Dating a recovering alcoholic advice

And herein lies the crux in some ways, of dating and socializing in a drinking culture. Wine with dinner seems like the civilized thing to do. Meeting for a drink at the bar after work or on a Friday night is seen as a great way to relax and unwind with friends.

Meeting for drinks seems like the most common first date. Unlike illicit drugs, which are illegal in most of the world, drinking is often seen as harmless and socially acceptable — but alcohol is anything but harmless.

Guide to Sober Dating

That cost comes primarily from excessive drinking — bingeing on four or more drinks per evening, or drinking heavily all week long. Though the amount of alcohol consumed and the circumstances for example, in Italy, alcohol is imbibed most often along with food , it is clear that in most countries, alcohol plays a role in daily life. So, what is a sober person to do in a world of drinkers? And, more specifically, what is dating like for both the sober person and their partner?


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It is easy to create a list of drawbacks and reasons why it is unwise to date someone with a history of alcohol abuse the main one being: What if they relapse? This is an understandable concern and a reason perhaps for both people in the relationship to move slowly and cautiously. This allows time for both people to get to know each other and gain some emotional intimacy before jumping into a serious relationship. Openness and honesty is key in all relationships and especially so when one or both of the partners are sober. This is a time to learn about each other, talk about triggers, and what types of situations feel comfortable.

Some recovering alcoholics have no problem if their partner drinks and feel no uneasiness going to bars or clubs where alcohol is served. For others, those situations are too risky and need to be avoided. The early part of a relationship is learning about each other and discovering whether there is compatibility.

Dating in Recovery

Author Sarah Hepola wrote in an essay for Elle. It allowed me to inch toward intimacy with built-in distance. Was this a date? The answer was yes………..

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Determine how long your new date has been in recovery. As a general rule, the longer your date has been in recovery the better. If your date has been in recovery for less than 12 months, know there is a greater risk of his or her relapse. Relapse is when a recovered addict returns to old addictive ways.

And it really does go without saying that a relapse could result in an early termination of your hard-earned relationship. In fact, some experts even advise that you should not start a relationship with somebody who has been in recovery for less than 12 months. Although I would not go this far, I would urge you to at least be aware that being in recovery for less than a year carries a substantially higher risk of relapse when compared to dating somebody with more than a year's worth of recovery experience.

Recovered addicts are encouraged to actively work on their recovery. For this reason, there are many support groups located in most towns and cities catering for this need. Being in recovery is more of a verb than a noun. This means the recovered addict should engage in an active program of recovery.

This typically involves attending support groups, partaking in hobbies that keep them occupied, volunteering and practicing self-help. Living in recovery definitely should not be about reluctantly avoiding alcohol and drugs.

I thus advise you to subtly learn what steps your date is doing to stay in recovery. It is unlikely your new date will reveal his or her continued attendance to you, so go ahead and ask your date whether he or she still attends these support groups.


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This shows you are open-minded and willing to learn about what life is like in recovery. If your date confirms he or she does attend a support group, offer your support by offering to attend, too. If your date is an ex-alcoholic, then it goes without saying that you should really consider avoiding alcohol when out on a date. To do otherwise would be extremely insensitive to your date's position regarding alcohol.

If you wish to develop a more serious relationship with your date, then we would recommend you consider giving up alcohol yourself. And by doing so, you'll also improve your own health! If your relationship becomes more than just dating, you may also need to avoid certain social events where alcohol is readily available.

This includes birthdays, weddings, most parties and even funerals. Don't write your date off as damaged goods. Many prior addicts now living in recovery will come to a new relationship with baggage. This is because recovered addicts often come from abusive and unhappy families. The recovered addict may have experienced emotional and physical abuse at the hands of a parent, step-parent or sibling.

This baggage often means recovered addicts struggle to develop trust in new relationships.

Dating a Recovering Alcoholic | Single and Sober

But know that past dysfunctional relationships absolutely does not naturally lead to future dysfunctional relationships. Unfortunately, many recovered addicts do not see this fallacy and instead continue to seek out unhealthy relationships even when their sobriety is firmly established. When you start dating a recovered addict, it's important for you to understand their past and to help them realize that you are different from people they've interacted with in the past. I urge you to learn about the science addiction. This includes learning about the disease theory of addiction.

Dating a Recovering Alcoholic

The disease theory of addiction says that addiction is a disease and not due to the addict's moral failings. Addiction is classified as a chronic, relapsing brain disease, requiring lifelong maintenance in order to defeat. Know that relapses do happen. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease. And being in recovery is not a cure, per se. Studies say around 45 percent of recovered addicts will suffer from at least one relapse in their lifetime.

So if you decide to take the relationship to that next step, at least know relapse could occur at some point in the future. That being said, not all recovered addicts will suffer a relapse, and most relapses are easily corrected before too much damage is inflicted on the sufferer's health, career and relationships. I urge you not to write off a date simply because he or she is a recovered addict.

However, I am not saying a recovered addict is Mr.