Just when you thought dating was difficult you went into recovery and it can feel like the entire world is against you. Dating in recovery is not as complicated as you think. Of course, it’s going to be different, but you’ll actually find that your relationships in recovery are much more meaningful.

Dating in recovery is as successful as your mindset. Of course you’re nervous and this is such a big step that you can feel a little unsure. This is our guide to recovery romance that we hope will usefully and meaningful.

The Standard Answer

If you are in AA or NA, they standard answer is almost always: “1 year after you get clean”. And honestly, that is not a bad timeframe to aim for at all. The reason is simple: after drug detox, and your 30 day rehab, you will think that you are thinking clearly. The fog is certainly gone and that can make things seems clear. They are not.

Your first year is so important. You will be relearning social communication skills, you will be relearning coping mechanisms and to be honest, you won’t be in any shape to be dating in recovery.

The second most common answer is: “get a plant and keep it alive for 2 months, then get a fish and keep it alive for 2 months, then a dog or cat for X months” and so on and so on. Though this is not terrible advice, it can be too much too soon. Keep this in mind and ask your therapist.

We believe that you are going to be ready to consider dating after addiction once you have completed the following steps.

Steps 4 – 10 Are Called The Relationship Steps

And here is the genius of the 12-step program. Steps 4 through 10 are good at getting people ready for relationships in recovery. The most powerful of these steps are 4, 8, 9 and 10.

Step 4 – Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

If you want to find real happiness in a relationship, you have to know yourself. You have to know exactly what your shortcomings are and how those short comings affect your relationships.

Step 8 – Make a list of all persons we have harmed, and become willing to make amends to them all.

In this step, you will likely face others whom you have had a relationship with and you will see them and see the relationship more clearly than when you were using. Relationships in recovery work if you understand how important it is for you to make amends.

Step 9 – Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

This is another difficult but necessary step that you must take before you begin dating in recovery. You may also uncover and directly deal with sexual harms in your past and this can really be difficult. Going through this step will give you the courage to discuss these important parts of recovery with your future significant other.

Step 10 – Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

Even non addicts could take a note from this step. One of the most important things in any relationship comes down to taking personal responsibility for our actions and how those in turn affect our partner and our relationship overall.

When Are You Truly Ready to Start Dating In Recovery?

To be honest, we are all different. You could be ready sooner than most or it could take you longer. We believe that the most important thing is to be patient and to communicate your feelings with those around you.

Some find recovery a very lonely process and they might think that the support they get from someone in recovery will be helpful but this just not true. You have to look after you first! If you are in a sober living home for women, then you should speak to a counsellor before you make any decisions.

Can I Only Date Other Recovering Addicts?

Not at all! You can date whomever you want to as long as they want to date as well. There are no limits except that you really, really should avoid dating people who are currently using. That is a terrible idea and it WILL lead you down the wrong path.

The question is not if you should date a recovering addict, the questions is does this person care about you and are they compatible with you? 1

When To Tell Them You’re In Recovery

This is one of the most difficult things for former addicts to do when they start dating. You feel ashamed and you are so scared that you may lose this person that you really like. It is just so difficult to disclose the issues you have about your past.

Our recommendation is to tell someone your dating as soon as you know they have feeling for you and/or on the first date.

That’s what first dates are for! You are telling each other more about yourselves. Sure most of us don’t divulge major secrets on first dates, but this isn’t a secret. This is your life and it’s as affecting as needing insulin.

Don’t forget that there is a strength in honest that is also impressive.



[1]: Psychology Today – Dating a Recovering Addict: Match-Maker or Deal-Breaker?

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