Are you falling for a recovering addict? If so, it’s okay to feel hesitant about committing at first. Addiction has many negative stereotypes that our culture pushes on us at every turn.
But it’s important to educate yourself about the truth behind addiction and what it really means to be with a recovering addict. Although dating someone in recovery comes with its own set of challenges, there’s no reason that you can’t have a successful and beneficial relationship if you do things the right way.
Are you curious to know more? Keep reading to learn the truth about addiction and what questions to ask before you start dating a recovering addict.
Let’s dive in!
Life as a Recovering Addict
When you date someone who has had a different experience in life, it’s important to understand where they’re coming from. If you’re interested in dating a recovering addict, take the time to put yourself in their shoes.
Here’s some insight into what life is like in active addiction and recovery.
What Is Addiction Like?
Addiction is a disease. Suffering from it doesn’t mean that a person is weak or selfish. Most of the time, the will to get better is not enough for a person to enter into a state of recovery.
Addiction is lonely. Addicts may lose the support of family and friends. They may even lose faith in themselves.
What Is Recovery Like?
Once an addict successfully finishes a professional recovery program, that doesn’t mean their addiction is “cured.” Recovery is a lifelong process with tons of ups and downs.
For a recovering addict, some days will be harder than others. It’s important that they continue to attend meetings and surround themselves with supportive people.
The Truth About Dating a Recovering Addict
If you fall for an addict who’s in recovery, you’ll need to make some adjustments to promote their ongoing success. Although these changes may feel like a challenge at first, remember that dating anyone may call for changes in your lifestyle.
If you enjoy consuming alcohol or other drugs, dating a recovered addict may call for a huge change in that part of your life. Although some addicts are comfortable being around substances without using them, others may feel triggered by this experience.
Remember, everyone has different needs in relationships. Whether your partner is an addict or not, you’ll always have to make changes and compromises when you start dating someone. Don’t let the challenges of dating an addict deter you from following your heart.
Now that we understand a little more about those who suffer from addiction, let’s find out which questions you should ask before you start dating someone in recovery.
1. What’s Your Dating History?
Addicts can have many different substances of choice, and they’re not always just drugs or alcohol. People can also suffer from an addiction to love or sex.
To understand if your potential partner’s addiction has affected their past relationships in any way, it’s important to ask them about their dating history. But remember, if they’re in active recovery, you shouldn’t judge them based on their past.
2. How Long Have You Been Sober?
Someone who has been in recovery for two months will have very different needs than someone who has been in recovery for 20 years.
If you’re considering entering into a relationship with a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, it’s important to know where they are in their journey.
3. Are You Enrolled in a Recovery Program?
As we know, professional recovery programs are the best way for addicts to heal and remain successful in recovery without relapsing. If your loved one isn’t actively enrolled in a program, they should be attending meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous to continue their recovery journey.
Dating someone in AA can be a hugely beneficial experience for both parties. AA dating means that the addict will have the support of an understanding group of peers and that their partner will feel confident in their recovery process. Two addicts in a relationship can even visit meetings together.
4. What Will You Need from Me to Support Your Recovery?
Every addict has different triggers as well as different physical, emotional, and mental needs.
Some people in recovery may want their partner to have an active role in their recovery efforts, while others may want to keep that part of their life more private at first. Some people may share more about their past and others may take longer to open up.
Ask the addict in your life what they’ll need from you in a romantic relationship. Make sure you get a clear answer before you commit.
Ask yourself if you’re comfortable giving them what they need. If you doubt your ability to fully support them, be honest. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, it will only end up hurting both of you.
5. Are You Ready for a Committed Relationship?
Falling in love feels good. It gives the brain a rush of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
It’s easy to ignore our personal issues that may get in the way of a relationship in favor of these good feelings. That’s why this question is the most important one to ask not only to your potential partner but yourself as well.
If they need to focus on their recovery, they may not be ready to fully commit. And if you aren’t prepared to support them, you may not be ready either.
Before you decide to make things official, take a day or two to do some soul-searching. Once you’ve both had time to think things over, you can talk about your potential commitment.
Are You Ready?
We all have to make changes and compromises in relationships. But if you truly love someone, these adjustments should feel natural.
If you’re interested in dating a recovering addict, make sure that you’re ready to support them before you make a commitment. And ask them the five questions above to learn more about them and to make sure they’re ready, too.
Do you have questions about addiction or recovery? Or do you think your loved one may need help?
If so, contact us anytime. We’re here for you.
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.