At WhiteSands Treatment Center, we get many questions from patients and their families about addicts or alcoholics in recovery and relationships. Dating can be confusing enough without adding addiction into the mix, but it’s absolutely possible to have a healthy, happy relationship after rehab. Some couples may even find that working together through counseling or group therapy helps them to grow closer. However, there are some guidelines that both former addicts and those who care about them should be aware of.
“Is it OK to Date While I’m in Recovery?”
The short answer is yes: It’s fine to date while in recovery. There is a caveat, though: You generally shouldn’t date within the first year of achieving sobriety. This first year is your time to figure out how to depend on yourself without the aid of drugs or alcohol. Those who date too soon after leaving rehab may find themselves becoming codependent on their new love interest. They might also be tempted to replace the thrill once found in drugs with the thrills of new love or sex. Before you begin a new relationship, take a step back and have an honest conversation with yourself about whether you’re ready.
If you’ve been in recovery for a year or more, you’re probably aware that recovery will be a constant part of your life. Honesty is an important part of any relationship, so be prepared to talk about your recovery and what you’ve accomplished so far. It may be tempting to excuse your aversion to alcohol as part of a diet, but if the relationship continues, you’ll need to address the topic at some point. When you’re ready, discuss your recovery, let your partner know what support you need, if any, and proceed with a foundation of trust and communication.
“I’m Dating Someone in Recovery. What Do I Need to Know?”
First, be aware of how far into their recovery they are. If they’ve left rehab within the past year, you may want to hold off on the relationship until they’ve had time to settle into their new lifestyle and focus on getting better. If it’s been a year or more since rehab, enter the relationship with compassion and understanding. Addiction can have a variety of effects on an individual and may have left them with legal complications or damaged family connections. A long-term relationship will inevitably have to deal with these aftershocks, but in the early stages, just be aware that they exist.
As a former drug or alcohol user, your partner will probably want to avoid either substance, and you may need to plan date nights accordingly. It’s also important to be aware of the fact that addiction is a disease prone to relapses. In the case of a relapse, be supportive and help them get the care they need to become sober again. Treat the relationship like any other; look out for your own physical and emotional health, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
“I’m Dating a Drug Addict: How Can I Get Help for Them?”
Those dating a drug addict may have already felt the hurt that comes from the evasiveness and manipulation used to protect an addiction. While it’s absolutely crucial for you to understand that you cannot “fix” them and should not hold yourself responsible for their problems, there is something you can do to help find a solution. Direct your loved one toward a high-quality, accredited rehabilitation program and encourage them to address their addiction. If they refuse, you may need to withdraw to protect your own emotional well-being. This may be extremely difficult, but an addict cannot change until they are willing to make the effort.
Love is never easy, and in the case of addiction, love alone cannot treat it. Call our 24/7 phone line or fill out the form here to learn about the treatment programs at our private facility in Plant City, FL, and how they can help you or a loved one. We’re also happy to answer any further questions you have about alcoholics in recovery and relationships with recovering addicts.