- Dating a Recovering Alcoholic
- What You Shouldn’t Do When Dating Someone in Recovery
- Dating an Alcoholic in Recovery
He has told me a little bit of his past with drinking.
He said that he was in an unhappy relationship with someone for over three years and had been drinking, one night he hit rock bottom and slept with someone else. His relationship ended and he decided to get help through AA. The thing is he works in a bar..
AA asked him kindly to stop sharing stories with the rest of the group because they did not agree with him working in a bar. At that time I think he shied away from it. Didnt drink for five months.
Dating a Recovering Alcoholic
He also feels that he went to AA for preventive measures.. Then he meets me.. I take him to a dinner party.. He tells me he is not going to drink..
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I go in the fridge get him an ice tea.. I was told he wanted a glass of wine. That night we get to his house and he tells me he drank over what he feels comfortable with and never wants to do that again. The next day we discuss it again.. That day he decided to he needed to go to an AA meeting and his going to re-check himself. I adore him but I felt that day… I was on pins and needles with him..
He felt extremely guilty for that night at dinner..
What You Shouldn’t Do When Dating Someone in Recovery
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But it takes work on both your parts. Your boyfriend needs to decide once and for all that he is more invested in his relationship with you than his relationship with alcohol. 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. For proponents of this, the reasoning is that this is a time of great personal growth and self-work.
Dating an Alcoholic in Recovery
Additionally, it is a period when sober skill building occurs, which both solidifies sobriety and allows the individual to gain skills to apply in relationships going forward. If a newly sober person does get into a relationship too soon after getting sober, the concern is two-fold. Without more adaptive coping skills, the individual may reenact the negative patterns of former relationships that either occurred or led to alcohol.
Also, the risk of relapse may be heightened by the emotional aspects of coping with a relationship, and the demands it may make. Whether or not someone chooses to avoid relationships for a period of time in early sobriety or not, certain aspects of dating a recovering alcoholic remain. It loosens us up. It releases endorphins, making us feel confident, good-looking, and hilarious.
We have to feel all those feelings without liquid courage. 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.