"Relation-Ship" in Recovery

I don’t talk about my personal relationships on social media. However, I’ve found myself in a committed relationship with someone I care about a bunch. So much, that I feel myself growing as a person from all the sacrifices and compromises that have come along with the ride. The most significant part of dating this guy, in particular, is that we are both sober and alcohol free.

What do they say about dating while in recovery from addiction? They say not to do it! At least for the first year; and I’ve been sober and active in a program for over four months. My guy is three years into his sobriety, and we’ve been together for almost two years. You would think this would be a great situation to be in but we both, regardless of our separate recovery time, still deal with insecurities, emotional changes, and lack of trust. This all stems from the recovery process.

There’s a lot to deal with, internally, when taking “One step at a time” as an alcoholic. If a relationship with someone else who’s also recovering is going to work, it’s going to take patience, communication, and lots of understanding. You’re also taking on all the baggage that person has, which could possibly add more stress to your own recovery.

Let’s get real here. Living a sober life is extremely difficult. I’m learning myself all over again, regaining confidence, and diving into some dark corners to fight demons I never thought I’d face again. The crazy part is, he is doing the same. So, when we are together, some days are easy and some days I find myself having to step back and remember the bigger picture: We’re both in a constant battle with ourselves, and every one’s recovery process is different.

Dating sober can have its advantages, though! When a person has chosen to be sober, he or she knows what they want. There’s not much room for games, and I like that. As a couple, my boyfriend and I make small efforts all the time to aid in each other’s success. We’ll go on sober dates: taking walks, eating at dry restaurants, meeting for coffee, even joining a local group activity every so often. This way, our relationship builds slowly. There’s less pressure and the main focus always remains: staying strong in sobriety.

Sex is, honestly, completely different when both people are sober. You really have to have feelings for the person you’re rolling around with. To me, it’s a wonderful thing. In my time of sobriety, I’ve learned lots of things I do and don’t like in bed and now have the self-confidence and self-respect to be vocal about it. Drunk sex creates a false reality and unrealistic situations. Once you’ve learned to love yourself, sober, you can love someone else even better.

I’ve grown to love my guy and the system that we’ve built together. The key to riding the Relation Ship of sobriety is to whole-heartedly accept the other person’s flaws. Be ready to face the turmoil that comes with a persons recovery. Approach every action with loving intentions. At the same time, dedicate time to work toward becoming the best version of yourself.