9 Tips for Dating A Recovering Alcoholic During the Holiday Season

What Alcoholism Recovery is Like Every Day

Achieving sobriety is always an uphill battle for those fighting alcoholism. Recovery requires dedication, focus, and determination (from both the person with the disorder and their support system), especially during the first year.

Every day comes with its own temptations — being in places where people are drinking, peer pressure, stressful situations and triggers, etc. To stay on the road to recovery, people trying to beat addiction should go to meetings regularly and only go to events/see people that they are comfortable with. After all, they live a completely different lifestyle now than they used to; so their patterns and behaviors should typically reflect that.

Dating Someone With Addiction History

Whether you’ve been dating someone since they’ve started sobriety or you recently started seeing a person who has been recovering for some time, it’s important to understand their baggage, their boundaries, and their triggers.

If you’re dating someone who had an addiction to alcohol, make sure you ask them the following questions before getting too serious or going to events together:

  • Where do you draw your line?
  • Where are you okay with going?
  • Are you comfortable if I have a drink with dinner?
  • Who should you not be interacting with during recovery?
  • How long has it been since you last had a drink?
  • Is there anything I can do to help make this process easier for you?
  • Is there anything from your past that may affect your present that I should know about? (finances, family issues, etc.)

 Ultimately, the most important thing you can do if you’re dating a recovering alcoholic is support them without judgement. Realize that their sobriety has to be their priority; meetings always come before dates. Move through this journey with them slowly so they can continue to put themselves first.

In fact, it might be helpful to go to therapies or meetings yourself to get a new perspective from people who know what you’re going through or have experience in the area of alcoholism in relationships.

Dealing With an Addiction Disorder Over the Holidays

The holidays can be a difficult time for people who are newly sober; so if you’re dating one of these individuals, you should understand what they go through during these last few months of the year. Here are just some holiday-related situations that can arise that may be troubling for those trying to achieve sobriety:

  • Overwhelming parties and get-togethers
  • Tension in families can increase desire to use
  • Dealing with a lot of questions, criticism, and unsolicited advice
  • Feeling socially awkward without a drink in their hand
  • A possibly sticky past with drinking during the holidays, when many addictions start
  • Loneliness without certain family or friends

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and other holidays around this time of year can sometimes be more stressful than joyful for recovering alcoholics. That’s why if you’re dating someone who is trying to quit drinking for good, it’s essential to help them through the holidays.

Spirited & Sober: Celebrating the Holidays With Your Significant Other

Being by their side during the holiday season is one of the most vital things a person can do for a significant other who is newly sober. Here are some ideas and tips to follow if you’re navigating the holidays with a partner who has stopped drinking:

  1. Try to stay sober if you go to parties with them
  2. Keep them in a comfortable environment where they’re not surrounded by much alcohol
  3. Get to parties together when they start & leave early
  4. Start sober holiday traditions together
  5. Visit each other’s families in the morning, before everyone starts drinking
  6. Encourage sober celebrations with friends and family
  7. Make virgin holiday cocktails for your to drink together
  8. Try to keep them distanced from people who trigger their tendencies
  9. Don’t be upset if they can’t/choose not to do something because of recovery or therapy

While it can sometimes be difficult to remember to do these things for your partner, it will definitely be worth it to see them happy, healthy, and sober as the new year begins.

Holding Their Hand Through Recovery

As long as you’re both being as open and honest as possible, the holidays should be smooth sailing. Make sure to continually discuss their boundaries and triggers, while encouraging them to go to groups and meetings throughout the season.

Continuing Sobriety Beyond the Holidays

Of course, the fight for recovery may continue well past the holidays. To respect your significant other and help them be the best version of themselves throughout the year, you can: 

  • Respect their comfort level at all times
  • Minimize drinking around them
  • Encourage therapy and group meetings
  • Administer medication if needed
  • Find a sober group of friends or other couples to hang out with
  • Be their support system

Hopefully these tips help you and your recovering significant other get through the holidays feeling joyful & full of warmth. 

Sources

https://www.recovery.org/the-dos-and-donts-of-dating-a-recovering-addict/

https://patch.com/california/los-angeles/6-tips-dating-someone-who-sober

https://www.vox.com/first-person/2016/12/23/14028366/alcohol-christmas-holidays

https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/holidays-often-a-difficult-time-for-addicts-and-their-families-1.2141148