Good experience Lifestyle

Dating as an addict in recovery: How to navigate it…

Written by Jimmy Rustling

Dating is a funny old game at the best of times. There’s so much to think about, and so often our mind can get carried away with itself. “What if they don’t like this jacket?”, “what if I tell an inappropriate joke?”. All the usual stuff.

However, it can be even more difficult when you’re trying to navigate it sober. For many people in addiction recovery, the unfair and unwarranted stigma some people attach to it can really increase anxiety when it comes to dating. Do you tell them, do you not? What will a prospective partner make of it? Will they still like you?

It’s a tough one to navigate. But that shouldn’t stop you from dating. In fact, get through it and dating will be even more exhilarating without the numbness alcohol or drug abuse often brings.

So, if you’re thinking about dating as an addict in recovery for the very first time, here are a few top tips for navigating that…

Be upfront…

We’ll start with the most important tip. Just be upfront and honest about it. That may not be on the first date, but it’s certainly better to let a prospective partner know early on in the relationship, particularly when it comes to alcohol addiction.

If not, there will be a point where you encounter alcohol and that conversation will either become more awkward than it needs to be, or you put yourself at serious risk from relapsing.

Ultimately, you want to find a partner that will be supportive through your journey, and while it’s not in someone’s remit to be supportive on a first date or within a few weeks or months of knowing you, a good sign is certainly someone who is understanding. If they’re not, and it’s a problem for them, then they’re not the right person for you anyway, and you’re better off finding that out sooner rather than later.

Choose sober activities to enjoy

Starting with a simple coffee can be a good way to get to know someone. It offers the same sort of one-on-one situation as going to a bar or restaurant, but without the temptation or proximity of alcohol.

A coffee shop is a safe space for open conversation and a casual setting. Of course, you can ramp up the excitement and go for something a little more fun, whether it be bowling, ice skating, or any other activity like that. While, things like cooking classes and things like that can be great ice breakers, and all without alcohol.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Finally, while it’s great to be open and honest, and even better that they’re absolutely fine with that, one of the worst things you can do is heap pressure on the relationship, particularly in your own head.

Starting a relationship is incredibly exciting, but it can be a very anxiety enducing time too as you never quite know what the other person is thinking, how seriously they’re taking it, and what exactly they want.

It’s important to manage that, as you know only too well that stress and anxiety are major trigger points for relapse. Form a support group, speak to friends about it, and manage expectations to ensure you don’t build things up too quickly, and don’t feel too let down if it doesn’t work out.

From there, you’ve got a platform to re-enter the dating world, and most likely have a brilliant time doing so!

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.