Top of Page Couples in Therapy Vice Magazine conducted interviews with two couples on how difficult sober dating and relationships can be.
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In both couples, one person is a recovering drinker, and their respective partner drinks a lot. The sober partner in one of the couples admits that falling in love with a woman who actively drank was a threat to his sobriety; seeing how much fun she had when she was drunk, using her intoxication as a cover for his own desire to indulge, kissing her and smelling the alcohol on her breath, all pushed his abstinence to the brink. Alcohol is, officially and scientifically speaking, a social lubricant , but sometimes, merely being in the presence of someone who is drunk — or drinks in general — can be a lubricant all on its own.
Top of Page Dating in a World of Temptation Dating in general is very different experience for women than it is for men. When the dynamics of gender psychology are exacerbated by substance abuse and the rehabilitation thereof, the perspectives can become even starker. Sober people, for example, are still working through their past issues with alcohol; being around a drinker and being involved with a drinker can make for an uncomfortable relationship.
Eventually, it may come down to accepting harsh realities. As most people in recovery will say, becoming sober entails living in a world that is not sober, and a dating scene that is inherently linked to alcohol consumption to make things happen.
Jezebel writes of the importance of communication. When the limits around alcohol are established, the people in the relationship have a better chance of being more comfortable in their new roles. A couple with this dynamic will have to spend some time determining where the boundaries are; the partner in recovery will be made to feel self-conscious if the drinking partner feels constrained and embarrassed by not being able to have a glass of wine with dinner, especially in the company of friends.
This may entail that the couple do things differently; some events might even be attended by the drinking partner alone, if there is danger that the environment may be too triggering for a relapse. Top of Page The Realities of Sober Dating For all this, it is not impossible for a drinker and a sober person to date; like any relationship, however, it requires work, patience, communication, and understanding.
Ironically, the sober partner may have an advantage. Sober people know how to take care of their mind, body, and soul. Some do it through prayer, meditation, or yoga; others through exercise, hobbies, or community involvement. Recovery lasts for a lifetime, so sober people are in a constant state of improving and bettering themselves. While this is very useful in controlling the impulse to drink, it can also make a very firm foundation for a relationship with moderate drinkers.
But even moderate drinkers bring their own perceptions and ideas about addiction to the table. Despite an overwhelming body of research refuting antiquated and inaccurate ideas about substance abuse, many myths still persist. The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reported that the public feels more negatively about people with addiction issues than they do about people with mental health disorders. A responsible drinker who believes that alcoholism is a sign of a moral failing might not be a good match with a sober person, no matter how much work the person has put into recovery.
Top of Page Working Together, for Each Other Recovery, as any sober person will attest, is hard work; and like any form of hard work, a little help goes a long way. This means that friends and family should, when possible, participate in the pursuits that the person finds most beneficial to recovery. Any relationship requires sacrifice and compromise. A relationship between someone who enjoys drinking and gets drunk on occasion and someone who cannot drink at all will have to strike a very delicate balance of giving and taking. Sometimes, the two partners will need to have different plans for an evening.
Dating in Recovery
Sometimes, the sober partner will have to prioritize the sobriety over the relationship. There is no guarantee that sober dating will always be fun or easy; but if both partners are willing to make it work, then they can find true happiness in each other.
Guide to Sober Dating. Without more adaptive coping skills, the individual may reenact the negative patterns of former relationships that either occurred or led to alcohol. Also, the risk of relapse may be heightened by the emotional aspects of coping with a relationship, and the demands it may make. Whether or not someone chooses to avoid relationships for a period of time in early sobriety or not, certain aspects of dating a recovering alcoholic remain. It loosens us up.
It releases endorphins, making us feel confident, good-looking, and hilarious.
Dating a Recovering Alcoholic
We have to feel all those feelings without liquid courage. And herein lies the crux in some ways, of dating and socializing in a drinking culture. Wine with dinner seems like the civilized thing to do. Meeting for a drink at the bar after work or on a Friday night is seen as a great way to relax and unwind with friends. Meeting for drinks seems like the most common first date. Unlike illicit drugs, which are illegal in most of the world, drinking is often seen as harmless and socially acceptable — but alcohol is anything but harmless.
That cost comes primarily from excessive drinking — bingeing on four or more drinks per evening, or drinking heavily all week long. Though the amount of alcohol consumed and the circumstances for example, in Italy, alcohol is imbibed most often along with food , it is clear that in most countries, alcohol plays a role in daily life.
8 Tips for Dating Someone in Recovery | Waypoint Recovery Center
So, what is a sober person to do in a world of drinkers? And, more specifically, what is dating like for both the sober person and their partner? You can be a source of love, encouragement, and support, but the decision to remain in recovery belongs to your partner alone. If your attraction is based on a desire to rescue someone in need, you may be suffering from codependency.
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This condition is characterized by an excessive emotional, physical, and psychological reliance on another person to boost your own self-esteem. Codependent relationships are not healthy for either partner. People in recovery often have a number of challenging issues in their past. To be a supportive partner, you need to have a solid understanding of substance abuse and recovery.
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Visit sites such as DrugAbuse. You can also find a wealth of information resources at your local public library. Additionally, attending a support group for the friends and family of those in recovery may be beneficial. These groups let you learn more about addiction and recovery while providing a sympathetic ear when you face challenges in your relationship.