Most young and single people probably want to find a partner they can live with in a loving relationship. And there is absolutely no reason why recovering addicts and alcoholics, once they have developed some emotional balance, should not love others, marry them and have children.
This will probably involve re-learning the places of getting acquainted, because recovering addicts and alcoholics are not usually at ease in drinking spots like pubs and clubs. Yet there are other places where boys meet girls. There are swimming pools, dances, beaches, holidays, evening classes, offices, launderettes, restaurants, concerts (pop and classical), libraries, church and synagogue groups. But the most obvious place to meet people is at work.
How to make contact with strangers is something most young people learn in their teenage years. Those who have turned to drugs may never have learned this. So be prepared to feel a little shyness as you begin to lead a normal social life.
‘The first time I made a date in sobriety, I worried about it for days beforehand – what I should wear, what I should do, whether I could kiss her,’ says Michael, a thirty-eight-year-old recovering alcoholic with three years’ sobriety. ‘I was full of panic. Imagine it! Worrying about a little kiss. I had screwed my way round the world in my drinking, but now I was full of anxiety about a date!’
Of course, you will also meet others at NA and AA meetings, and many NAs or AAs do marry each other successfully. However, it is risky taking up with an addict or an alcoholic who has been continuously clean and sober for less than two years. You might find yourself involved with a drug-using addict or a drinking alcoholic – and that will be no fun at all.
Some addiction counsellors take the view that even clean and sober addicts should think carefully about marrying each other and having their own children. As addiction seems to be passed on genetically, they may be giving their children a double dose of the addiction gene.
Sometimes the search for a partner becomes an obsession. ‘If only I can find the right person, then all my troubles will be over . . .’ thinks the addict. They are hunting for a partner to solve their problems, just as they used drugs to do so.
This kind of substitution is an extraordinarily bad start to any relationship and is likely to end in unhappiness. It is important to remember that depending on any person for your happiness is unhealthy – no matter how reliable, kind and competent that person is. Only when you can live happily alone, and your self-worth comes from within, are you fit to live happily with another.