Dating a former addict
“In treatment, people learn new skills that need to be practiced before they are able to make them part of their daily life without returning to old patterns,” she explains.
“If they start dating too soon, they are likely to choose someone who is emotionally less mature, as they themselves are, than if they waited a year.” People tend to choose partners who are at their same emotional maturity level.
Here’s what you need to know before dating a recovering addict: He should have been sober for a while. If you’re going to take on an addict, you have to know that this will be part of your new lifestyle—forever.
Some experts might recommend not dating someone until they’ve been sober for a full year. Recovery is never easy, but it gets less difficult the more time passes that the person is sober. That means the meetings, the other addicts, the need to avoid certain substances in his presence and more. The addiction took over his mind and personality for so long that he may still be finding parts of himself.
“We have to learn to love ourselves before we can love someone else.” People in recovery might choose to date a very different type of person when they first quit using as compared to when they have achieved a year of sobriety, observes Desloover.
They may have other mental health issues, compulsions and cross-addictions that need to be addressed as well, before they can truly focus on a relationship. The focus of the first year in recovery should be on working your program, practicing the 12 Steps and meeting with your sponsor, counsels Desloover, not on the distraction of relationships. Desloover asks her clients, “Would you want to date you right now? Early in recovery, people tend to have high expectations of others without thinking about what they themselves are bringing to the table.“Women in early recovery often choose abusive men because they seem in control, while the women feel out of control in their own lives.This control is attractive at first, but soon becomes controlling or abusive” says Desloover.Early in recovery, relationships are one of the leading causes of relapse.Although the Big Book of AA doesn’t offer guidelines on dating in recovery, addiction counselors strongly advise waiting until a person has achieved one year of sobriety.