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Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org
I'm not a licensed counselor. I'm a woman who's been there and done that. Based on my personal experience, I suggest that he have at least two years of sobriety, coupled with consistent responsibilities and accountability before you move forward in your relationship. There should be measurable milestones of emotional and spiritual maturity.
Recovery is not an event. It's a lifelong committment. Relapses are a reality. It's not enough to concede that it's going to be challenging. You should be fully aware of what makes it challenging.
Not all alcoholics drink and drive. Five times that you know of, your love interest disregarded the safety of others and got behind the wheel. A pattern that should not be minimized by a woman with three children.
It takes time to heal from addiction. The most loving thing you can do is allow him to focus on getting better and staying better. With less than a year sober, you could easily become his new addiction. And when the thrill of you wears off, there is always potential for relapse. Sponsors in Alcoholics Anonymous discourage romantic relationships for the first year of sobriety.
I realize this is probably not what you want to hear. He probably has some really wonderful attributes. None of us have so much baggage that we are undeserving of love. You're not wrong if you love him. But because your first responsibility is to maintain a stable and healthy environment for you and your children, the timing in loving him from anything but afar may be wrong.
Based on what you've told me, he's not been stable for any real length of time. Regarding his financial hardship: DWI's in the state of Texas are costly. Should your relationship become permanent, you will shoulder an enormous amount of debt derived from his previous addiction. These are things he should resolve before pursuing a relationship with a woman who has three children to provide for.
Pray for your friend. Celebrate his recovery. But hold off on anything romantic if you can. Time will reveal whether or not he will remain sober. So wait, and literally see if he's going to become all that God created him to be.
In my book, The Jonah Chronicles, I share what my husband and I went through as he recovered from drug addiction; the effects it had on our children--it's all in there. It's something to consider. And should you decide to move forward, move forward with your eyes wide open.
God bless you, your children, and your friend, as he braves his way into a new way of life.
Published on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 @ 2:44 PM CDT