For some, discovering that your new love interest is in recovery for alcoholism or drug addiction might be a red flag. That was never the case for Karen Nagy. When she first started dating a man in recovery, she welcomed the challenge to be by his side on his path to sobriety. But as their relationship evolved, Nagy desperately wanted advice from someone who had walked in her shoes. It’s essentially a manual for people not in recovery who are either dating or married to those who are. The book’s publisher, Hazelden, operates treatment centers across the U. Nagy offers her own experiences dating men in recovery and shares stories of couples embarking on the 12 steps together. The Tribune recently spoke to her by phone about her new book.
5 Strategies for Successfully Dating in Addiction Recovery
When I entered rehab at 20 years old, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind was literally, “Great. Now I can only date sober guys. It was overly dramatic, but I believed it.
“I would smell the alcohol on her breath, and it would really stress me out because of my prior drinking problem.”.
We exchanged numbers and agreed to meet up, but I figured she was just being friendly. Wedged into the booth side of a comically undersized table, I listened as Kate spoke and our conversation flowed easily. Still, when the coffee shop closed Kate suggested we get a drink. First Kate looked confused, then disappointed. Partially at the advice of medical professionals. Partially because sometimes when I drink too much I engage in self-destructive behavior—you know, fighting traffic cones like Don Quixote fought windmills or texting my ex.
Dating Advice for Those in a Relationship with a Recovering Addict
Before you start thinking about the other person in your relationship, spend some time looking at yourself and your motivation for choosing to date someone in recovery. They need to be responsible for taking appropriate actions on a daily basis to preserve their recovery. If you have just met someone you are interested in, you are going to be listening carefully to everything they share about themselves.
Recovery is an ongoing process, and someone who is being honest will tell you that up front. A good sign is someone who is actively participating in a recovery plan and taking steps to look after their health by staying active, eating well and getting enough rest. Visit your local library or look for online resources to learn about this subject.
Alcohol had never done me any favors. Instead, it was a crutch I leaned on in good and bad times; a crutch that always broke before the end of.
When I first got sober I got tons of unsolicited advice on the kinds of relationships I should get into, and which kinds to avoid. People told me how long I should wait before even thinking about having sex. Some of those folks are well-meaning and some of them are trying to sleep with you. No one can tell you who to date or what love looks like. All they can do is share their experience with you and let you take from it what you will.
My name is Chris and I am alcoholic. For the first six years of my sobriety I was engaged to a woman that was also in recovery. We got sober together and stayed sober against all odds and it was quite a wonderful story, a shot of hope to many drug-addled couples. Then we split up. I thought we would be together forever, so I never put much thought into navigating the dating scene of recovering addicts and alcoholics.
I saw lots of people meet, have sex, and start relationships.
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Right into Mr. In fact, addicts who are solid in their recovery can make excellent partners. But before you put yourself in a position to fall for an addict, there are a few things you need to know:. For anyone considering dating an active addict, it is important to realize that love cannot conquer addiction. Before diving into a relationship, find out if your prospective partner is actively using drugs or alcohol, or if they display addictive or compulsive patterns in other areas e.
Alcoholism is a serious issue which has the capacity to affect your life if you date someone with this problem. A relationship with an alcoholic isn’t impossible, but.
In early sobriety, the now sober individual must relearn, or possibly learn for the first time, appropriate skills for healthy relationships with others. In a now famous Ted Talk , British journalist and author of Chasing The Scream Johann Hari shared his conclusion from significant research, that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety but connection. So, as with anyone, relationships and connectedness are crucial components to a full life to those recovering from an addiction like alcoholism.
But what are the unique aspects of dating a sober alcoholic? For a person who determines they are an alcoholic and must remain abstinent from alcohol going forward, establishing relationships with others can be difficult initially. For those with severe alcohol problems, the connection between the individual and alcohol can be considered a relationship. A destructive, toxic, and abusive relationship, but a relationship nonetheless.
Communication, intimacy, and trust can be difficult areas to master for the newly sober individual. In some recovery circles, there is an unwritten suggestion that new romantic relationships are best avoided during the first year of sobriety.
6 Tips for Dating Someone Who is Sober
Focus on getting to know each other as people before rushing into a physically intimate relationship. It takes time for the brain and body to adjust to living a sober life. You can be a source of love, encouragement, and support, but the decision to remain in recovery belongs to your partner alone. If your attraction is based on a desire to rescue someone in need, you may be suffering from codependency.
How to man in general, here’s how to ask. Warning signs that have been dating can recover. Join the recovery who told me with this means for those living with.
Relationships can be stressful in any circumstance. It is not easy to find someone who shares your values, will be supportive of you and your life goals, and is pursuing the goals you support. Even when everything is sparkly and new in the beginning, there are always a few red flags that pop up that indicate some work will be required in the future. The good news is that everyone is different.
Not everyone is in the same place in their relationship with drugs and alcohol or their ability to handle a serious relationship. The not-so-great news is that everyone is different. If you are considering a relationship with someone in recovery, you will need to invest a little extra time in getting to know them to truly grasp what it means to be in a relationship with them. The urgency of the announcement is to let you know that it will be a factor in your relationship if one should unfold.
Ask questions. Ask them open-ended questions and let them share what they feel comfortable with. Really listen to their answers and pay attention to their body language. Their responses will tell you everything you need to know about how comfortable they feel with their recovery.
Dating an Addict: Should I Stay or Should I Go?
This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author’s own. As if there aren’t even speed bumps encountered in the dating world, learning that the person you are seeing is in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction adds new unique challenges.
Telling your date that you are sober is never easy; Here, we provide some advice on when to tell someone that you are dating that you don’t.
First dates are awkward at best and downright disasters at worst. Perhaps the difficulty of dating is why there are currently more single people than ever before. However, sometimes the difficulties of dating can be a good thing. But, what if one day this really special person suddenly drops a bomb on you. After all, no one is perfect. While this may seem like a trivial detail, knowing what stage of recovery they are at can actually make a huge difference.
Generally speaking, recovering addicts are advised to take a break from dating during their first year of recovery. The starting point is the day they first became sober. The first year of recovery is extremely crucial for addicts. They also learn what triggers they need to avoid to stay on the road to sobriety.