Dating while sober can present all kinds of challenges. For some people, social anxiety and fear of rejection are what led to addiction in the first place. Dating is often where these fears are most intense. Sooner or later your date will ask why you don’t drink. Will it be a deal-breaker when you say you’re in recovery? If it isn’t, will you be able to stay sober while dating someone who drinks? These are only some of the difficulties of dating while sober. Here are some suggestions for making it work.
Don’t rush. You go through a lot of changes when you enter treatment and recovery. Don’t be in a hurry to add the stress and anxiety of dating. Prioritize things that will help you in recovery–a healthy routine, regular meetings, steady work, and solid relationships with friends and family. When those things are more or less under control, which may take six months or a year, then you can think about dating.
Be careful who you date. Dating other people in recovery can seem like an ideal solution. Each of you knows what the other is going through and you both know you have to avoid triggers and find ways to have fun sober. There are even dating apps that match up recovering addicts. The problem is that relapse is always a possibility, and if one person relapses, it becomes that much more difficult for the other to stay in recovery.
Even worse is dating someone in active addiction. Some people are unconsciously drawn to this kind of relationship as a way of experiencing relapse vicariously, but it’s so obviously a bad idea that it should be avoided as a matter of policy.
Beware of old patterns. Relationships during active addiction are often characterized by drama and conflict. This seems exciting at the time but is usually destructive. In recovery, a solid relationship with a supportive person may seem lacking in excitement compared to earlier relationships. You may believe, based on your previous experience, and possibly even learned from watching your parents, that relationships are inherently tempestuous. This kind of expectation can make you feel dissatisfied in an otherwise healthy relationship. It may take a while for you to accept a new normal for healthy relationships, so as always, take it slow.
Be upfront about your sobriety. If you do online dating, say in your profile that you don’t drink. If your date asks why you’re sticking to water with dinner, it’s better to be honest and say you’re in recovery. If a relationship is going to work, the other person has to support your sobriety. Every relationship has its complications, and this is just one of those.
Dating is never easy and dating in recovery is no exception. Always prioritize your recovery and take new relationships slowly. If you or someone you love is currently struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can support you during treatment and recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at email@example.com to learn more.