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Thinking about a relationship with a recovering addict

Old 01-18-2012, 04:06 PM
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Thinking about a relationship with a recovering addict

I have been friends with this man for about a year and a half. We have a connection that we have never felt before and have decided that maybe we should try to date and see what happens. He is in recovery for drug addiction. He is doing really well in his progress and recovery and I am extremely supportive and always have been. He has been in recovery for about 9 months. He wants to take things slow and I am ok with that, but it seems that after he initially told me how he felt about me and we decided to date, now it is just at a stand still. I feel like we are still just friends. I'm unfamiliar with addicts and behaviors and need to get more information for sure, but I'm not sure how I should proceed. Should I just follow his lead or should I talk to him about it, what should I do? If anyone has advice please help. Thank you!
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:21 PM
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Welcome to SR.....this is a great forum with many people who have a lot of experience with addiction, recovery and codependence.

Most of us won't give specific advice because we can't possibly understand all of the details of your specific situation. I will say that 9 months is considered very very early recovery and it is typically advised that someone new to recovery refrain from getting involved in a relationship for at least a year. This is to allow them time to work on their own recovery without the distraction (and potential emotional roller coaster) of a new relationship.

This is just information for you and not intended to be a recommendation or advice. It is just what is suggested in most cases during early recovery. Each individual gets the opportunity to do whatever they choose to do, of course.

You might consider researching out as much as you can about addiction, recovery and codependence so that you can enter a relationship with your eyes wide open.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 01-18-2012, 05:22 PM
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He wants to take things slow and I am ok with that, but...
He may be fine and he may stay on a good path the rest of his life, I hope and pray he does.

But I would take it very very slow, just as he suggested. Right now he is focusing on his recovery and that may be more important than anything else, his life may depend on it.

Take a read around, knowledge you may find here may help you in days ahead.

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Old 01-19-2012, 08:13 AM
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In my brother's case, he did everything his NA group and sponsor suggested to him, EXCEPT refrained from getting into a relationship. It's ultimately what snowballed into his relapse. That was 3+ years ago and hes still using. If he isn't 100% (not 80, not 90, not 98, 100.) committed to doing what he is supposed to regardless of whether or not he thinks he can "handle" something, he's going to use again.

I hope this isn't how this story ends. I pray that if you choose to get involved with this person, things turn out well. Educating yourself about addiction and reading the stories of a lot of the folks on here will help you be better equipped for this sort of thing, again, if that's what you choose. I don't think anyone would advise you to take the decision lightly though.

prayers and best of luck
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Kindeyes View Post
Welcome to SR.....this is a great forum with many people who have a lot of experience with addiction, recovery and codependence.

Most of us won't give specific advice because we can't possibly understand all of the details of your specific situation. I will say that 9 months is considered very very early recovery and it is typically advised that someone new to recovery refrain from getting involved in a relationship for at least a year. This is to allow them time to work on their own recovery without the distraction (and potential emotional roller coaster) of a new relationship.

This is just information for you and not intended to be a recommendation or advice. It is just what is suggested in most cases during early recovery. Each individual gets the opportunity to do whatever they choose to do, of course.

You might consider researching out as much as you can about addiction, recovery and codependence so that you can enter a relationship with your eyes wide open.

gentle hugs
ke
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Old 01-19-2012, 09:23 AM
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Welcome to our SR family!

Congrats to your friend & his HP on his 9 months sobriety ~

How wise of you to seek out information on this disease as you enter this relationship ~ I would also suggest maybe attending some NarAnon or Al-Anon meetings, reading some of the literature so that you remain in a focused and healthy state of mind

Even in a "normal" (if there is such a thing - lol) relationship we can ALL tend to lose ourselves ~ I believe the tools of a recovery program can help us stay on our side of the street, keep healthy boundaries, not get caught up in what is in our "minds" and stay focus on what is real!

Best wishes for you & your new friend!

PINK HUGS,
Rita
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Old 01-19-2012, 03:15 PM
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Thank you all so much for your honest and heartfelt answers! I do plan on attending NarAnon meetings and reading much more on the subject. I care for him so much that his health and sobriety are my number one priorities. If that means that we just remain friends forever and never know if the connection we share is deeper than friendship that is ok. We are moving very slowly and as you all have said I believe that is the best way. I have told him that his recovery is the most important thing and he agrees. It makes me very nervous, only he knows what he is ready for and I support whatever that is.
cc88 I am so sorry to hear about your brother, I can only imagine your hurt for I have not been in that situation.
Thank you again for all of your responses.
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Old 01-19-2012, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by lookinforanswer View Post

I care for him so much that his health and sobriety are my number one priorities.
Red flag time.

His health and sobriety are more important that your own health and emotional wellbeing and you have yet to date?
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Old 01-19-2012, 05:17 PM
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Your number one priorty should be you, your well being. As an adult, his issues are his to resolve, not yours.

Have you read Codependent No More? If not, I would suggest that you do so.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:27 PM
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Hello Lookin,

Maybe you mean that you want him to live, and if being in a relationship with you compromises his recovery (hence survival), then your choice (your priority) is that his life is more important to you than being with him romantically. Is that what you meant?

If so, then your priority is where it should be: doing what is best for someone you care about. And sometimes that means letting go of your own wishes because you choose to live in reality and what you know about addicts in early recovery--based on what you have read and learned--is that they are very shaky the first year or two, as they are dealing with an UNCONTROLLABLE urge to drink and drug.

To deal with this uncontrollable compulsion, they need rigorous daily management of their disease as well as stabilizing mentally, emotionally and physically.

I don't think dating would serve his life right now, and if his life is your number one priority, it seems staying in touch but nothing deeper is best. For both of you.

While you have more free time opened up, reading "Codependent No More" would be a good way to use that time.

You may be a real blessing in his life one day. But for now, all the experts say what he really needs is intense time devoted to meetings, recovering friends, sponsor, and counseling.

Wishing you a happy outcome. Take the long view.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:37 PM
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p.s.

If you do decide to go ahead anyway and have a romantic relationship, it would be wise to require him to always use a condom or to be tested for STD's before you become sexually involved. You don't know where he has partied. And you can't count on him to be honest right now. Really. Don't count on honesty. Just do what you need to do for self-protection.
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Old 01-19-2012, 06:53 PM
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I'm not always good with my words... But yes I know that I'm the priority in my life. What English Garden said was more of the way I meant it. That his health and sobriety are my priority over a romantic relationship with him. We were friends first and I am patient. We feel a connection with each other we've never felt before. I'm willing to wait till he's ready and be supportive for him in his recovery. He has not lost his focus at all, he is still going to several meetings a week and working with his sponsor.
As far as a sexual relationship at this point we aren't even close to that, but thank you!
Thank you again for your honest input.
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:26 PM
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Honestly, as a recovering addict myself. I would suggest you don't go there for your own sake.
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:32 AM
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As said above 9 months is very early recovery especially if we can talk about an A's THINKING and EMOTIONAL MATURITY.

It takes most of us at least 2 1/2 to 3 years before we are ready to attempt a relationship. I know I was there. Also for many years now, I have been a sponsor in both AA and Alanon.

There is no way i was anywhere near ready to become involved in 'relationship' at 9 months and I can also tell you that I don't think I have ever had a sponsee that was 'ready' to get into a relationship at 9 months.

I too, like Threshold, have to say;

Having been sober and clean continuously (no relapses) for 30+ years, I would suggest you don't go there for your own sake.

Don't ruin your 'friend relationship' by changing it to a 'love relationship' and yes you will ruin your friendship status. He is no where near ready for an emotional relationship.

J M H O based on many many years of 'working with others.'

Love and hugs,
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Old 01-20-2012, 03:03 AM
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I'd start a runnin the other way...and not look back...
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:04 AM
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Hello Lookinforanswer,
One of the greatest things about suggestions is that you can take them or leave them. There have been some very good suggestions offered in this string. Most of these suggestions seem to be from people who appear to have been down the relationship road when it involves people who have experienced problems with the overindulgence of mood altering substances.

The “AA” big book has several things to offer about relationships not the least of these is the following quote;---

“We subjected each relation to this test-was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them.”

Perhaps those more acquainted with the Big Book than me may know better but I have not found any hard evidence that a person should wait for a year until they get involved with another.


From what you've written it sounds like he is being timid in not pursuing the relationship any faster and most likely for the very reasons that those on this string have previously shared. For the most part since he has been active in the program for at least 9 months then he has by now heard his own share of horror stories and failed relationships to know that the rule of thumb is a year of sobriety before even considering getting in a relationship (that is a rule of thumb that is shared by a large number of those who fully buy into the mantra of most 12 step programs…this is neither bad nor good…just an observation). On the other hand it does still come down to what the person wants for their own lives and all the suggestions in the world will have no effect once a person makes up their mind.

Becoming involved with someone that has already shown to have a predisposition towards excess is risky to say the least. However, it takes all kinds. What I mean by that is simply this: Once having made the decision to fully engage in a relationship with another individual has taken place there are going to be positives and negatives that will surface as time progresses and more opportunities arise.

All people, whether they are "addicts" or not have issues and those issues will have to be dealt with during the course of a person’s time with the other individual. The only question you have to ask yourself is it worth the risk? Does hooking up with this person bring you joy and happiness to the point that all his warts and other undesirables really don't matter?

I do find it extremely insightful of you to be asking questions about "addiction". At a minimum it can give you other peoples take on how they see life with an addict. I suppose I would simply suggest that you read what these others have shared and take what you like and leave the rest.

Since he is in a program of recovery you may want to read “How it works” from the Big Book to get some insight into what it’s all about. Since you support him you may very well have already read those materials from which he draws answers but it would probably be very helpful to read the different opinions shared from the Big Book about how to deal with recovery from the “AA” point of view.

Bottom line…just enjoy each other and love life. Sometimes we can over analyze things. As far as him not taking it very fast it may simply be who he is and how he conducts life. That can be a very good thing…either way I hope you guys have a great time in life and that you truly have more good times than bad.

Peace
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:15 AM
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Where's Anvilhead when we need her?
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Old 01-20-2012, 09:44 AM
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((EnglishGarden))) - I'm pretty sure ((Anvil)) is without power She lives outside Seattle, had e-mailed me that the power was flickering (snow/ice storm) and if she disappeared, they had lost power. That was early yesterday. She and Hank were stocked up on firewood, flashlights, food, and dog food for the "beasts"

(((Lookin))) - I'm really glad you came here with questions and a willingness to learn about addiction. I'm an RA but also am in recovery for being a major codie. I can say, that at 9 months, I was still trying to figure out my feelings and how to deal with them.

I'm not saying he's not ready, I'm just glad you guys are taking it slow. At the worst, you remain friends and that's pretty awesome! Just remember to take care of you and what you want. Some of us (ME!) have spent a looooong time waiting for someone else, only to find out a lot of time has past and we hadn't even noticed the other people who were there all the time.

Hugs and prayers,

Amy
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Old 01-20-2012, 12:55 PM
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Lookin, I meet my current boyfriend when he was in recovery for about 9 mos. A month after we began dating and have been together for 8+ months. I have attend a few NA meetings with him in the beginning and only very occassonally now as that is his thing to do. I learn everytime I go to one and that helps me. The road with a newly recovering addict is difficult. There are times when I want to spend time with him or see him and I cant due to his meetings, IOP, work & my work, and that I am a single mom and have my son. I cant fully understand what he is going through and even though he is willing to answer my questions about it he is still uncomfortable sharing some of it with me. As for your guy the decision is yurs but if you want to and understand that recovery is his full time job for a lifetime then go for it. You never know what the future holds for you if you dont move forward.

Good luck
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