If they are in recovery, how long have they stayed sober?
Are they actively working a program of recovery (e.g., participating in self-help support meetings, counseling or an aftercare program)?
In working with the spouses and significant others of addicts, I’ve often heard it said, “I’d rather be an addict than love one.” While few people would ever walk eyes-wide-open into a chronic disease like addiction, the statement speaks to the confusion, loneliness and despair common not only among addicts but also the men and women who love them. In fact, addicts who are solid in their recovery can make excellent partners.
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Addiction is described by the Merriam Webster dictionary as the “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (such as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.” This broad definition can not take into account the many individual experiences of addiction and recovery. Some go to 12 step meetings or other sober support groups. Some find support and spiritual renewal in church while others engage in certain self-care practices to maintain an emotional and physical balance that allows them to remain free of addictive behaviors.
Therefore, it is essential if you are dating a recovering addict that you understand your partner’s addiction and what elements are key in his/her recovery process. Knowing what those practices are and understanding them can make dating a recovering addict a far richer, healthier, and fulfilling experience.
There are many suggestions, unofficial guidelines, and things to consider when building relationships surrounding recovery.
Let’s start by clarifying that some people are recovering from relationship issues, sexual addiction, and/or trauma.