Dating is always a pretty complex time in your life, especially as you get older, and we start to carry that little bit more baggage, from former partners to children, careers to health concerns, and everything in between.
We can often be put off dating a person based upon the baggage they have, which perhaps isn’t entirely fair. After all, everyone has a past and the past is exactly that – the past.
Often one element of baggage that can cause concern when dating someone is if they are a recovering alcoholic, especially if they have only recently entered recovery.
After visiting a rehabilitation centre, one of the key things to avoid is stress, and that is something that many new relationships can bring. The thought of feeling responsible for someone’s relapse can often be the lone factor in deciding not to jump into a relationship with that person, no matter how fond you are of them.
Which is understandable, but love is love and there are things you can consider to have a perfectly loving and incredible relationship with an alcoholic in recovery.
The first step is to establish a number of facts. Firstly, get their story. A big part of an alcoholic’s recovery process is to be open and honest, so they will be able to communicate clearly, their problem with alcohol, as well as things like what the route of the problem was and their coping mechanisms.
Establishing this will give you a much clearer idea of where they are at and the support they may need.
Alongside this, you should do some research into alcohol addiction and understand the syptoms, things that could cause relapse and an overall overview of the disease.
Depending on where a person is in their journey of recovery from addiction, it may well be that you need to sacrifice elements of your own life, mainly those that revolve around alcohol. It may be that they are at a point in their recovery where they can’t be around alcohol, which may change your social life considerably.
You need to be switched on to how a potential partner may be feeling and how stable they are in their life. Is stress likely to cause relapse? Are certain events in the early stage of a relationship going to do more damage than good? For example, meeting the parents?
You need to understand these things to make a decision on how fast or slow a relationship can progress, and ultimately whether that suits what you want. Additionally, if they are in a place where relapse could be more likely to happen, are you able and willing to offer support?
You also need to think about yourself. You may have things of your own going on and your own mental health could suffer as a consequence of offering others support. There is no shame in that.
Weigh up the options, understand the support and sacrifices you may have to make, consider how your life may change due to that, and make a decision as to whether it’s the right relationship for you.
If it is, you could be exactly what each other needs and enjoy a healthy and loving relationship together.