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Relationships and recovery

How to find love while protecting sobriety in a new relationship
Jody Boulay, community outreach coordinator for Drug Rehab Services

There can be pitfalls for anyone playing the dating game, but protecting sobriety can be particularly tricky in new relationships. With Valentine’s Day in the recent spotlight, it’s a good time to consider tips for success in relationships and sobriety,

While dating can be an adventure, it’s important to never lose sight of sobriety goals.

Generally, health professionals recommend that people in early recovery from substance abuse wait year or so before pursuing a new relationship.

Any recovering addict knows there are real risks associated with relapse, and more and more people are needing treatment. About 290,000 adults in Minnesota are estimated to be in need of treatment, according to the Department of Human Services.

When approaching the dating scene, recovering addicts need to assess their personal readiness for dating in sobriety.

This may involve self-reflection about whether or not to pursue a relationship at all and determine emotional stability and self-awareness to begin a healthy relationship.

Moreover, they will want to evaluate whether motives for dating align with a genuine connection they are seeking and not simply fill a void.

Before entering the dating world, it’s a good idea to be confident in sobriety, have a strong support network, and even a relapse prevention plan.

Once a relationship, consider setting clear boundaries and communicating sobriety and preferences openly when it feels comfortable. This could be done at any stage, but generally based on comfort level with the other person in the relationship.

It’s generally wise to go alcohol-free or choose mocktails or alcohol-free drinks or find places that don’t serve alcohol or promote heavy drinking.

Use a support system or consider sober dating apps, which are plentiful. There are generally numerous sober communities that people can lean on to meet like-minded individuals.

Finally, prioritize self-care and do not lose focus on sobriety. As cliché as this sounds, there is someone for everyone. Remember, the right partner will respect a commitment to sobriety.

Everything happens in time, which means there is ample opportunity to pursue meaningful friendships and better relationships with family.

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