Online dating for recovering alcoholics
In the early months of recovery, you’ve given up a lot — your go-to coping strategy, your social network, your approach to life.It’s natural to look to the comfort of new love to counteract the loneliness.Relationships can be part of healing, but finding healthy partners who support your recovery is a challenge.While the guidelines for dating in recovery are similar to the rules of engagement for “normies,” a few rules are critical to your success: Dating carries obvious risks.You’re sharing personal information with someone you don’t know well who may or may not be who they say they are.Safety can be of even greater concern for the 40 million people dating online where it’s easy to hide behind anonymity, make up personas and date multiple people at the same time.“Safety should be at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” says Stan Tatkin, Psy D, MFT, author and assistant clinical professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
But, like other ways of meeting someone, he says it’s a “roll of the dice.” It’s important to carefully vet a prospective mate and avoid feeling too familiar too quickly.Ask yourself: Would you feel confident introducing this person to your friends or family?Does the person show signs of addictive thinking or behavior? “There’s no forcing this process of knowing, only ways of fooling ourselves.Does this person share your interests and have the characteristics you’re looking for in a partner? It takes approximately a year to know another person as separate from our fantasies about them and us.So the proper etiquette is to be a stranger, which is what you are.” Compounding the fact that we know very little about a date, our brains release a powerful cocktail of arousing chemicals, compromising our judgment and making us more vulnerable to danger. Tatkin describes it, at the mercy of chemicals that drive us to procreate.
For those in early recovery from addiction, it’s especially important to ease into romantic relationships.