Should Addicts Date Addicts?
If you are a recovering drug addict and single, you will probably eventually consider dating other addicts. At meetings, you come across a wide assortment of people, and some may seem pretty interesting or attractive.
Before you jump in head first, you may want to consider whether dating another addict is a good idea. There are both good and bad points to consider.
Relationships in Early Sobriety
The first thing to consider is how stable your own sobriety is. If you have only a few weeks or months of sobriety, the chances of any relationship working out are pretty slim. Early sobriety is a time of unpredictability. You experience a rollercoaster of emotions and you are just getting to know yourself and how to live life sober.
Relationships take work and energy, and you don’t have much of either to give when you first get sober. Give yourself time to work on yourself without the distractions and intensity of relationships. Most people in recovery suggest that newly sober addicts give themselves at least a year to focus only on themselves and their recovery.
Advantages of Dating Other Addicts
Recovery is a journey of personal growth, and some addicts who date other addicts find that they can connect on a deeply spiritual level. Recovery is the foundation on which they can build a healthy, useful life.
When you date people outside recovery, you may feel like you can’t be yourself. You may try to hide things you have done in the past or you may struggle to appear normal. You may be uncomfortable when dating someone who drinks socially, and that person may not understand why it’s a problem for you. Someone outside the program may not understand why you go to so many meetings.
You may find that you want to date someone who truly understands everything you have gone through in the past and the way that you are working to change. Since recovery is the top priority in your life, you may hope to find someone who also values the journey of recovery and personal growth.
At the same time, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you do bond with a romantic partner who is also in recovery, you each should have a program that doesn’t depend on the other person. In other words, you shouldn’t try to be each other’s sponsor. It’s healthy to attend some meetings separately.
Problems With Dating Addicts
There are some pretty big problems to consider when dating other addicts. When addicts date, many of them have a tendency to treat relationships like they treat everything else – addictively. You or your partner may approach the relationship obsessively. It may more closely resemble taking a hostage than dating.
One question you have to keep in the back of your mind at all times is whether the other person is serious about his or her recovery. If you are dating another addict who claims to be sober but isn’t, there is a good chance that being around that person will eventually put you in a dangerous situation. You may see him or her using drugs and you may be encouraged to go back to using drugs as well.
The person you are dating may be sober when you start dating and could end up relapsing. If this happens, you will most likely experience cravings, and your own sobriety may become precarious.
Dating in Recovery: A Personal Decision
There are both pros and cons to consider when dating other addicts in recovery, and, in the end, whom you choose to date is a personal decision. The important thing to keep in mind is that dating can cause intense emotions that can challenge your sobriety and serenity. To have a healthy relationship with another recovering addict or with a “normal” person requires that you keep your own sobriety and recovery up front at all times. The healthier and stronger you are, the more likely it is that you will eventually have a relationship that is healthy too.