Recovery from alcohol addiction is a difficult and continuous process. Alcoholics need support from those around them in order to stay on the right track. According to Alcoholics Anonymous, supports must come not only from family members and friends, but from romantic partners as well. As someone who is dating a recovered alcoholic, you play a role in whether or not your man has continued success at staying sober.
Reasons for Quitting
Spend some time learning about your guy's past behaviors and why he quit drinking. There is a big difference between someone who stopped drinking due to an alcohol addiction and someone who gave up alcohol for religious or health reasons. Understanding why he quit will help you be clearer on your role in supporting him.
Alcoholism is considered a disease. It is an addiction that can result in dire consequences. Alcoholism destroys lives, rips apart families and relationships and can be emotionally and physically devastating. The alcoholic has no more control over his drinking than a hospital patient does over his fever. As noted by Alcoholics Anonymous, the only way in which the alcoholic can combat this disease is by ceasing the consumption of alcohol.
If your guy is a recovering alcoholic, chances are he has spent some time in a support group. These groups provide members with the caring guidance and support of others who also suffer from alcoholism. Typically, members learn about twelve steps that guide them through recovery and abstinence. The largest and most well-known group of this kind is Alcoholics Anonymous. More than two million people have found help in AA, and there are more than 114,000 AA groups around the world. If your man has received this kind of support, it would behoove you to learn about how it works, research the twelve steps and get some information about the basic principles of the program. Any local AA center will have an abundance of information to share with you.
Your Own Drinking
Be sensitive to the fact that your man does not drink when it comes to imbibing an alcoholic beverage. Your approach to drinking may be dependent on his reasons for quitting. If your man is a recovering alcoholic, be sensitive to the fact that having alcohol around may trigger his disease and make recovery more difficult. If he has quit for some other reason, use your discretion and judgment about what is acceptable. Communicate openly with your man and ask him what he is comfortable with in terms of your consumption of alcohol. Find a balance between his needs and your desires.
Most important, show your man that you are there to provide him with support and love. A 2009 study published in "Addiction Research & Theory" proposes that the reason that Alcoholics Anonymous works so well is due to the fact that it is available worldwide, can be accessed at any time and there is never an official end to the program. When dating a recovering alcoholic, you must realize that the process of recovery never ends. Be prepared to give your man help and support whenever he needs it. Recognize that you must advocate for his recovery. This is not something that should be taken lightly; do not date him if you feel you cannot take on this role.