It can come as a surprise when you’re dating someone who reveals that he’s a recovering drug addict. It goes without saying that he probably led a lifestyle that seems vastly different from the one he’s living with you. While some people can easily relate to and embrace the fact that everyone has a past, others can find it hard to reconcile the two.
If you’ve decided to move forward with the relationship, here are some dos and don’ts that will make dating someone in recovery a lot easier for both of you.
- Assess His Sobriety: Recovering addicts can be some of the healthiest people you’ve ever met, but it takes a lot of hard work to get to that point. If you plan to date someone in recovery, it’s important that he has at least one year of sobriety under his belt and be actively involved in some kind of support program.
- Accept the Baggage: Addiction leaves behind some pretty unique baggage. Some people in recovery may have accrued debt, legal problems or fractured family relationships. These are all issues that you will have to discuss at some point, especially if it is a long-term relationship. With that being said, it’s essential that you be truthful about your own tolerance level.
- Be Supportive: Depending on the individual needs of your partner, it’s probably going to be important that you avoid drinking or using drugs around him. Your date or dinner plans may also need to be worked around group meetings or support groups. Remember though, people in recovery don’t want or expect their significant others to babysit or safeguard their sobriety. One thing they do want, however, is to know they have the support of loved ones.
- Don’t Forget About Yourself: Recovering addicts often go to regular meetings and therapy sessions, along with spending a considerable amount of time working on themselves and their personal relationships. In all likelihood, your partner will encourage you to do the same. This is just to make sure you don’t become dependent on the relationship for your own happiness or inadvertently slip into the role of “caregiver.”
- Don’t Allow Yourself to be Manipulated: People in recovery will make mistakes in relationships just like anyone else, but don’t allow your partner to use his recovery as a scapegoat. For example, being in recovery does not justify him cutting off communication for days or weeks at a time or constantly asking to borrow money from you.
- Don’t Be Judgmental: Most recovering addicts are willing to go to great lengths in order to move past their checkered pasts. This step is vital for rebuilding self-esteem and trust. However, if you constantly question him about his whereabouts or go out of your way to keep tabs on him, the relationship is doomed. He will eventually resent you for the obvious lack of trust. Unless you personally see warning signs that your partner is slipping, you must maintain an open mind and let the unwarranted suspicions go.
Additional Reading: Use the 12 Traditions to Improve Your Relationship
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