addicts, the need to avoid certain substances in his presence and more.
He might still be finding parts of himself. The addiction took over his mind and personality for so long that he may still be finding parts of himself. He could be wanting to take classes, try out different religions, and do other things that denote someone who is finding himself.
You need to have total trust. You need to trust this person or it will never work out. You cannot accuse him of relapsing because he simply doesn’t respond to a phone call for a couple of hours or isn’t available to see you for a few days.
Relationships can be their new addiction. Recovering addicts often have codependent personalities and may throw themselves head-first into a relationship, as a form of a new addiction. While this can feel flattering and exciting, it’s important that you encourage your partner to maintain his independence, and that you do the same.
You may need to adjust your habits. You might need to give up drinking, smoking, or using other substances if you’re going to date a recovering addict. Some cannot be around these items. At all.
You might hang out with a lot of addicts. It’s possible that the only friends this person has left are other recovering addicts, so you may suddenly find yourself surrounded by recovering addicts, and conversations about recovery.
He may have strained family relationships. Because of things this person did while he was using, he may have strained relationships with his family, friends, or other people he could have hurt.
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