Dating in Recovery: Essentials for Every Relationship

Tips on dating during addiction recovery

In 2017, U.S. News highlighted the fact that the first year of recovery is often the most challenging. Anne Lewis, a psychologist and clinical addiction counselor at Indiana University Health, stated,

“It will be easy for many to find replacement addictions, such as love addiction, to replace the high the drug or alcohol provided.”

There’s no doubt that love brings about feelings of euphoria similar to other addictions – and while it’s advised for those in recovery to refrain from maintaining romantic relationships while they recover, there will come a time when a person has reached mental, physical and spiritual stability – and that’s when there may be concerns about dating. In 2016, writer Emily Glover shared her personal lessons learned while dating in recovery. These were a few epiphanies she came to over time:

  1. Ensure you have a clearer understanding of who you are and where you’re at in life, as well as what you’d like from a relationship, before moving forward.
  2. Explore past trends you’ve had with relationships – do you have negative patterns that you want to be sure to avoid this time?
  3. Keep your eyes open for red flags in any potential relationship. If the other person is causing you to go back on your boundaries, they’re not a good option to pursue.
  4. Be upfront about your recovery and what your future plans are. They need to understand that your recovery goals, social support groups, 12-Step meeting and healthy rituals you’ve developed are all crucial to your mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.
  5. Take the relationship slowly. It’s easy to completely immerse yourself into a relationship, but that can make it much more difficult to get to know a person for who they really are.

If you haven’t already, speak with your therapist about the decision to let a potential love interest in your life. Make sure you have clear boundaries and communication and approach each relationship cautiously – placing your recovery and yourself as top priorities.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.