Most people never choose romance; it tends to happen as a natural course of life. Yet, it’s common to have a desire to create romance, especially around Valentine’s Day. This can be particularly true for someone in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.
However, romance and addiction recovery may or may not work. While there are risks and benefits to being in a relationship while in recovery, it’s a good idea to consider every avenue. Fortunately, there are practical tips you can use to make your choices.
Generally, most health professionals recommend that people in early recovery from substance abuse wait about one year before pursuing a new relationship. Although there is no specific timeline, focusing on recovery is essential, especially in the beginning.
There are real risks today with relapse and accidental overdose. The number of accidental drug overdose deaths in Ohio continues to be driven by fentanyl, often in combination with other drugs, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Initially, you’ll want to assess your personal readiness for dating in sobriety. This may involve some self-reflection about whether you want to pursue relationships or not. Looking inward helps you determine your emotional stability and self-awareness to begin a healthy relationship.
Moreover, you will want to evaluate your motives for dating. This will ensure they align with a genuine connection you are seeking and not simply fill a void.
Before entering the dating world, it’s a good idea to be confident in your sobriety, have a strong support network, and even a relapse prevention plan.
If you choose to begin dating, set clear boundaries and communicate your sobriety and preferences openly when you feel comfortable. This could be done at any stage, but generally based on your comfort level with the person you are engaging with.
It’s generally wise to go alcohol-free or choose mocktails or alcohol-free drinks. While it may seem challenging to find alcohol-free environments, you would be surprised at what is likely available in your community.
Use your support system or consider sober dating apps, which are plentiful in today’s tech age. There are generally numerous sober communities you can lean on and meet like-minded people.
Finally, prioritize your self-care and do not lose focus on your sobriety. As cliché as this sounds, there is someone for everybody. Remember, the right partner will respect your commitment to sobriety.
Jody Boulay is a mother of two with a passion for helping others. She currently works as a Community Outreach Coordinator for Drug Rehab Services (DRS) to help spread awareness of the dangers of drugs and alcohol.