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It loosens us up. It releases endorphins, making us feel confident, good-looking, and hilarious.

Being in a Relationship With Someone in Recovery - The Recovery Village

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.

How to Date a Recovered Alcoholic

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. 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? It is easy to create a list of drawbacks and reasons why it is unwise to date someone with a history of alcohol abuse the main one being: What if they relapse?

This is an understandable concern and a reason perhaps for both people in the relationship to move slowly and cautiously. It is made even harder by the ubiquitous presence of alcohol in American life. Happy hour, dinner with wine, and nightcaps are frequent enough on their own, and even more so when love and sex are considered.


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Such is the pervasiveness of the presence of alcohol that deliberately steering clear of alcohol on dates might send wrong messages about intentions and interests. A person in recovery has to look for the fun and excitement in dating while dutifully avoiding any temptations and, in the process, eschewing a rite of passage that millions of people take for granted.

Most people think nothing of stopping after a glass or two of wine, or warming up the night with a draft beer. When they hear that a person cannot drink, that can change the entire tone of the conversation. Writing in The Fix , a sober woman confesses that a man she started dating expressed his disappointment that they could never share a glass of wine as a couple. For abstinent people, this can be especially disappointing.

Taking the Plunge: 5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Romance With Someone in Recovery

Their sobriety is an achievement, a successful overturning of years of alcoholic behavior. They had to sacrifice a great deal to become healthy again. The woman decided to keep seeing her partner, but they broke up a few weeks after that conversation. In conclusion, the woman writes that her sobriety has helped her regain control of her life and her mind, but it has made her romantic life much harder than it used to be.

Sobriety is great for health, but bad for dating. In the early stages of any relationship, the people involved struggle to find the right balance that works for both of them. For a couple where one party carries with them the specter of substance abuse, that balance can seem wildly off, especially when the people involved are still getting to know one another.

Unless the topic has been broached, avoiding alcohol can be misinterpreted as a sign of only mild interest, with no intention of raising the stakes.

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Communication in the nascent stage of dating is never easy, especially when both parties bring their own insecurities and doubts to the table. The Salon writer ruminates on how, when he and a potential date were not clicking, he longed for the feeling of having alcohol in his system, the freedom. Even for all the trouble their drinking caused, they never had problems meeting other people. For a drinker, alcohol makes people feel more interesting, says the Salon writer. Take that out of the equation, and dating when sober can seem confusing, frustrating, and even boring by comparison.

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Top of Page Couples in Therapy Vice Magazine conducted interviews with two couples on how difficult sober dating and relationships can be. 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.

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Be aware of the triggers the person you are dating has told you about. Offer your support by helping her to avoid these triggers. If she has a stressful or bad day, engage in an activity that has stress-reducing qualities such as going for a walk or attending a support meeting. Avoid focusing your entire relationships with him on his alcoholism.


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Be supportive and move past the disorder. Be aware of him as a person, not as a disorder. Understand how alcoholism shows up in his life and the measures you have to take. For instance, some alcoholics can eat at a restaurant that serves alcohol, but the same restaurant can be a significant trigger for a more severe alcoholic. Find a trusted person to talk to outside of the relationship if you have concerns or stresses related to the alcoholism.

Contact her when you need to talk with someone who knows the specifics of the relationship and can offer support. A young woman dancing with a young man. Tip Find a trusted person to talk to outside of the relationship if you have concerns or stresses related to the alcoholism. Alcohol Abuse Help Guide: