Let’s face it, dating is a mess. From creating attractive online dating profiles to attempting to decipher all the different signals someone is sending your way, dating is a dizzying experience.
But then, you meet someone you connect with almost instantly. Maybe you both swiped right on each other’s profiles or you met through a mutual friend. You like the same hobbies, have similar senses of humor and talk for hours at a time.
Perfect, right? Seems like it – at least, until they tell you that they’re in recovery from a heroin addiction. Addiction certainly isn’t something to take lightly, but that doesn’t mean you have to run for the hills. You just need to understand what it means to date someone in addiction recovery.
What Does Dating a Heroin Addict in Recovery Actually Mean?
When someone says they’re recovering from heroin addiction, it means that, at some point in their life, they struggled with heroin abuse. In some cases, it started with an opioid prescription from a doctor after an injury or surgery that quickly spiraled out of control.
For others, heroin may have been a fun experiment that took a wrong turn or a way for them to escape depression, anxiety or another mental health challenge.
If the individual you’re dating has announced they’re in recovery, it means they went through an addiction treatment program to detox and overcome their struggle with heroin use.
While they may no longer be addicted to heroin, it’s important to keep in mind that sobriety takes work, including:
- Going to regular AA or other sobriety meetings
- Attending weekly therapy sessions
- Avoiding bars or party scenes that could threaten their sobriety
- Maintaining a healthy regimen that includes pro-recovery nutrition and exercise
- Following relapse prevention techniques they learned during treatment
If you’re dating a former heroin addict, you need to consider factors like these and understand that relapse can be a possibility.
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Can You Have a Healthy Relationship with a Former Heroin Addict?
The simple answer to this question is, yes. People who have struggled with heroin addiction aren’t weak or broken. In fact, it takes a strong, motivated individual to be able to overcome heroin addiction and fight their way back to a healthy, sober life.
Here are just a few of the benefits you may experience if you’re dating someone in recovery from heroin addiction:
- Healthy Interactions. People in recovery spend a lot of time in addiction treatment learning how to create and maintain healthy relationships. They need people in their life who will support their sobriety, not send them down a toxic path towards relapse. Someone in addiction recovery has learned critical skills needed for a healthy, blossoming relationship.
- Self-Awareness and Improvement. Former heroin addicts also focus their time in treatment on improving themselves. They worked with therapists to understand their addiction triggers, fix their bad habits and get their life back in order. In recovery, these individuals constantly aim to live healthier lives and be the best they can be for themselves and their loved ones.
- Open Communication. Those in addiction recovery also learned the importance of open, honest communication while in treatment. If you’ve experienced lies and deceit in previous relationships, chances are that won’t be the case with someone recovering from heroin addiction.
- New Experiences. A major part of addiction recovery is participating in sober activities like rock climbing, hiking or other forms of exercise to feel good. If you’re dating someone in recovery, they may open your eyes to new, fun experiences that can help you live a healthier life, too.
Where to Go from Here
Learning that you’re dating someone recovering from heroin addiction can be challenging. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you’re able to handle a relationship with someone who has struggled with illicit drugs.
A great place to start is to ask them questions and communicate. Approach them with curiosity and see if they’ll open up to you about their struggle with addiction. From there, you’ll find out more about what they went through and if they have to manage a dual diagnosis disorder that includes depression, anxiety or PTSD.
Then, take some time to consider how much support you’re willing to offer. People in addiction recovery rely on a healthy support network (family, friends, sponsors) to help them maintain a sober lifestyle.
It may be that your girlfriend or boyfriend will need you to help them ward off triggers or cravings if they have a difficult day.
If you’re dating someone in heroin addiction recovery, the experience will be both rewarding and challenging. Just remember to communicate with them and be honest about what you want from your relationship.
What to Expect When Dating Someone in Heroin Recovery
There may be multiple challenges along the way while dating someone in recovery for heroin addiction. It bears repeating that relapse is a real possibility at any stage.
Those in recovery may experience the following obstacles:
- Substance cravings
- Isolating behaviors
- A vulnerability to other addictions such as sex or gambling
- Mental health challenges
- Health complications due to previous heroin use
- Lack of interest in new experiences, hobbies, or their partner
Helping Your Partner with Their Recovery
No doubt you care a great deal about your partner’s success when it comes to their recovery from heroin addiction. While dating someone in recovery, however, it is critical that you still prioritize your own physical and mental health.
You yourself can’t “fix” your partner during their recovery. All you can and should do is offer your support as they do the work of recovery they need to do.
Ways you can help your partner include:
- Setting healthy boundaries in the relationship
- Learning the signs of addiction
- Avoid enabling behaviors
- Accept that you are not responsible for their actions
- Go to couples counseling
- Get outside help if needed
- Learn your partner’s triggers and help them avoid them
Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
While it can be challenging to date someone in recovery, there’s no reason you can’t have a beneficial relationship if you do things the right way.
If your partner is struggling with a heroin addiction or has relapsed, there’s always hope for recovery and a way back to a sober, fulfilling life. At The Raleigh House, we have over 10 years of experience helping people like your loved one detox from heroin addiction, get to the bottom of their substance abuse in residential treatment and rebuild their life in outpatient treatment.
To get started, fill out our form or contact us now to get in touch with one of our friendly admissions team members.