But how do you know if that’s the person you are considering dating, or if you are potentially entering into a heartbreaking situation fraught with drama and relapse?
The fact is that you can’t know the answer to that question in advance.
Choosing to get involved with someone who has an addiction history is a big decision.
You don’t want to waste either person’s time if you have reservations or if it’s clear that the person isn’t stable enough to give you the kind of relationship that you are looking for.
You should know that addiction is a chronic and lifelong illness.
Even if he has been sober for years, he is still in recovery and he still feels the temptation to use again.
When one person is in recovery, too much dependency on another person can be a trigger for relapse, especially if the relationship hits a snag or there is any threat to the relationship’s survival.
However, if you are independent and have boundaries that you can and will maintain – and your potential partner is equally strong – then this could be a functional as well as a happy relationship.
Addiction is not a willpower issue, and it is not a curable condition.
It is a disease that affects the brain, the body, and the emotions. Depending upon the drug of choice, the type of treatment your potential partner chose, the number of years spent in addiction, and the number of years spent in sobriety, your potential partner may be more or less likely to relapse – but relapse is an ever-present threat and just as deadly after a period of sobriety, if not more so.
The best advice is to keep your eyes open, be as honest with yourself and your potential partner as possible, and take your time.
Rushing in will only complicate things further, and you’ll both be a lot safer if you move at a slow pace and step back if either of you feel that it may not be the right choice.
If you believe that love can conquer all, you should know that love cannot conquer addiction.