Dating a recovering alcoholic can present unique challenges to any relationship. It’s important to remember that someone who has been an alcoholic may have a different outlook on dating and relationships than people who have not had an addiction. Having an understanding of the stages of recovery, as well as being aware of common triggers, can help you build a stronger, healthier relationship.
The initial stage of dating someone in recovery can be both exciting and challenging. During this period, it’s important to show understanding and acceptance of the person’s situation. Your partner may have some emotional triggers that need to be addressed, such as feeling ashamed or embarrassed about their past alcohol use. It’s important to provide a safe and supportive environment for your partner during this time. At Spokane Falls Recovery Center, an alcohol rehab center, we have programs and counselors to help individuals dealing with dating while in recovery. To learn more about how to navigate dating a recovering alcoholic, contact us today at 844.962.2775.
Choose Date Activities That Don’t Involve Alcohol
When dating a recovering alcoholic, you probably won’t be able to do the same things that you do with someone who has never had a substance use disorder. First, you should avoid social situations that trigger your loved one’s drinking. For example, if they always visit bars after work to drink, don’t make those places part of your date nights. Choose sober activities that keep you both engaged and not drinking alcohol. For instance, you may visit an amusement park, a movie, or a park. If you have a habit of drinking alcohol with dinner or in social situations, you will likely need to avoid these when you spend time with your recovering loved one. They will find it harder to resist drinking, especially early in recovery, if they see you using alcohol.
Know Your Limits when Dating a Recovering Alcoholic
Something that few people understand when dating a recovering alcoholic is the toll that the former life of their loved one takes on their current relationship. You must know your personal limits and how much you can deal with. For example, some former alcoholics may have excessive debt or criminal records from their old life. If you cannot handle the person that you date needing to check in with a sobriety support person or probation officer, let them know when they introduce these challenges to you.
While the two of you might work something out to make the dating process easier for you while the other person recovers, don’t feel bad if you must step back until the other person progresses further in recovery. Some alcoholics may need to focus less on their relationships and dedicate more time to recovery. If the person you date tells you that they need to take some time to attend an outpatient treatment program instead of spending all their time with you, give them space to do so. Once they progress through the program to aftercare, they will have the more mental and emotional energy to devote to building relationships.
The Stages of Recovering Alcoholic
For those recovering from alcoholism, taking the first step of dating can be a daunting challenge. Navigating healthy relationships and avoiding relapse takes becoming conscious of triggers in certain environments and putting safety nets in place to maintain sobriety. Having access to a supportive therapist or recovery buddy will provide an important source of accountability. Recovery groups are also great for building self-esteem and establishing a supportive social circle for singles who are exploring romantic relationships again. What’s more, patience is an essential virtue as two people begin the process of getting to know each other. Something that may take more time when working through their own individual healing while learning how to open up after addiction has taken away one’s ability to trust. By remaining aware and reflective throughout the process, individuals have the power to make dating work for them as they start this new chapter toward health and happiness.
Dating and Being a Recovering Alcoholic
If you are dating and a recovering alcoholic, it can be challenging but rewarding. Ultimately, dating a recovering alcoholic can be a great experience if you are committed to understanding their situation and providing them with the emotional support they need. Showing patience, empathy, and acceptance can go a long way in helping them gain back trust in relationships. Here is some guidance to consider when dating and recovery are involved.
Watch for Signs of Relapse
When you engage in relationships with a loved one in recovery, watch out for signs of relapse. These signs include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Not complying with their alcoholism treatment program
- Experiencing difficult emotions
- Spending time in bars or with old drinking groups
- Isolating themselves to drink
- Skipping 12-step meetings or outpatient treatment sessions
If the person you are dating shows any of these signs, they need to get help to turn their relapse around.
Suggest Getting Support for Struggles with Relapse
For someone already in a treatment program, suggest that you help them to remember to attend meetings. Or help them to find a program that better fulfills their needs. If the person you are in a relationship with does not have a treatment program, consider recommending them to Spokane Falls Recovery Center. Our program offers only outpatient care for less disruption of lives. We include the following services:
- Intensive outpatient program
- Individual and group therapy
- Partial hospitalization program
- Legal support and court-ordered treatment
- Outpatient treatment program or aftercare
- Family therapy
- Sobriety coaching
These are just a few of the services available to those dating and recovering alcoholics. Spokane Falls Recovery Center offers comprehensive care for individuals struggling with addiction. With our help, you can continue dating while getting the support necessary to sustain recovery.
Connect with Spokane Falls Recovery Center in Washington for Alcohol Addiction Treatment
Maintaining relationships with a loved one recovering from addiction is difficult. If your loved one starts to show signs of struggling again, get them in contact with a recovery center. In Washington State, contact us at Spokane Falls Recovery Center online or call us at 844.962.2775. You can learn about the treatment programs that we have available. While dating a recovering alcoholic is difficult, our treatment program can help your loved one get the support they need to stay sober.