Let’s be real, dating in any context can be challenging. Yet, when it comes to dating when you’re living a sober lifestyle, that’s a completely different game in itself.
You may have experienced the familiar sinking feeling when you’ve connected with someone, but they don’t understand why you choose not to drink. After meeting a few different people and having to explain yourself over and over again, it can honestly get quite tiring.
That very annoyance rooted in exhaustion is exactly why we’ve created a complete dating guide for sober singles. Whether it is meeting someone in your AA home group, or connecting with another single in AA, you are not alone in your struggle, and love could be just one sober date away.
To Go Against the Norm With Sober Dating
Drinking is everywhere in our culture. It is why finding a sober date can feel like an uphill battle of trying to explain why you exist and why you make the choices you do. This can often lead to defensive statements that can turn a regular date quite sour.
At times you may have felt pressured in a date to fit in and adapt to what everyone else in the room is doing, even though you know it would compromise your recovery. Those very situations often lead to a continual cycle of guilt and shame that come with actively trying to be in recovery, but also wanting the chance to freely date.
In dating, and in life, you always have a choice. While it may take a little courage, going against the societal norm of drinking is brave. Whether you date someone from your local AA meeting or someone outside of recovery, that person should always offer respect towards your sober lifestyle.
If they don’t? Then that person definitely is not right for you. A partner should always respect who you are as a person and your choices.
Look For Empathy
While in recovery, what do you look for in support? Encouragement? Compassion? People who tell it like it is?
One of the greatest things someone can give in sober dating is the gift of empathy. Empathy is what withstands if you relapse or make a mistake in a relationship. It has the unique ability to guide compassion during your own recovery, and theirs.
When you find someone who understands what you are going through, you have a higher chance of addiction recovery by having a supportive partner that doesn’t look at the action itself, but the person hiding behind it.
When you’re out there on the search for a potential partner, keep in mind how they support you, and how you are able to support them. It won’t always be perfect by any means, but by always looking out for one another, you can form a stronger bond that withstands any relapse or obstacle.
Be Aware of Risks and Train Wrecks
In AA, it sometimes feels like a higher-stakes game for dating. Particularly when you know that if the date or relationship does not work out, you probably will see the person at the next local meeting. This can feel awkward, and sometimes push you, or the other person, to leave the safety net of the group.
According to American Addiction Centers, many organizations discourage dating while a person is in recovery. This is mostly due to how substance use disorder (SUD) and alcohol use disorder (AUD) warp the perspective someone has about themselves. As a person works towards recovery, the beliefs they held previously about themselves can often change and alter a relationship for better, or for worse.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t date while in AA, but it does imply that creating healthy boundaries while dating can help avoid the risk of codependency or repeated abusive behaviors.
Many people who have struggled with sobriety have created habits that result in what is deemed as “train wreck” relationships. That baggage continually is carried into the next relationship if a person has not given themselves time to recover and recognize their own triggers. Triggers within a relationship can feel heightened with confusing emotions, which is why it helps to know your own triggers and to talk through with your partner about theirs.
While risks exist in any type of relationship, knowing how you have previously reacted in relationships prior to being sober can help you navigate away from unhealthy habits and negative behavior loops.
Take It At A Slow Pace
When you meet someone you connect to, it can feel like a fast rush into a relationship. Yet, there are many benefits to taking it slow. If you have been in previous relationships before you were sober, you may have baggage that follows you into the next relationship. Even if you have been living a sober lifestyle for a while, the baggage you held before being sober still is carried with you when it is not worked through.
Whether you have been sober for a couple of months, or a few years, you may react differently in a relationship if you have taken a break from dating while in recovery. Choosing to take it slow helps you navigate your own reactions, as well as how you respond to your partner in arguments, and in everyday events.
Dr. Belisa Vranich, a sex and relationship clinical psychologist, suggests that while dating in recovery can be great, sobriety still needs to be at the top of the priority list. No matter what. If a relationship compromises sobriety, then it needs to end. By moving at a slower pace, you can recognize and assess old familiar red flags that triggered a previous relapse.
Discover the Fun of Dating
While there are always red flags to look out for, dating can also be a fun experience! From meeting new people that are different from you to trying out a new activity, dating gives the opportunity for you to explore new things about yourself and your date.
Explore what things you share about yourself during a date and how you want to approach a potential relationship. Does the person like the same things you do? Are they in recovery too? Are they open-minded about your experiences? Do they laugh at your jokes? Are they interesting to talk to?
Whatever you look for in a match, enjoy the experience of getting to know someone. Ultimately, it is about having fun during the age-old ritual of dating. If a date does not work out, there are always new people to meet!
Find Fellow Sober Singles
One of the best ways to find a date is to connect through a sober dating app. There are the more conventional apps of Tinder, OkCupid, and Bumble, but none of them offer the ability to specifically find other sober singles.
Apps like Love In Recovery, Single and Sober, and Step Match, all help individuals looking for a sober date find someone they may be interested in.
When it comes to dating in AA, you don’t want to have to continually explain why you don’t drink, or worse, having to explain it during your date. Choosing the best sobriety app like Loosid, helps you navigate the dating scene without compromising your recovery.
Look for someone who sparks your interest and connect! By choosing someone through AA dating, you can rest easy about alcohol temptation. If you’re wondering about other ways for sober dating, read about 9 ways to find a date when you are sober.
Suggest Creative Sober Date Ideas
When you’ve connected with an ideal date, then comes the part of setting up a date. If you’re new in recovery, this can feel challenging if you typically went out for drinks before. There are plenty of ways to go on a date that does not involve alcohol.
In our app, we offer boozeless guides that give you and your date the alcohol-free experience you were looking for. Whether you want to go to a music event at a coffee shop, or eat dinner at a restaurant without booze involved, we have you covered.
A sober date has endless possibilities, but most of all, it gives you the space to breathe easy and connect with a like-minded individual who understands and supports your decision for a sober lifestyle.
Download the Best Sobriety App For Dating
At Loosid, we want every single person looking for love to experience the best sobriety app that offers a connection to other like-minded sober singles for a fun experience. We want to eliminate the stress of trying to find a match that knows and understands your experience in recovery.
Every individual is different, but dating should be about the beauty of getting to know a person. By recognizing where you are at in your recovery, you can determine whether dating is the right choice for you right now, or if you want to focus on you for a while.
Either way, choosing to sober date can aid in the recovery process, and may even give you the boost you need to keep on track. Keep in mind the potential risks involved and negative spirals you can fall into.