If you are single and in recovery, it can get pretty lonely. No matter how long you have been in recovery, it is perfectly natural to want closeness from someone else. Romance and dating are complicated, and addiction recovery can make experiences even more complicated. Not everyone – especially those who are new in recovery – are ready for sober dating. Whether you want a relationship or just want to date, when is the time right? And when you do decide to date, what should you keep in mind?
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to when the time is right for sober dating. Everybody in recovery is different. However, many groups (including AA) believe in a standardized one-year wait. So why should you wait one year to date or become involved in a relationship? Well, the main reason is to keep your recovery in check. You don’t want to jeopardize your recovery. The most important person in your life during recovery is YOU. And it’s a different way of life without drugs or alcohol. You are beginning to learn about yourself all over again.
That being said, you are human. And humans are attracted to other people. But the one thing you must be careful of is being attracted to someone else with an addiction of their own. This type of relationship is not a good idea for both parties who are struggling with recovery and/or addiction. Remember, you are vulnerable during your recovery. And you don’t want to sabotage what you have already accomplished.
When you are ready to date or get into a serious relationship, keep these sober dating tips in mind:
You need to date people who are supportive of your decision to be sober. It is up to you if you want to reveal that you are recovery to a new date. If you choose to let them know them that you are in recovery, they will either accept it or they won’t. If they don’t, move on. There are plenty of other fish in the sea who will support your decision and your efforts.
Sober dating means that you need to ask yourself questions. For example, what if your date has a drink in front of you? Will you feel uncomfortable? Will it lead to bad decisions on your part? These are things you need to prepare for when dating. If you want to date someone who is in recovery, then you need to make sure that they are in a good program, and that you have common interests.
Don’t Meet in a Bar or Nightclub
If you are meeting an online date for the first time , do not meet them at a bar or club. You do not want to be surrounded by temptation in the form of drugs or alcohol while you are on your date. It is a good idea to meet your date at a coffee shop, tea bar or other establishment. This way, the temptation will not be there. Or agree to meet for lunch or dinner at a place that does not serve alcohol.
Be Honest About Your Recovery
When you first meet someone, telling them all about your recovery may not be the best thing to do right off the bat. But after a few dates with someone, it may be time to reveal that you are in recovery. Make sure that you are completely honest with the person that you are dating about the fact that you are in recovery. This means that you need to express to them why meetings are so important, and why it is a priority to you to stay sober,. Communicate to them that it is better for the relationship if you stay sober. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself that you do not want to in the beginning. However, if you plan on being in a committed relationship with someone, they deserve to know about your recovery. Your dedication to staying sober is something that should not be stifled. It is part of who you are.
Dangers to Look Out For in When Dating Sober
When you are dating someone, make sure you are with the person for the right reasons. In other words, make sure that the relationship is not a replacement for the substance that you were addicted to. A new relationship offers a new kind of rush or high – one that is not synonymous with substance use. The same is true for sex. However, it is easy to get addicted to this high. And it is easy for this high to substitute your addiction. This is one major reason why it is recommended to wait until you are a year into your recovery before dating. You do not want to become preoccupied with a new love right away as it can risk your attention to your recovery.
Another reason it is recommended to wait a year for sober dating is the fact many relationships end in breakups. And some of them are not pretty. If you are too fragile, you will not be able to cope with a breakup. Ending a relationship is stressful and hard for anyone. It is even more difficult for a recovering addict. The last thing you need is a trigger like a breakup to make you want to use or drink again. You need to be in control of your emotions.
Be Patient and Have Hope
If you are in your first year of recovery, try not to focus on anyone else but you. You cannot offer your heart when it is still mending. And it is not a good idea to jeopardize the recovery work that you have already done. You need to be able to deal with emotions in a healthy manner, and know how to handle stress. This is before you jump into the dating pool. When the time is right and you are ready, you can begin a new relationship or even rekindle an existing one. But remember: always put your recovery first, and that you are deserving of love.