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Addiction and Substance Abuse

New sobriety and new relationships

09/26/2005

Question:

What is AA`s opinion and advice regarding someone newly sober (63 days sober, 3 weeks out of in-patient rehab, now living in a halfway house) entering into a new relationship? What if this is a relationship with someone who is also newly sober (maybe 40 days, and recently released from the same rehab unit, where they met), and is just beginning IOP treatment? They have only known each other for 4-5 weeks, met while in first few weeks of recovery, and now seem to be as inseperable as two can get, under their current circumstances. They both seem to have highly addictive personalities, and I`m concerned that, while attempting to battle their own addictions to alcohol and cocaine, they are transferring their addictions to each other, and their relationship. While maintaining sobriety is important to each of them, it appears that an awful lot of each one`s focus is on the other person. I`m concerned about anything that takes focus away from each one learning how to remain sober, and how to grow up and be responsible for themselves, to be responsible adults individually. One is 30 and the other is 25, and both have terrible histories of past behavior, prior to going into rehab. Am I concerned unneccesarily? Thank you.

Answer:

Hi Concerned,

Your concerns are justified. AA only makes suggestions about how to proceed in life to remain sober. The best guide is their sponsors. Generally AA warns about taking the focus off yourself in early recovery and placing it on a new relationship. That can lead to relapse. I have seen people try it, and generally it does not work out well. Often one or both relapse. Hopefully they are staying in close contact with their sponsors. If not, they are already in trouble.

As far as you are concerned, however, I would suggest you go to AL-Anon so that you can build your own healthy boundaries with your friends and not be controlling. They are not your responsibility. Being a concerned friend, you may express your concern, but then you need to let it go.

Best of luck,

Dr. Jones

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Response by:

Edna M Jones, MD, MRO Edna M Jones, MD, MRO
Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University