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Dating Someone Newly Sober

Dating Someone Newly Sober Tips & Risks, Ideas & Where To Get Help

Guide To Sober Dating

Once a newly sober person successfully mastered the foundations of recovery and is sure they’re dating for the right reasons, learning how to navigate the dating scene while staying sober becomes their next biggest challenge. How would they relax on a date if they can’t drink alcohol (or use other drugs of choice)? How would they bring up that they’re in recovery – would they even tell you at all? These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself if you’re dating someone newly sober.

There’s no set timeframe, but dating early in recovery is universally advised against. The general consensus is that recovering addicts or newly sober people should wait about 6 months to a year after substance abuse and alcohol treatment to consider romantic relationships. [1]

Dating Someone Recently Sober?

Recovery is intended to be a time of intense self-reflection and introspection and being newly in love can be incredibly distracting. The first stages of a relationship are exhilarating and can have them prioritizing their new romantic interest over themselves.

At the same time, recovery is a lifelong journey that never really ends so a recovering addict or a newly sober person may not ever feel truly “ready”. One of the best ways to go about this is to involve their support system. Speak to their therapist or their sponsor, someone who is invested in their recovery and has witnessed their personal growth. They’ll be very helpful in determining if they’re at a stage of recovery where it’s okay to start dating again.

Dating Someone Newly Sober
Fortunately, dating without the use of drugs and alcohol is possible. Are you dating someone newly sober? Learn how to protect your heart and your loved one’s sobriety progress.

The Loneliness Of Sobriety

Are you dating someone newly sober? It’s inevitable that a recovering alcoholic you are dating now might feel lonely sometimes, and might have feelings of guilt and sadness from the past mistakes. You have to understand them and the best way for you to get support is by attending al-anon meetings.

Al-Anon, or Al-Anon Family Groups, is a support group program specifically for individuals whose life has been impacted by another person’s drinking. The idea of this organization is that by sharing experiences and applying the principles of Al-Anon “families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help”. Al-Anon members may:

  • Develop methods to cope with the challenges of a loved one’s drinking
  • Identify and alter behaviors that affect another person’s drinking
  • Learn more productive ways to communicate with someone who drinks
  • Learn from other people’s experiences
  • Hear how Al-Anon has helped others
  • Develop an understanding of how addiction is a family disease
  • Build an understanding of their own role in the disease
  • Improve the chances of success for the individual struggling with alcoholism

Risking Codependency

Are you planning to go into dating someone newly sober? Aside from negatively impacting the progress of a newly sober, there lies the risk of recovering addicts falling into harmful, codependent, or otherwise dysfunctional relationships that marked their past. Then there’s the risk of the relationship going south which is always an upsetting experience. If the recovering addict or a newly sober person hasn’t yet internalized healthier coping mechanisms, they’re likely to turn back to their old ways to cope (a.k.a.: relapse) and end up back at square one.

The underlying cause of codependency is rooted in low self-esteem which can appear as severely needy, clingy, and affirmation-seeking behavior. As with any other mental health disorder, the severity of this behavior can vary from person to person and not all symptoms may necessarily be present. Signs of codependency may include:

  • Constantly in a relationship and are immediately devoted no matter how recent the relationship is
  • Drawn to “bad boy” or “bad girl” types
  • Are compulsive people-pleasers
  • Feel a need to be liked by everyone
  • Abandon their hobbies whenever they get into a relationship
  • Over-exaggerated sense of responsibility for others
  • A sense of uselessness if there’s nothing wrong
  • Constantly seeking approval or praise
  • Doesn’t end relationships after betrayals of trust or after abusive behavior
  • Feels a sense of guilt when being assertive
  • Difficulty making decisions or making up their minds
  • Struggles to say “no”
  • Has a fear of abandonment, constantly seeking verbal reassurance
  • Lack of trust (in themselves and others)
  • Struggle with setting and/or enforcing boundaries
  • Difficulty communicating within the relationship

A codependent person derives their sense of identity and worth through their relationship with others – even if it’s harmful to themselves. This desperation to hold on to a relationship paves the way for emotional, physical, or financial abuse by the hand of the more dominant partner.

Dating Someone In Sober Living

According to SoberHouse, there are many reasons not to date while you are still living in a sober or halfway house. Some of these reasons [2] are:

  • People in recovery need time to recover before they make a commitment
  • They often choose unhealthy or codependent partners
  • If you date too soon you might replace one addiction for another
  • The pressure placed on someone when dating might be too much
  • People in recovery often have problems with codependency
  • Some people in recovery often expect someone else to fix them or try to fix others
  • Over or under sharing is usually present when someone is in recovery
  • It is difficult to explain that you are still in a sober house to a potential match

Are you dating someone newly sober or currently in a relationship with them? If a newly sober person is already in a relationship before they enter the sober house, that dating may continue. During recovery and sober living, they are just encouraged to be honest. Keep in mind the main 4 things you have to do while dating someone newly sober:

  1. Be Observant; Listen & Watch What The Person Is Expressing Both Verbally & Nonverbally
  2. Educate Yourself About Addiction
  3. Keep In Mind That This Is A Process
  4. Understand That Their Recovery Will Come First
Dating Someone Newly Sober
Dating someone newly sober can require extra patience and understanding.

Sober Date Ideas & Sober Dating App

If you are newly sober and seeking sober date ideas, this is for you. While there are no hard and fast rules for dating while in recovery, there are a few guidelines [3] that can help make the process easier (and without sacrificing your progress).

  • Have sober date ideas ready: Whether you feel comfortable telling your new romantic interest about your struggle with addiction, it’s always helpful to have an arsenal of non-triggering date ideas at the ready. Next time when someone asks to meet up for a drink (or anything that might be potentially compromising), say something like “The weather is beautiful, I actually wanted to show you my favorite park in the city”. This is still useful if you’re comfortable with being forthcoming and letting your date know that you are sober from the very beginning. You’ll be ready with suggestions for someone who might otherwise be stumped at ideas for first dates that don’t center around bars.  
  • Don’t date someone from a place you visit frequently: Places like your local grocery store or your job might seem like a perfect place to meet people. However, if dating goes badly, you might no longer feel comfortable going to these places. This risks a disruption to your routine (which we all know is an important part of the recovery process). If these places are key to your recovery like a 12-step meeting group, the damage is even greater. 
  • Keep your recovery support group close: It’s very distressing when a relationship doesn’t work out. Having people to talk to allows you to process your feelings which can prevent you from turning to booze or other drugs to cope. Plus, relationships can quickly become all-consuming and a close support group can keep you from getting too distracted from recovery.
  • Date someone who’s also sober: The easiest way to go about dating in recovery is to find someone who had similar experiences as you. They’ll understand what you’re going through which takes off a lot of the pressure of meeting someone new while in recovery. Perhaps best of all is that you won’t have to deal with the stigma of addiction. This will circumvent some of the awkwardness that comes with telling someone you’re in or recently entered recovery. One of the easiest ways to do this is through sober dating apps.

Having social support is very powerful in addiction recovery.  It can help recovering addicts and newly sober people stay motivated, be held accountable, or be relied on for practical assistance.

if you are dating someone newly sober and if your loved one attends open AA or NA meetings, you can offer to join them at the meeting. Joining them, especially when they are first starting to attend meetings, might help them feel more comfortable and shows an extra level of support. Who knows, you might find the meetings helpful for yourself as well.

Also, be open to joining a therapy session. If the therapist thinks it could help, then offering to go is a great gesture.

Dating Someone Newly Sober
Starting a relationship or dating someone newly sober means that the individual will likely regularly attend recovery group meetings.

If your loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, contact a treatment center to get advice on how to get clean. The best way to go about getting an addict admitted to a program is case by case and differs depending on a number of factors, but admissions specialists are professionals at walking you through this process.

Are you dating someone newly sober? or are you currently in a relationship with someone struggling with alcohol? If you think you or your loved one has a drug or alcohol addiction and you want to get them help, call We level Up today.

Sources:

[1,3] Is Dating In Recovery A Bad Idea? Tips for Making it Work by Level Up Lake Worth
[2] Can you Date while Living in a Sober House? – https://soberhouse.com/guide/can-you-date-while-living-in-a-sober-house/