Legacy Healing Center Blog
Dating an addict is never easy but there are effective ways to deal with the troubled individual.
Dating in itself in today’s world can be challenging, let alone dating an addict or dating while in recovery. And while you may not have set out to meet someone who has struggled with a substance abuse issue, you may very well fall in love with someone amazing who in fact has lived with addiction.
Any relationship takes hard work and compromise, but it is good to be aware beforehand that extra vigilance may be required if you begin dating an addict or someone who is currently in recovery.
Being drawn into a relationship with someone who has struggled with addiction or is in recovery can have additional risks than dating someone who doesn’t struggle with substance abuse.
For example, addicts can backslide and begin using his or her substance of choice once again, known as a relapse. Recovering addicts can also deal with physical and mental health problems stemming from their prior drug use, and may be prone to additional addictive behaviors such as sex or gambling addictions.
All of that being said, you might meet someone incredible who has many of the traits you are looking for in a partner, but who might also be struggling with addiction or be in the midst of recovery. Let’s take a look at tips that can help in either scenario.
Dating an Addict
When someone is dating an addict and that partner is in the midst of alcohol or drug addiction, it is easy for the sober partner to get caught up in the whirlwind of the partner who is addicted.
It isn’t uncommon for the sober partner to sacrifice his or her own needs in order to attend to the needs of the other person. If you are currently dating someone with an active addiction and who doesn’t have any type of recovery or rehab plan in place, it is important to consider the following questions.
First, are you taking part in enabling behavior? For instance, do you lie for your partner, loan him or her money, are so consumed with your partner’s needs or problems that you do not have time for anyone else, or are you ignoring your own needs, self-care, etc?
Second, do you think or verbalize that you cannot leave your partner because you want to help “save them”, or feel like they will not survive unless you are constantly there to pick up all the pieces?
You must come to the realization that if your partner’s addiction issues are causing you any stress, health problems, or making it hard for you to work, go to school, or concentrate, that this is not a healthy relationship.
While it is natural to want to support your partner, if his or her addiction is taking its toll on your life, you have to reconcile whether staying around is the healthiest choice for you and your partner.
Dating in Recovery
While dating someone with active addictions can be tricky and challenging, dating in recovery also comes with its own set of hurdles.
Many 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), encourage someone in recovery to not have any romantic relationships or date for at least the first year.
The reason behind this thinking is that substance abuse can really warp how people see themselves and their life. Once in recovery, you are just founding out again who you are while also trying to form healthy relationships with people on a similar journey.
It is only through a time of reflection and sobriety that you can once again learn who you are and how you want to move forward in your life to get where you want to go.
Dating when sober means being vigilant as much of today’s culture is set amid bars and clubs, or restaurants with an abundance of alcohol. You will want to make a mental list of places you can go and things you can do while dating in recovery that won’t send you backward or make you focus on what you are missing out on.
Don’t forget that there are a lot of alternatives to just going out and “grabbing a drink.” Find a coffee or tea shop, juice bar, take in a museum, or go see a movie or go on a hike.
If someone asks you to go grab a drink or meet them at a bar, have an answer ready ahead of time. It doesn’t need to be a long, drawn-out answer. It could be even something funny or clever that gets the point across that you and alcohol don’t mix well and you would rather spend time doing something where alcohol isn’t involved.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to the different stages of dating and addiction or sober dating. If you are currently in a relationship with someone who is actively using drugs or alcohol, consider speaking to them about entering into a detox or rehabilitation program.
The addiction specialists at Legacy Healing Center can give you information on how detox works and what different treatment programs are available. Speak to someone today by calling 888-597-3547.