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Written by Brandon Okey. Mina Draskovic, B.Psy., reviewed this content for accuracy.

Recovery from anything takes time and patience, but more so for someone in addiction recovery. This is the time for self-care and reflection and for changing habits and behaviors. If in early recovery, it’s recommended to delay dating until you’re in the later stages. Discover six tips about dating life in recovery to help you date safe and smart.  

Should You Date?

Dating in the recovering addict has different rules than someone not in recovery, and is a tricky path to navigate. Experts say it’s best to wait at least a year before beginning to date. The first year is usually tough and comes with many challenges. If you start dating too soon, it could disrupt the recovery process and lead to triggering of old habits. However, sometimes, an addict wants the affection and excitement of dating someone new and getting the support they need.    Even though it’s not recommended to date, if you do, it’s best to discuss this with your counselor. They can help you decide what’s best for you. But, here are the tips experts suggest if you do start dating.   1. Stay In Recovery. It’s integral to remember that recovery is a process, but just a one-time thing. Being in a supportive and therapeutic environment is best while you’re traversing the sober life. In therapy, you will be coached into the origins of your disease and work on assessing readiness—including dating life.   2. Be Truthful About Recovery. During recovery, you may be hesitant to start up a new relationship with the fear of judgment hanging over you. This is normal. Facing uncharted territory without your crutch of drugs or alcohol may be scary and could lead to relapse if not careful.  Also, when starting to date, you may be tempted to make excuses as to why you’re not drinking (if alcohol is an issue), but the truth will always come out, so it’s best, to tell the truth from the start. Your sobriety is part of your life, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of, so be upfront, which allows you to weed out anyone who may feel uncomfortable with dating someone in recovery.   3. Take it Slow. Dating too soon could cause issues, as mentioned above, so pace your recovery and assess when you feel you’re ready. It’s common for addicts to replace one addiction for another in the early stages of recovery, so it will take time to reset those dopamine receptors to prevent them from being triggered by the same receptors. If you are already dating someone, consider discussing as to the pacing of your relationship while in recovery. Try to avoid making big decisions within the first year, such as marriage or children.   4. Make sobriety a priority. To ensure long-lasting sobriety, you must put your program first, even if you’re not in a relationship. The excitement of a new relationship can be a distraction from your goal of remaining clean and may alter your routine, making you more susceptible to relapse. It may also lead to being in a situation where alcohol is readily available. A crucial key to long-term recovery is ensuring your partner isn’t an enabler. You need support, so educate them as to what your program is, and the expectations come from it.   5. Don’t Date Someone From A Familiar Place. You must stick with structure and routine while in drug or alcohol recovery. Think about the places you often frequent, whether it be a 12-step program, work, or an exercise class. It’s best not to date someone from those places since a break up will make a place once comfortable and safe a trigger. And, it may result in a reduction of going there.   Being in a romantic relationship can be stressful, particularly in the first year, so tread carefully. It is possible to have a healthy relationship in recovery and enjoy the dating life.  

Need Assistance? Contact Ardu Recovery Center

If you have a loved one or perhaps yourself that needs help overcoming an addiction, we welcome your call. We can answer your questions and discuss with you our recovery process and how our caring staff takes a holistic approach in treating addiction or mental health disorders. Contact us today.
Brandon Okey

Brandon Okey is the co-founder of Ardu Recovery Center and is dedicated to empowering people on their journey to sobriety.