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The Dos and Don’ts of Dating a Person in Recovery

Maintaining a relationship with anybody requires work. However, maintaining or starting a relationship with a recovering addict requires double the work as poor choices, unhealthy lifestyle, mental disorders, and self-destructive behavior also become a part of the relationship. Being in a relationship with a person in recovery pulls you in different directions and you would want to give up everything more than once.

Nonetheless, one does not need to feel overwhelmed while dating somebody in recovery as there are some ground rules that can be followed to make the relationship a success. More than 60.1 percent Americans, aged 12 years or over, used a substance in the past month. This means that a large part of the population is either involved with a person in recovery or knows a person who is involved with a recovering substance user.

Whenever you feel overwhelmed by the relationship, the trick is to take it one day at a time. Apart from that, here are a few dos and don’ts that you can use to make your relationship go smoother.


Make yourself aware: Try to learn everything there is to about the substance that your loved one is using and the disease of addiction. You can get in touch with addiction specialists, support groups, or any other addiction professionals to understand the disease and what needs to be done to handle it.

Take a look at your relationship: Ensure that are not supporting the addiction of your partner by either providing them money or taking them out of tricky situations. If that is the case, then you are protecting them from facing the consequences of their actions and unconsciously supporting their addiction.

Set boundaries: When you are with a recovering addict, you need to set some clear boundaries early on. Set these boundaries after talking to their therapists. Also, include the therapists if need be in the discussions and ensure that the tone you use is gentle but firm.

Take care of yourself: Looking after a person in recovery can be tough and overwhelming. It can take a toll on your mental health. Therefore, ensure that you take out time for yourself and indulge in things that you like, be it reading, listening to music or talking a walk. Also, ensure that you take care of yourself by following a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and sleeping properly. You never know, maybe your partner may take your lead and start following your example.


Avoid nagging and preaching: If you keep nagging the person in recovery, by telling them to stop or change their habits if they love you, you will shut them out. They have heard this before and would not like to hear it from you again like a broken record. Recovering addicts usually lack confidence and if you keep nagging or preaching them, they can tune you out totally.

Underestimate your power: Most people in such situations continue being in such a relationship, however toxic it might be. It usually happens from the fear of hurting the other person and the feeling of guilt that would engulf you if the partner’s situation takes a turn for the worse. However, do remember that your responsibility is to give them a chance and stay with them till the time they are trying. However, if they refuse to help themselves and do not try, then you are free to take your own decisions.

The road ahead

Dating a person in recovery requires a lot of courage, self-reflection, mental strength, and self-assurance. If you are in a relationship with a person who uses drugs or other substances or you require assistance with your own mental health, then get in touch with the 24/7 Recovery Helpline.

Call our 24/7 helpline 855-441-4405 and our associates will connect you with the best behavioral health centers that offer comprehensive evidence-based treatment plans for patients dealing with substance abuse issues and mental health disorders. You can also chat online with our experts available 24/7 at our drug addiction help online to get guidance about dual-diagnosis treatment centers and programs offered. Remember, you are not alone and help can be sought whenever you want.

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