ANONYMOUS THREADSTARTER said:Hi everyone. About 2 months ago I started seeing someone I met at school (we'll call him John). We hit it off right away and things have gone really well so far. He was up front with me within our first 2 or 3 dates about the fact that he's in recovery. Eventually when we talked about it further he told me that he had 3 years sobriety and then slipped. Now he's got 6 months, which I know is not a lot.
My background with AA is that my father has 21 years of sobriety and is very active in our local AA community. I grew up in meetings and AA social functions, and I've seen many people that my dad has sponsored over the years. I also attended Al Anon for several years as a teenager.
Having seen so many people come in and out of recovery through the years, the fact that John has only 6 months of sobriety really makes me feel conflicted. Under most circumstances I would try to avoid this type of connection with someone in recovery all together, I've never dated anyone in AA in the past.
He admitted that most advice he's heard has said not to get involved in a relationship for at least a year. He said he talked to his sponsor about what's going on between he and I, and his sponsor said that it didn't sound like the worst thing he could be doing. Also it should be noted that his first stint of sobriety was without AA, he wasn't ready to give the program a try and stopped drinking "on his own" (he admits now that God was always there, even when he didn't want to recognize it).
John is doing some things that I view as very positive to keep him on the right track with his recovery. He stays busy - work and full time school take up 6 days a week. He attends meetings and meets with his sponsor once a week in person - calls his sponsor often. John has made friends in recovery with years of sobriety and they get together once a week to play music and be social. I'm obviously really encouraging with all of these things. I am busy with my own goals myself and I make sure that "our time" doesn't interfere with the important things we both have going on (his first priority being staying sober and AA).
Basically one of the things that I found so exciting about John is that for once in my life it seems like I found someone with a similar spiritual belief system as me. I guess growing up I looked up to my dad a lot because of what I felt he'd overcome in life and the way he used God in his life, so naturally I talked to him openly about spirituality. He always encouraged me to have a relationship with God and to pray and strengthen that connection daily. When I met John we really clicked over spirituality. It's normally hard for me to share my thoughts or struggles with others but with him it's like things just clicked - I can talk openly about prayer and my relationship with God without feeling the disconnect I feel with so many others.
Like I said, my dad is normally my go-to guy when it comes to life advice and encouragement, so I finally felt like I should talk to him about it. When I explained John's situation he seemed really bothered and kept reiterating that I should be careful and not get too close, etc. I know my dad is just looking out for his little girl, but I want to be realistic.
I admit I don't know much about addiction, recovery, or sobriety. I've never struggled with moderation myself, but I understand the basics - that it's a disease and that alcoholics can never do the moderation thing. They have to give up alcohol and establish a connection with God in order to live life again. They have to work the 12 steps and interact with their sponsors and other addicts to live healthy lives.
My friendship with John is not built on his disease. We have much in common and I've come to know him as a smart, kind, and happy man with a loving heart and a good direction ahead. We've been taking things slow, I'm not one to rush into things in the first place. I've never lived with anyone I've dated and I don't plan to for a long time. Neither of us want to jump into a relationship, but we can't deny that we really like spending time together right now and it feels right and healthy.
I guess I'm asking for your input because I'm really starting to care about John and I want what's best for both of us. I think that what we have is great right now, and if anything my presence in his life reinforces the other things he's surrounded himself with (God, AA, healthier lifestyle, etc), My dad didn't come out and say "you need to stop seeing him" but it's kind of the impression that I got from our conversation tonight...