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I end up feeling—and looking—crazy and that’s not who I am.”Melody Anderson admits that one of the challenges in sobriety is walking that line between honesty and cruelty. Then commit to steering your ship together.”Despite his fiancé’s fears, Ryan feels that the principles he has taken away from his time in Alcoholics Anonymous are what help him to have a healthy relationship.

“In sobriety, we can talk to someone else before we vent our anger at our loved one and we can bring in a spiritual power that we can turn to for guidance,” she suggests. “I try to practice willingness, honesty and open mindedness,” he says.

But not all sober relationships are of the shotgun nature; for many who find love on the AA campus, sober relationships can mirror the rest of world—meaning they’re hard, scary, and (usually) worth the effort.

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When I want to suggest that my husband calls his sponsor, I have to remember that he has his own program.There is nothing wrong with making a suggestion but I have to practice letting go.”Jill wishes she could.I know some couples for whom relapse is a deal breaker. For a long-term relationship in the program, you’re probably going to see the best success when one or both partners have at least five years sober and when they both have a sponsor, a network of friends in recovery, and have worked the 12 steps.Ultimately, it’s all about narrowing the odds.” While she adds that “two people with 30 days sober might make it, chances are, they will need more time and to have gone through the program to find a healthy relationship.”Anderson agrees, explaining, “There is always the timing element. To bring you the best content on our sites and applications, Meredith partners with third party advertisers to serve digital ads, including personalized digital ads.

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Ryan, a 32-year-old post-production editor in Hollywood with long brown hair and piercings, is seven years sober but over the years has found that meetings “aren’t critical to my sobriety.” He still has a strong support group around him and tries to practice the principles that he learned in AA, even if he doesn’t agree with all of them.

He has been with his fiancé Jill for three years, and admits that “the hardest part is being with somebody who thinks they know what I should be doing and who analyzes what I am doing: she can have her program and it may not be my program and I can have mine—or lack thereof—and it might not be hers.”For Jill though, standing on the sidelines is tricky.

“To me, keeping my program and my partner’s program separate is the most important thing.”Relapse is, of course, an all too real concern.