By Cheryl Steinberg
Nowhere in the Big Book does it say that being in recovery means that you have to date only other people who are, themselves, in recovery. However, there’s a strong argument for dating someone who is working a program of recovery from drug addiction. Here are 7 benefits of dating someone in recovery.
#1. You’re both committed to living a sober lifestyle
It’s not important for a couple to have everything in common; in fact that would be quite boring. However, it is important to be on the same page about certain things – the BIG stuff, such as being sober. Otherwise, misunderstandings, tensions, and resentments can build.
Also, for people in recovery, it’s a good idea to limit our time with people, places, things that involve or are associated with the use of substances (but, as the Big Book says, we don’t have to altogether avoid these). Otherwise, we run the risk of normalizing drinking and drug use, eventually thinking it’s OK to “just have a drink” or “just smoke some pot.”
#2. You don’t have to deal with kissing someone with alcohol on their breath
I don’t know about you but, I can’t stand the smell of beer, wine, or any other alcohol (it’s so not true that vodka is odorless!) on someone’s breath, especially if I’m going to be kissing them. By dating someone in recovery, I can ensure never having to deal with this.
#3. No awkward explaining why you don’t drink
Especially when in the first meeting-and-getting-to-know-one-another phase of dating, you won’t have to deal with the questions about why you don’t want to meet in a bar and why you don’t drink (everyone drinks, right?!).
#4. You can support one another in your program
Just be sure not to become each other’s program. Two people who are in recovery and who are dating one another can lovingly remind each other to make meetings and talk to sponsors.
#5. You’ll be in a relationship with someone who is willing to be accountable
Theoretically-speaking, of course. But, if you date someone who is working the steps, then most likely they will be willing to accept their part in things – as will you be – making for a much smoother, mature, and equal partnership.
#6. You’ll be with someone who is aware of their issues and who has a solution for dealing with them
I’ve said it before, I am grateful for my addiction because, unlike many “normies” out there, I at least know what my problem is and I have a way of dealing with it. There are so many people who don’t have an issue with substance abuse or addiction who go through life being completely miserable, not knowing why or that they can change.
#7. You both have supports outside of the relationship to help when you experience the inevitable bumps in the road
Whether it’s your respective sponsors or other sober supports, each of you has someone in which they can confide and from whom they can seek advice/suggestions.
This isn’t to say that “normies” don’t have their own version of a support network but, there’s something to be said about the closeness that those of us in recovery have with others in the program and, especially with our sponsors, who know everything about us and can counsel us accordingly. On top of that, assuming that you and your friends and sponsor are all committed to living the principles, the suggestions you get are more likely to be spiritually-minded and not spiteful or vindictive.
Do you want to know what living in recovery is all about? First, it’s about thriving – not merely surviving. When we recover from substance abuse and addiction, we have a chance to lead a life worth living. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 for more information.