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When it comes to relationships, the realities and rules of abstinence after addiction become all the starker.

Whether as a client or a companion, a guide to sober dating is very important in understanding how matters of the heart change.

The idea of fellow program members combining their sensitivities andweaknesses is fraught with danger. For anyone going through treatment, relapse is always a possibility.

Being involved with someone for whom that possibility also exists greatly increases the chance of the two people falling back into the same habits – only this time, together.

Newly sober, she didn’t date anyone for eight months, giving herself time to recognize the red flags that her earlier self was not ready to see.

Her experiences and her treatment taught her that a partner who could respect and support her sobriety would also respect and support her as a romantic partner.

It may entail leaving early, being alone, or being considered the “boring” one, but the alternative is flirting with disaster.

It is because of reasons like these that people should not only avoid entering into relationships in the first stretch of their sobriety, but they should also stay away from places and events that may prove to be too much of a challenge (like bars, nightclubs, certain parties and sports events, etc.).

Even for people who aren’t using anymore, and who consistently work the program, there is an unconscious identification with other addicts, to the point of seeking out romantic or sexual partners with substance abuse problems (either borderline or full blown).

Part of the draw comes from the feeling of relapsing without actually doing it; a psyche that is still too strongly tempted by addiction can rationalize anything, including staying with a partner (or multiple partners) who are using drugs.

Additionally, “normal” sober dating can seem boring by comparison.

A person in recovery can still well remember the tension and drama of a relationship affected by substance abuse.

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