Be observant; listen and watch what the person is expressing both verbally and nonverbally
Educate Yourself About Addiction
Keep in Mind that this is a Process
Recovery is a process not a short time event. It is important to realize and understand this. Committing to a relationship with someone who is in recovery means that you are committing to the ups and downs that any relationship would have but that could be more complex than that. It is important to understand that they need to attend their AA/NA meetings regularly and it is important to be supportive of this. It is important for them to speak to their sponsor (sometimes at nontraditional times of the day) and it is not that they are taking time away from you or not trusting you with their present concerns/struggles but it is more because of the ability to understand what they may be experiencing or triggered with at that moment.
It’s also important to be understanding of the person and their journey. Addiction is not everything the person you are dating did in the past. The individual most likely has caused turmoil within their family while in their active addiction, could possibly have caused legal concerns as well as financial concerns. Don’t go into the relationship with unrealistic expectations as well as try to stay away from having certain unrealistic standards for them that they may not be able to meet as it can cause unnecessary stress on the individual which can ultimately lead to a possible relapse. Be mindful of this and be comfortable with setting boundaries for yourself.
Recognize your Beliefs About Addiction
Understand that Their Recovery Will Come First
Be Open-minded to Changing your Social Habits
When dating someone in recovery, it’s important to understand their triggers. If they are early in recovery then ordering a drink with dinner may not be the best idea. Have a conversation with your significant other. Ask them if it is ok that you order a drink. Communication is the most important factor of your relationship and that goes for any relationship that you enter into.
It’s important to understand that you may also need to avoid certain types of social activities; concerts, comedy shows that offer alcohol, wineries, holiday parties, karaoke nights at a bar, etc. These are just a few complicated situations that can arise however again it is important to communicate with the individual as they may be in a different place in their recovery where they may be able to attend these functions with you but know that they may need support from you or their sponsor if they do attend these events.
At the end of the day your decision to date someone in recovery is ultimately up to you. Dating someone in recovery will require some adjustments and compromises, however all relationships require this understanding and acceptance in order for it to be successful. Each relationship is unique, just like the two people in it. If you feel comfortable with the individual and are open minded to the process then the relationship has a great foundation which is key in any successful relationship!