Now that you have been clean and sober for a while, you are feeling strong and confident – and that’s great. You are successfully moving down your own personal path to recovery, and everything seems to be working out just the way you’d hoped and planned. However, lately you find that sometimes you feel lonely. You always have your friends and family, and maybe even a trusty pet, but you’re looking for more. You feel that are ready to connect with someone on a deeper level, and you are ready to get out there and start dating again.
A lot has changed for you since you last were on the search for love, though. Many of the old strategies you used to use to meet people won’t work for you anymore. You can no longer take a sip of liquid courage to help you approach that lovely lady. You can’t spend your Friday night at a singles bar in hopes of meeting a compatible man. Your first dates will never again be developed and expanded around the focus of dinner and many drinks.
Of course, you wouldn’t want to do any of those things now anyway. Your recovery is extremely important to you and you want to surround yourselves with the kind of people who will feel the same way. You want to be with someone who has been on a similar journey, so you can join paths and walk together. Although you may have friends who aren’t sober, you don’t really want to get involved romantically with someone who drinks and does drugs when you don’t anymore, even if you feel very resilient and permanent about your recovery.
But how do you meet people to date when you are clean and sober? How do you put your recovery out there without sounding too preachy or self-congratulatory? How do you find other sober people to date? Where can you take your date and what can you do to fill those awkward silences that happen on almost every first date?
Why You Should Date Someone Also in Recovery
Sometimes, a person in recovery is able to successfully date someone who occasionally drinks or even does drugs, and they are in no way effected by this. Most frequently, this is seen in relationships where the person who is not in recovery sometimes has a drink with dinner or something, but rarely if ever drinks to excess. The majority of people in successful recovery will tell you that people in recovery should not date people who are regular users or abusers of drugs or alcohol. These relationships often fail, either due to the gap in values, or due to relapse by the sober half of the partnership.
You will likely have much more success romantically when dating someone else who is also in recovery. Together, you can help each other to remain clean and sober, since you are focused on the same goals. You can identify with each other’s struggles and the fact that you both overcame many obstacles. He or she will likely have a more sympathetic understanding of your difficult past. Furthermore, you will likely find a much deeper and more authentic connection more rapidly than you sought in the past while abusing other substances. You can truly be confident with someone in recovery, knowing that your feelings are true and not just the result of you both enjoying being intoxicated together.
General Recovery Dating Tips
Even dating someone else in recovery can present a slippery slope, though, if you are not quite ready. The early stages of any relationship can be full of intense ups and downs, and that can be very triggering for many. Most recovery experts suggest that people new to recovery should not date for at least their first year clean and sober, and for many people, they should avoid it even longer. Two people who are both new to recovery may encounter other problems as well; the two individuals may become co-dependent on one another, or may become addicted to the relationship. It’s vital that when seeking a new relationship in recovery that you take it very slow, that you do not let your expectations get too high, and that you do not let potential disappointment lead you down the path to relapse.
Where to Find Potential Partners
Once you have considered all the advice above, and you really truly do feel that you are ready to put yourself out there, the biggest obstacle you must first overcome is how to meet other sober, likeminded people. This can seem challenging, but it really is much easier than you think due to two factors. First, the recovery community is strong and very inter-connected; as a result, you can use existing networks to help you meet new people. Secondly, technology, and social media in particular, make it easy for even the most isolated clean and sober people to reach out to others like them. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Meet people in recovery through other people in recovery. Although its wise not to form relationships with people you met in rehab, nor with people with whom you attend intensive therapy, you likely have made some friends in support groups and other sober activities. Reach out to them and tell them you’re looking to meet new people to date. They will likely know other people in the exact same boat.
- Tell people that you are sober and looking.You may not normally advertise your recovery to people who are not in recovery, but by telling even non-sober co-workers and acquaintances that you are sober, single, and ready to mingle you may find yourself being introduced to new folks. Most people have at least one or two friends in recovery, and they will be happy to connect them with each other.
- Try online dating. There are a wide variety of dating sites out there targeted directly at people like you, including Sober & Single, Single & Sober, Twelve Step Match, Sober Singles Date, AA Dating Service, Sober Dating Service, and ly. Some are better than others, but try several, and at least you will get some dates, even if you don’t end up finding the love of your life.
- Social media & hashtags can help. One way to let people know you are in recovery without telling people directly is through the use of hashtagson your social media posts. Hashtags like #sober, #soberlife, #drugfree, #happinessissoberiety, especially on platforms like Instagram, can help connect you to others who are also in recovery who may also be looking for a new partner.
- Check out Meetup.com. comis a website that allows people to create groups around any topic to meet in a specific area or region. Look in your area for sober meet-ups, or, if there aren’t any listed, start your own!
- Go to sober retreats and workshops. There are a wide variety of retreats and workshops offered for people in recovery, and they are a great way to connect with likeminded people and meet new friends who may become potential partners.
- Be patient. Put yourself out there, but know that finding the right person for you takes time. Stay positive and stay the course, and soeday your prince (or princess) will come!
Finding romance when you are in recovery may seem challenging, but it really isn’t. Hang in there, stay true to yourself and your process, and keep reaching out to new people. Clean and sober dating is certainly different from what you have experienced in the past, but you will soon find not only that it is better, but you will also soon find love. Good luck!
Clear Sky Recovery would love to help you to take the first steps on your recovery journey! Our facility is located in Cancun, Mexico, and is staffed by experienced medical staff and therapists who will be there to assist and encourage you every step of the way. Our ibogaine detox treatment will lead you to a place where you can find the root of your addiction and work through it. We are standing by for your call, and we look forward to answering your questions. Please call us today.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.