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Getting back into the dating world might be intimidating. You can expect ups and downs like dating before recovery. However, you'll also likely discover that dating when sober can be much more gratifying and genuine.
Our incredible intake team is ready to answer all your questions and guide you through the process.
February 14, 2023
Dating can be enjoyable, stressful, thrilling, awkward, and difficult all at the same time. Sober dating adds a degree of uncertainty to the equation. Dating may be a minefield for people in recovery, especially in a society where "grabbing a drink" is a standard on the first date and drinking is the norm at restaurants, parties, and other typical dating activities.
You might want to avoid re-entering the dating environment if you're new to the recovery process. With good reason, "The Golden Rule" of sober dating is that starting approximately one year in is appropriate. It takes time to replace the void created by drug substances and alcohol when you stop using them. It is best to spend the first year of sobriety solidifying your recovery and establishing order in your life. Focus on filling that fresh space with healthy hobbies and coping skills.
You should also be careful not to allow one addiction to substitute another. During this sensitive period, it's easy to devote your energy and resources to a new relationship, which might distract you from crucial healing efforts. Learning what healthy connections and relationships look and feel like takes time.
You might not have had a good relationship in a long time—or at all. If you enter sober dating too quickly, you risk repeating bad relationship patterns and perhaps relapsing. If you've been clean for a while and have a solid recovery foundation, consult your sponsor or therapist before taking the leap.
Getting back to the dating scene is a fantastic time for folks who have been on their recovery journey for a while. For many people, this is the point at which they believe they are ready to establish a sober life in the long term. However, while embarking on any new path, it is critical to remain dedicated to recovery and be ready for the hurdles that will arise. Here are some dating tips for sober people:
While you don't have to disclose every detail of your life straight away, recovery should be disclosed in romantic relationships. Your healing is sacred to you. It's at the heart of everything you're doing right now. If the person you are dating struggles with sobriety, the relationship will fail. Prioritize Your Sobriety
There may be times when you believe your relationship is jeopardizing your recovery. If you believe that lifestyle differences, prior traumas or conflict are taking you down the wrong path, it's critical to get therapy. Get professional help and possibly evaluate whether the relationship or getting back to the dating is generally healthy for you. Bear in mind that you deserve your time and life with people who respect your commitment to recovery.
There is no reason to jump into anything if you are not prepared. When your health and sobriety or relationships are concerned, there is no "correct" timing. If you are not ready to date yet, or your new partner is moving too quickly for you, feel free to slow down and work at your own speed. According to Sexual Health in Drug and Alcohol Treatment: Group Facilitator's Manual, many women, and men in drug and substance abuse recovery are often reluctant to change anything about their sexual behavior. In most cases, rushing back to their former sexual behaviors may risk relapse or treatment failure.
Other elements of our life often fall by the wayside when we start dating again. This is often the case when you enter into a fresh and exciting relationship. However, as a person in recovery, it is critical that you maintain your support system. While your partner might be a great source of support, it's also crucial to maintain contact with your friends, sober organizations, and sponsors. According to Psych Central, continued support is vital to a recovering addict's journey.
Maintaining your boundaries with new romantic partners is vital in sober dating. People with addiction concerns are perceived more adversely than people with mental health conditions. A responsible drinker who feels alcoholism is a moral defect may not be a good fit for a sober person, regardless of how hard the person has worked in recovery. Everyone's boundaries are unique, but some frequent ones include the following:
Dating without booze or drugs will be different from what you're accustomed to, but it can still be enjoyable. Find new ways of keeping things interesting without any substance use, such as:Introducing each other to new interests and hobbies
Sober dating helps you to spend quality time with a clear mind and focus on the current moment. Connecting without alcohol or drugs results in powerful, honest connections
It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship, but don't allow the healthy habits necessary for your recovery slip by. Maintain your self-care routines or begin something new that will contribute to personal growth, such as:
It takes some getting used to sober dating. Transitions and changes can be particularly difficult in recovery. That's why it's critical to guard your sobriety and keep an eye out for these warning signs.
Ensure that you are aware of your triggers and stay away from them. This is especially true when you initially begin sober dating. It might mean avoiding certain personality types, avoiding bars, or avoiding specific circumstances. Triggers might be more difficult to manage when combined with the stresses of a new romance. Set and keep to boundaries from the start.
Before engaging in physical intimacy with your new love partner, take your time. Getting intimate very early in recovery can trigger a wide range of feelings. Be honest with your spouse and kind to yourself. If your new partner has issues with taking things slowly, it might be a clue that they are not appropriate for you.
You may have been drawn to and dated others in similar situations while you were taking drugs or alcohol. Just because you're clean today doesn't imply you'll exclusively be attracted to sober individuals in the future. Avoid dating someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Being around someone who lives a similar lifestyle to your past makes it tough to avoid falling back into previous habits.
Dating, like any new adventure after recovery, might leave you feeling unsure and concerned. But keep in mind that sobriety is not a constraint. Instead, it allows you to experience life in a new and beautiful way.