In this last relationship, I was more in love with having someone to use with than the actual girl.The day before I left for treatment in Florida, I told my girlfriend that I would be back in thirty days and we would work everything out when I returned. It took me a few days to clear my mind, and get a few sober days under my belt, but when I did I had a whole new outlook on life.

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While I knew this was only a guideline, I knew for me this would be crucial.

After the first year of sobriety, I began dating casually, being extra cautious with everyone I encountered.

The right person for you will be compassionate and understanding, and will take a positive interest in how you came to be the resilient, strong, and courageous person you are today.

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There are a number of reasons why I recommend divulging your recovery early in the relationship.

First, it’s a critical form of relapse prevention that your recovery needs, whether you’re one month sober or have been sober for years.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the month of February seems a fitting time to talk about the challenges of dating after sobriety—starting with this perennial question: when do you share in a new dating relationship that you’re in recovery?

It’s a question that many in recovery ask, and while there is no magic bullet answer that will work for everybody, the following pointers can help you navigate the how and when of sharing this important part of who you are: Remember that being in recovery is nothing to be ashamed about. In fact, if a relationship is going to have legs, it will require your honesty and authenticity, which in turn can give the other person greater permission (if they need it) to be vulnerable with you.

It felt great to finally surrender and be freed of the self-destructing bondage I was causing myself.

In treatment, I learned about addiction, the twelve steps, but most importantly how to love myself.

Divulging your recovery early on demonstrates your honesty, and can be a means of building trust in the relationship.