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How to Date a Recovered Alcoholic

by
author image Alia Butler
Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.
How to Date a Recovered Alcoholic
A young woman dancing with a young man. Photo Credit Ariel Skelley/Blend Images/Getty Images

Alcoholism is a serious issue which has the capacity to affect your life if you date someone with this problem. A relationship with an alcoholic isn't impossible, but it does take a certain finesse. Learning how to navigate this disorder and how it affects romantic relationships gives you important tools which can be valuable whether your choose to continue your relationship or not.

Step 1

Deepen your understanding of the disease. Alcoholism is a chronic mental health disorder that a person will struggle with for his entire life. Over time, a recovered alcoholic should be able to cope more effectively with his illness, but during times of stress or significant life changes his desire to drink may intensify. Ask a mental health professional about the disorder or read a book about the struggles people with alcoholism have faced to expand your knowledge.

Step 2

Discuss her alcoholism with her. Ask her to share with you her experience. Share with her your views and experiences with alcoholism. Be open about your concerns and hesitations about dating her. Creating an air of openness and honesty lets her know that she can be forthright and builds trust between the both of you.

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Step 3

Attend an Al-Anon support group. Al-Anon is a support group focused on the people affected by alcoholism, such as wives, husbands, parents, partners and children; these groups allow people to share their experiences and benefit from the support of others. Find a local Al-Anon group. Make time to go to one of their regular meetings. Share your story and why you have come to the meeting. Continue your participation in the support group for as long as you feel necessary.

Step 4

Avoid making alcohol a central part of your social events or regular life. Help Guide reports that for most recovering alcoholics it is important for them to avoid things such as social interactions and social situations which trigger cravings for alcohol. Ask the person you are dating how he feels about you drinking alcohol. Discuss with him whether he is comfortable with you drinking in his presence. Be respectful of his desire to maintain his sobriety and change your drinking patterns based on his needs.

Step 5

Acknowledge that relapse is possible. Even alcoholics who have been in recovery for long periods of time have the potential to relapse. 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.

Step 6

Avoid focusing your entire relationships with him on his alcoholism. 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.

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References

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