We’ve heard time and again the potential obstacles in relationships in which one person is in addiction recovery (trust issues, fears of relapse, potential aggression, etc.). It’s also common for people in the recovery community to find comfort and trust in each other and start a relationship based upon those feelings and their shared experiences. While certain skeptics might regard these relationships as ill-advised, it’s just as possible for two people in recovery to form healthy romantic unions as it is for those outside the community. Like any other type of relationship paradigm, the strength of the relationship lies squarely with the couple’s ability to trust each other and weather adversity.
A history of drug or alcohol addiction can admittedly complicate any relationship, regardless of how many years the person has been in recovery. There will always be the looming specter of relapse and the threat of associated health and quality of life issues. While two people in recovery can strengthen and support each other in times of crisis and vulnerability, it’s also true that their own individual needs can suffer if they’re trying to support a loved one in recovery. If one party in the relationship is more comfortable in their addiction recovery than their partner, this can spell trouble for the preservation of their emotional strength.
If two people are comfortable in their recovery, they can effectively support one another in times of sporadic vulnerability. They can also provide a specialized understanding of the behavioral difficulties and logistics associated with the recovery process (the importance of meetings, the need for therapy, the hesitation toward being around alcohol or prescriptions, etc.). Relationships in addiction recovery have just as much potential as those outside of the community. It’s important, however, that both parties go into the relationship with their eyes open and that they’re mindful of the potential risks.