Everyone has a different opinion on this. Some people in 12-step programs will tell you that no, you definitely shouldn’t be in a relationship the first year of recovery. Others will say it doesn’t matter. Some people are so strict about this rule that they would have you break up with the person you are with. I think that’s a little extreme. I think the main idea of this rule is to not undergo any dramatic relationship changes during the first year of recovery and to end all toxic relationships. I don’t think the rule is so black and white though. If you are thinking about beginning a new relationship or ending a relationship during your first year of recovery, I would keep these questions in mind.

Is the relationship healthy?

Are you in a toxic relationship with another person who is a heavy drinker? Are you currently with someone who doesn’t want to get sober? These are both situations in which you probably will need to think about ending the relationship. It’s possible a relationship could also be toxic even if the person doesn’t drink so I would really take a moment to evaluate how healthy the relationship is.

Is the other person an alcoholic? If so, how long has he/she been sober?

Everyone knows it’s not a good idea for two alcoholics who are brand new to sobriety to start dating. It is very easy to relapse together in that situation. However, if you meet another alcoholic who has a year or more of sobriety, it may be alright to begin a relationship with that person.

Does the other person drink? Is he/she willing to stop drinking?

If you want to start dating someone who is not an alcoholic but drinks every now and then, it would probably be better to ask that person to avoid drinking around you. He or she may not understand alcoholism, and he or she may think it’s not a big deal if you have a glass of wine.

There are no black and white rules on this subject, in my opinion. I think the most important thing is that you do what you feel is right and what you feel is going to be the most healthy thing for you and the thing that is going to most help you stay sober.

 

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