There are a few things you should keep in mind:
- How new is the person to recovery? Brand new is usually a good time for the recovering person to avoid dating—at least long enough to get grounded in recovery.
- How committed is the person to recovery? A cavalier attitude toward recovery is usually a sign that relapse is inevitable—something you probably don’t want to be around for.
- Has the person changed his or her behavior since finding recovery? Alcoholism is usually marked by a set of characteristics—self-centeredness, problems with honesty and communication, irresponsibility, and a disregard for consequences—that may persist even if the alcoholic has stopped drinking.
- Does the person have unrealistic expectations about where the relationship is going? Alcoholics in recovery often substitute drinking with other “fixes,” including relationships. They seek the intensity of new romance and often react poorly when things don’t go their way.
On the other hand, an alcoholic who has shown a firm commitment to recovery, who has a foundation of sober time, and who has looked at his or her past behavior and attitudes and become willing to repair them where necessary, can certainly be an attractive partner.
Principles of recovery like honesty, self-awareness, and concern for another’s well-being are essential to any healthy relationship. Dating an alcoholic in recovery who embraces these principles can certainly be a rewarding experience.