To be perfectly honest, very few people explicitly look for drug addiction as a perk when browsing online dating profiles. Typically, when someone falls in love with a person struggling with addiction, it is despite their addiction and not because of it. Unfortunately, this does not always go very well. On the other hand, dating a person experiencing success in recovery can lead to a healthy, happy relationship. If you or someone you are interested in is enrolled in treatment at an outpatient drug rehab center, you may wonder if dating someone in recovery is a good idea.
At Westwind Recovery®, we understand that addiction recovery takes willpower, dedication, mental fortitude, and the will to fight for something meaningful, which is not necessarily easy. The ability to overcome adversity, such as addiction, is a remarkable trait and should be viewed as a positive aspect in a potential partner. However, timing also matters when it comes to dating after addiction. To get the support you need as you navigate healthy relationships in recovery, reach out to us at 855.340.8832 to enroll in our addiction therapy programs.
Dating After Addiction: How Soon Is Too Soon?
Not everyone can overcome addiction, and not everyone on the path to long-term sobriety stays on track long enough to achieve recovery. It is natural to want to engage in relationships, but when you are working toward recovery, there are a few things to consider before jumping right into something new:
- At what point is it healthy and a good idea to start dating again?
- How do you know when you have achieved recovery?
- When can you say you have truly achieved sobriety long enough to put your trust and love in another person and commit yourself to a long-term relationship?
- At what point can you say you have developed the mental fortitude to outlast and withstand the pain and anger of rejection without falling back into your past vicious cycle of self-medication?
Each of these questions will be addressed below to help you prepare to re-enter the world of dating after addiction.
What You Need to Know About Dating During Addiction Treatment
It is generally not recommended to date while in addiction treatment since you are more prone to making emotional choices that affect you in the short term. Your addiction can blind you to long-term circumstances and make it more challenging to prioritize your life. That means you may not be able to put your partner first without jeopardizing your recovery. Even casual dating is not a great idea at this time. Focus on getting better first — dating can always resume later.
Dating After Addiction: The Pros and Cons
It is a different story if you are in recovery, although the fundamentals are the same. If you are on a successful path toward recovery, dating can potentially jeopardize your chances at long-term sobriety by introducing the risk of rejection or loss.
Breakups can be overwhelmingly painful, especially after putting your trust in someone for the first time since stopping your drug use.
That pain can increase your risk of relapse. However, if you are strong enough, you can continue mourning your breakup while remaining sober, or you can withstand the pain until you are strong enough to let it all out.
However, if you are relapsing and unable to find your way through treatment, perhaps having someone who cares about you and provides unconditional support may be just what you need. They can motivate you to take better care of yourself and see yourself in a more positive light – firmly establishing your sobriety.
What You Need to Know About Dating Someone in Recovery
It is crucial that you not only understand the dangers of dating, falling in love, and breaking up after addiction, but you also understand that your partner needs to know how to date someone in recovery.
Dating you is not quite like any other relationship. Your partner needs to give you time and space to:
- Go to meetings
- Meet up with friends and family
- Be social
- Get into new, sober habits
- Work on projects that help you stay sober
Furthermore, your hypothetical partner will have to understand the commitment and responsibility of dating someone in recovery, such as knowing the signs of a secret relapse and helping a relapsed addict get back on track.
Is It Safe to Date After Addiction?
The Alcoholics Anonymous community has a one-year rule regarding dating. It is not a strict rule but rather a recommendation to help you realize that you need some time to cement the changes you have made in your life and consider yourself drug-free.
If you want to start dating again without worrying about a relapse, you need to wait until you feel more confident in your recovery. As long as you come to terms with your past, achieve closure, become sober, and genuinely consider yourself done with drugs, you are ready to consider getting back into dating.
Westwind Recovery®: Therapy and Support to Help You Enjoy Life After Addiction
While how long it takes to be secure enough in recovery to be ready for dating will vary for each individual, Westwind Recovery® can help you get there. Recovering from addiction is challenging, and throwing yourself into dating too soon can sabotage your success. With the help of our behavioral and holistic therapies, we can strengthen your overall health and well-being to prepare you for happy, healthy relationships after addiction. Call us today at 855.340.8832 to start experiencing all the benefits of therapy for your future relationships.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.