Sober dating is important if you’re a recovering addict. Here’s what you need to know about finding love without jeopardizing your sobriety.
Dating can be a scary thing. Especially for people who are recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction. The last thing you want to do is relapse because of a relationship.
Thankfully, sober dating is possible if you approach it the right way. In this article, we’re sharing lifehacks for sober dating, so you can find love in recovery.
Sober Dating: What You Need to Know About Finding Love During Recovery
Did you know that relationships are one of the biggest causes of relapse in early recovery? That’s why it’s best not to rush into dating before you’re ready.
Most 12-step programs recommend you wait at least one year after getting clean to begin dating again. By that point, you’ll have overcome most of the issues that plagued you during addiction like emotional triggers and drug cravings. You’ll also be less likely to use your new relationship as a stand-in for your addiction.
If you are interested in dating, we recommend you stick with the 12-step recommendations. You should also keep the following tips and best practices in mind as you date.
Decide the Kind of People You Want to Date
As you begin to date, the first thing you need to decide is the kind of people you want to date. Are you only interested in dating other people in recovery, or would you prefer to date someone with no history of addiction? Keep in mind there are benefits and drawbacks with dating either kind of person.
People in recovery can understand and empathize with your trouble. But it’s possible that you could encourage one another to relapse.
Dating people with no history of addiction isn’t easy either because there’s a higher chance you’ll end up in scenarios with alcohol or drugs. If you do want to date someone who isn’t in recovery, you should be upfront and honest about your past. Tell them the things you need to remain on the path toward recovery.
Honesty is the best policy when it comes to dating. Some people may not be comfortable dating a recovering addict, but many would be more than happy to date you and help you stay healthy.
Think About What You’re Looking for in a Partner
Sober dating is about more than the type of person you date, it’s about the kind of relationship you want to have. If you end up with the wrong partner, you run the risk of developing an unhealthy relationship that could push you toward using again.
That’s why you should try to seek out romantic partners that bring out the best in you. Don’t date the type of people you dated during your addiction. Instead, try to find someone who is kind, independent, and possesses the qualities you’re trying to embrace yourself.
Put Your Recovery First
Dating can be fun and exciting, but recovery should always be your top priority. You can’t let new relationships disrupt your routines and recovery responsibilities. So if you begin to miss meetings or sponsor calls, make sure you take a step back from your relationship and assess you’re taking care of yourself properly.
If you choose to date someone who is also in recovery, keep your recovery programs separate. While you may both be in recovery, your recovery journeys should always be separate.
Ease into Dating
Dating can be an overwhelming thing, especially if you rush into it too quickly. This is especially true for recovering addicts as they often use a love addiction as a substitute for their drug addiction. The last thing you want to do is turn a romantic partner into a stand-in for your addiction.
That’s why it’s important to ease into dating and temper your expectations. Don’t rush into new relationships. Instead, take things slow and make sure you’re ready to date and not just trying to fill a void.
By easing into dating, you can make sure you’ve addressed the underlying mental health issues and addictive tendencies you have. Taking care of these things in advance will make you less likely to seek out unhealthy relationships.
You’ll also be more emotionally ready for dating and be better equipped to deal with any of the negative feelings and experiences that come with dating.
Avoid Common Pitfalls
There are many pitfalls of dating that can occur in early recovery. If you fall victim to them, you put yourself at risk for relapse.
A major pitfall is pressuring someone into a relationship too soon. People in recovery often do this because they feel like they need someone else to support them. This can cause you to become clingy and desperate, which will lead to a toxic, unbalanced relationship.
Also, be wary of dating people who show abusive or controlling personality traits. Recovering addicts are more likely to do this subconsciously because they want someone else to take control of their life. These toxic people will only introduce stressors in your life that will make relapse more likely.
Explore Alternative Dating Spaces
It often feels like bars and clubs are the only places you can meet people. But that’s not true! There are many sober spaces you can meet potential romantic partners.
Part of recovery is learning how to have fun and meet new people while staying sober. That’s why it’s important to try and meet people at places that you can avoid the temptation of alcohol and drugs.
Go to AA meetings and volunteer days. Join sober sports teams or pick up a new hobby. You’ll meet someone great in no time!
Apply Your Recovery Principles to Your Relationship
As a recovering addict, you should take what you learn in recovery and apply it your new relationships. By applying the 12-steps to your new relationship, you can build a solid foundation that will hold up when things get bad. Sober living principles like open-mindedness, faith, honesty, integrity, and humility, are solid building blocks for any relationship.
Finding Love and Living Sober
The road to recovery is hard, but you don’t have to walk it alone. Sober dating is possible, and by following these tips you can find a special someone who brings out the best in you.
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