Dating During Recovery From Alcoholism

by Debbie

My question is about dating during recovery from alcoholism. I have been attending AA as well as Celebrate Recovery for 5 months. From a drug and alcohol counselor I have been identified as a “high bottom” or functioning alcoholic. I got off the garbage truck before it arrived at the dump. I haven’t had any life problems related to my drinking…..yet. I work in a very high paying job and entertaining clients is part of it. But I realized I was drinking too much and it scared me. My question is this…is it true that I can’t date for a year?

If I wasn’t a “low bottom” alcoholic or someone that was in a really bad state, does that make a difference? I would like to put myself out there in the New Year but respect your advice and knowledge. Thank you for your help.


It is hard to put a specific time frame to your recovery. As you stated, there are many different levels and types of alcoholism. The time frame that fits one person may not fit another. One year is likely a safe time for the average person.

Also, people deal with things at different speeds. One person may push full steam ahead with their recovery attending a few meetings a week, fully educating themselves, seeking weekly counseling, and committing 100% to personal growth while another person may abstain from drinking for a year but do nothing else to work towards recovery.

The biggest determining factor is your level of readiness for emotional situations. One of the reasons it is not safe for a recovering alcoholic to date is because of the emotional intensity of a romantic relationship. If alcohol is still a temptation for someone wishing to avoid negative emotions, what will that person do when they inevitably have their first argument with their new partner?

How much have you worked through the feelings that you try to escape through alcoholism? How much have you grown? How will you handle tough situations in your new relationship? Have you gained new coping skills outside of substance abuse? Are you looking for a relationship to fill the void where alcohol used to be? These are the important questions to ask yourself when assessing your own personal time frame.

When you decide to start dating, it will be important to make your partner aware of your struggle with alcohol. He/she will need to be a support to you in your attempts to remain sober. Take things slowly and make sure you can handle the ups and downs of the relationship.

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