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Sober Dating While in Recovery

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We all have the innate need to feel loved—especially on an intimate level. Being in a relationship with a significant other brings deep feelings of love, comfort, and security and can be a part of the healing process of recovery.

However, dating and seeking romantic connections during early recovery can be risky. When it comes to sober dating and relationships in recovery, the saying “look before you leap” takes on added meaning.

In this article, we take a look at the realities of sober dating: what it’s like to have sober love and date sober individuals, the do’s and don’t’s of dating sober, how to safely date while sober, and the different sober dating apps that you may want to try if you’re looking for clean and sober love.

Do keep in mind that no definite rules govern how dating should go between a non-sober person and a sober person. Each and every relationship has its own unique dynamic.

What is Sober Dating

Simply speaking, sober dating is dating without alcohol or drugs. If you’re recovering from substance abuse and addiction or simply choosing to live a sober lifestyle, this can be a great way to build meaningful connections with people who share the same lifestyle.

More and more people are jumping on the sober curious bandwagon as Dry January and sober love and sex become more trendy.

And for a good reason too. Dry dating helps you avoid situations that can trigger a relapse. It also allows you to focus on building strong, healthy connections with others without falling back on “liquid courage” or other drugs.

While it can be challenging to go out without the presence of alcohol or other substances, many people find that it’s ultimately rewarding and fulfilling.

So if you’re looking for a way to meet like-minded people who share your values and interests, this might be an avenue worth exploring!

Benefits of Dating Sober

Staying clean and sober while getting to know someone new can be advantageous. Here are some benefits of sober dating:

  • Increased self-awareness. Sober dating can offer an opportunity to increase self-awareness and reflect on your own values, needs, and goals in a relationship. This can help you make more conscious and intentional choices in your dating life. Research also suggests that Temporary Sobriety Initiatives (TSIs) like Dry January and dry dating can help you better understand how drinking affects you.
  • Building stronger connections. When you’re dating someone who is also in recovery or supportive of your sobriety, you can build stronger connections and a deeper sense of understanding with one another. This can lead to more fulfilling and long-lasting connections.
  • Greater emotional intimacy. Sobriety requires emotional vulnerability and openness that can translate to greater emotional intimacy. When both partners are lucid and supportive of each other’s sobriety, you can create a space for deeper emotional connection.
  • Exploring new activities. Sober dating can also offer an opportunity to explore new activities and hobbies that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. This can open up a new world of experiences and shared interests, allowing you to create new memories together through sober-friendly events.
  • Increased confidence. Dating without imbibing can help you build confidence in navigating social situations without relying on substances. It can also give you a sense of pride in your sobriety and your ability to maintain rehab while pursuing a new romance or friendship.

Things to Keep in Mind When Dating a Sober Person

If you’re curious if it’s possible to go out with people who don’t drink, we’re here to tell you that it is doable and can even be quite exciting and rewarding. However, much like any relationship, it can also be quite challenging sometimes.

Whether you’re going out with recovering addicts who want to stay clean or someone who simply chooses a substance-free lifestyle, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Here are some things worth considering when going out with sober singles:

  • Be supportive. One of the most important things you can do is support to be supportive of their rehab journey. You may want to avoid situations that may trigger their substance use or cravings and be understanding if they need to cancel plans to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting or something similar.
  • Respect their boundaries. It’s also crucial that you respect your partner’s boundaries when it comes to their decision to stay sober. If they don’t drink alcohol or use drugs, don’t try to pressure them into doing either. You may also want to avoid imbibing around them. Doing so may trigger a relapse and jeopardize their progress.
  • Educate yourself. If you’re unfamiliar with addiction or substance abuse, it can be helpful to educate yourself on these topics. Try reading blogs or watching videos about the topic to better understand your partner’s perspective. Doing so may also help you become better equipped to provide support if they need it.
  • Communicate openly. Open communication is key to any healthy relationship, but it’s especially important when going out with sober people. You want to have honest conversations about your expectations, concerns, and feelings and be willing to listen to your partner’s perspective as well.
  • Focus on shared interests. While substance use may have played a role in your past, it doesn’t have to be a factor in your relationship with a new person. Instead, try to focus on shared interests and activities that don’t involve substances, and explore new hobbies together that support your partner’s goal of staying sober.

The Realities of Sober Dating

While Dry January only comes once a year, many people still stick to the sober grid for longer than that. Dry dating is also so much more in now than it was before. However, it’s still a new and strange concept to some people.

If you want to try dry dating, you may have questions about what to expect. Below are some of the realities you may encounter when you try sober dating:

  • You may have limited dating options. One thing to remember is that sober dating is not for everyone. While more and more people are becoming sober curious, your dating pool may still be limited in your local area, especially if you want to go out with other sober individuals. However, this can also be an opportunity to meet new people and explore new interests that you may not have otherwise considered.
  • There’s a very real possibility of triggers. While there are plenty of ways to dry date, it may be impossible to avoid going to places or experiencing situations that may trigger you or your partner. For example, going to bars or parties where people drink alcohol or engage in activities associated with substance use can be quite difficult for some people. Be mindful of potential triggers, and communicate with your partner to learn their boundaries and how to deal with potential scenarios.
  • No alcohol to ease nerves. Going on a date can be nerve-wracking, and without the option of having a drink to calm your nerves, it can be even more challenging. However, this can also be an opportunity to practice being present and comfortable in your own skin.
  • You may have different expectations. If you are used to dating where alcohol or drugs are involved, you may find that dry dating feels different. For example, you may find that people have different expectations about the pace and nature of the relationship. You may need to adapt to new environments and learn new conventions.
  • You may face difficulty finding sober activities. One potential challenge you may face is finding activities that do not involve substance use together. However, this can also be an opportunity to get creative and find new hobbies and interests you enjoy together.

Overall, dating while sober can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, but it also comes with its own challenges. It’s important to go into this with an open mind and a willingness to be honest and vulnerable with potential partners.

Sober Dating Apps: 8 Best Options for People in Recovery

Dating while in recovery can be challenging, as many online dating apps and websites are centered around drinking and partying. However, several free apps now cater to sober singles who want to find a romantic partner or make new friends without the pressure of alcohol or drugs.

Here’s a table comparing some of the top dating apps for people in recovery:

Overall, these sober dating apps can help people in recovery who want to date by putting them in touch with others who understand how hard it can be to stay sober while looking for love. However, there are some downsides that exist, such as limited features without a paid version, a limited pool of users, and apps that aren’t just for sober people.

If you’re looking to try online dating, make sure to choose a dating app with a welcoming environment that will help you the most and fits with your own goals and values.

Sober Dating Sites

Here’s a table comparing top dating sites for sober singles:

User Base
Search Filters
Available Platforms
39.7 million
Habits, age, location, gender, sexual orientation, interests, education, religion, ethnicity
Free with limited features, $35.99/month for premium
Website, iOS, Android
Single And Sober
Established user base of thousands
Gender, location, age, gender interest
100% free
12 Step Match
Not specified
Recovery program (AA, NA, GA), age, gender, location, photos
Free with limited features, $14.95/month for premium
Sober Singles Date
47,300+ members
Age, location, gender, sexual orientation, religion, education, interests, backgrounds
Free with limited features, $9.99/month for premium
Website, iOS, Android
AA Dating Service
Not specified
Not specified
Sober Dating Service
Popular among all singles
Age, location, interests
Free with limited features, $9.99/month for premium
Up-and-coming social network and dating site
Not specified
Website, iOS
Sober And Single
Not specified
Gender, location
Free with limited features, $9.99/month for premium

7 Best Sober Dating Ideas

Sober dating can be an exciting and fulfilling experience, but it can also be challenging to come up with date ideas that don’t involve alcohol or drugs. Here are some ideas for sober dates that can help you create new experiences and build connections with your partner:

  1. Outdoor activities. Try going for a hike, a bike ride, or a walk in the park. You can also try outdoor sports like kayaking or rock climbing.
  2. Cultural activities. Experience the arts by visiting a museum or art gallery or attending a play or concert. Cultural activities can be a great way to explore new interests and learn together.
  3. Cooking or baking. Take a cooking or baking class together, or plan a night where you cook a meal together. This can be a fun and creative way to be together while learning new skills.
  4. Game night. Host a game night with board, card, or video games. This can be a fun and low-key way to spend time together and get to know each other better.
  5. Volunteer work. Discover a local organization or charity aligning with your shared values and volunteer. Aside from being productive, this can be a rewarding way to give back to your community and bond over your shared values.
  6. Exercise classes. Sign up for a fitness class together, like yoga or dance. Physical classes can be a great way to stay active and try something new together. You can also keep it simple and go to a gym together.
  7. Movie night. Plan a movie night at home or attend a screening at a local theater. You can even make it a themed movie night and pick films that relate to what you both like.
There are plenty of activities you can try that do not involve a drink which can be equally as fun and exciting. Try searching for establishments around your area that offer these kinds of activities or services to explore your option. It’s better to ask your partner about the things they enjoy as well so you can decide together and try events that you can both enjoy.

7 Tips for Dating While Sober

For some, the idea of dating without the aid of liquid courage can be daunting. However, the right mindset and preparation can also be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

Here are some tips for navigating the world of sober dating:
  1. Be upfront and honest. It’s important to be open and honest about your sobriety with your date. This can help you build trust and ensure that your partner supports your recovery journey.
  2. Plan sober events and dates. Plan dates that don’t revolve around alcohol or drugs. This can include outdoor activities, cultural events, or even exercise classes.
  3. Surround yourself with supportive people. Surround yourself with people who support your sobriety and can provide encouragement and accountability when you need it.
  4. Don’t compromise your values. Don’t compromise your sobriety for a new romance or friendship. Prioritize your healing and health above all else.
  5. Communicate effectively. Effective communication is key in any relationship but especially important in sober dating. Make sure to listen actively and express your needs and boundaries clearly.
  6. Take it slow. Don’t rush into anything, and take the time to get to know your date before becoming emotionally or physically involved.
  7. Focus on the present. Focus on enjoying the present moment and building connections with your date rather than worrying about the future or the past.

Dating in Recovery

Dating in recovery can be a positive experience, but you want to ensure you’re ready before diving into the dating pool.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you’re ready for dating in recovery:
  • Focus on your recovery. Make sure you prioritize your recovery journey above all else – attending meetings and therapy sessions and practicing self-care regularly. You don’t want to be so wrapped around dating that you compromise your progress.
  • Take time for yourself. Spending time doing things you enjoy and focusing on your personal growth is just as important as fostering new connections with other people. This can help you develop a stronger sense of self and build confidence.
  • Evaluate your motivations. Make sure you’re not seeking a relationship to escape from your problems or fill a void. Jumping into new dates with the wrong motivations can bite you somewhere down the line. You should seek a healthy, supportive relationship that will not hinder your recovery journey.
  • Talk to your sponsor or therapist. Consult with your sponsor or therapist before entering the dating scene. They can guide and support you as you navigate this new territory and give you tips to ensure you’re safe.
  • Develop a support network. Make sure you have a strong support network in place before dating. Having friends, family, and other members of your recovery community to fall back on and who can provide encouragement and accountability will be invaluable as you navigate this new territory.
Remember, it’s important to prioritize your recovery journey above all else. By ensuring you’re ready for dating in recovery, you can approach relationships with confidence and clarity.

The Dangers of Intimate Relationships and Sober Dating While in Recovery

While intimate relationships can be fun and exciting, even sober dating can be challenging for people recovering from addiction.

Here are some of the dangers and risks you need to be aware of before you dive into anything:
  • You may not be ready yet. Everyone progresses and goes through addiction treatment differently. You are still learning about yourself. Adding the feelings that come with a new amour can create a huge emotional burden you may not be ready to handle. If you pursue love or sex while recovering and it falters, it can do serious damage. The heartache and pain resulting from a breakup may lead you back to active substance use.
  • You are at risk of triggers. You may find yourself in a stressful and triggering situation, which can increase the risk of relapse. Being in a romantic relationship may expose you to situations, people, or emotions that could trigger cravings or old behavior patterns.
  • You are vulnerable to codependent relationships. Recovering addicts and alcoholics can be vulnerable to codependent relationships, in which they rely heavily on their partner for support and validation. This can create a situation where their emotional well-being is tied to the other person, making it difficult to maintain healthy boundaries and independence.
Make sure to approach intimate relationships and sober dating with caution and awareness. It may be helpful to discuss any concerns with a trusted therapist or sponsor and to prioritize self-care and sobriety in all aspects of your life.

Healthy Ways to Approach Intimate Relationships in Recovery

Pursuing deeper connections in recovery can be a formidable challenge. However, there are several things you can do to help minimize the risk of rejection and relapse.

Below are three things that can help you approach dating healthily while in recovery:
  1. Give yourself time to get acquainted with yourself. A general rule of thumb is to give yourself at least one year before jumping into a deep relationship. This should give you time to navigate the tricky waters of early recovery and have the life skills to cope with your emotions.
  2. Be honest! We already mentioned this before, but honesty is key. If and when you are part of a relationship that may get serious, let your partner get to know the real you. Don’t give off false pretenses and pretend to be the person that you think your partner wants you to be in their eyes. Take your time and get to know the person you are dating. Deep and genuine connections take time to unfold.
  3. Be upfront about your recovery. When you meet someone, it is understandable if you are hesitant to reveal that you are a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. As with any relationship, honesty is number one. Being upfront about your recovery will reduce the chance of relapse and help you weed out those who are uncomfortable or unsupportive of your recovery.
Remember, your health and well-being are number one. You need to be in a good place mentally and spiritually and have the self-confidence to give of yourself healthily. You must also have the skills to respect your prospective partner’s feelings and connect with them while sober dating.

Find Support in NuView Treatment Center

NuView Treatment Center is a fully accredited and widely recognized treatment center in Los Angeles that deals with substance use disorders and mental health issues. We offer a range of evidence-based and holistic treatments to help you achieve holistic recovery and improve your overall well-being.

Our experienced and empathetic staff is dedicated to helping you every step of the way. We understand that recovery is a journey, and we provide customized interventions that are best suited to your unique needs. Our people-centric and compassionate approach ensures that you receive constant support and care for sustained recovery.

At NuView Treatment Center, we offer a range of programs and services to support your recovery journey.

We believe that recovery is possible for everyone, and we are committed to helping you achieve your goals. Contact us today to learn how we can support you in your recovery journey.

Frequently Asked Questions in Sober Dating

Several sober dating apps and sites are available, such as SoberSinglesDate, Love in Recovery, and Single and Sober.
Sober dating is a growing trend where people recovering from substance addiction or choose to live a sober lifestyle seek to date like-minded individuals who share the same journey and their values and interests.
Dating a sober person can be challenging, especially if you are used to drinking or using drugs on dates. However, it can also be rewarding and fulfilling to build a relationship and sober community based on shared values and interests.
A non-sober person can date a sober person. There's no rule saying that you can't, but it's important for both partners to respect each other's lifestyle choices, habits, and boundaries.
Experts recommend waiting at least a year after getting sober before entering a new romantic relationship. This gives you time to focus on recovery and establish a strong foundation of sobriety.
Dating while in recovery can be challenging and may pose risks to sobriety. Most addiction treatment centers and experts would suggest prioritizing your healing and seek the advice of a therapist or sponsor before entering into a new relationship. However, the decision is ultimately up to you.
A relationship can work if one person is clean and sober. However, both partners need to communicate openly, respect each other's choices, and prioritize the relationship.
Dating other sober people can be beneficial, but it's not necessary. You're free to go out with whomever you like. What's important is finding someone who respects your choices and supports your recovery.
On the first date, expect to do activities that don't involve drinking or using drugs, such as going for a walk, seeing a movie, or having a coffee. Communication is key, so be open and honest about your expectations and boundaries.

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Klein, J. (2022, February 25). Dry dating: The rise of sober love and sex. BBC Worklife. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from

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Written By: Linda Whiteside

Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who has been providing mental health services for over 10 years.

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Ryan Peterson

Went to medical school at The George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

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