Dating can be fun, but it can also be daunting, especially when you’re working on your sobriety. If you are wondering whether or not you’re ready to start dating, keep in mind that most recovery programs recommend at least a year of sobriety before entering the dating arena again.
Although romance and relationships are wonderful, they can be triggers for relapse when they become stressful. For those recovering from alcoholism, the unfortunate reality is that many dating rituals include drinking. Parties, meeting for drinks, going to bars and nightclubs are all fueled by the assumption that alcohol consumption is normal.
According to Brian Duffy, LMHC, LADC-I, the bottom line is that for “[recovering alcoholics], we must learn to have fun, meet others, have sex, [and] fall in love, without the booze. It can be done, and the results will be better and more memorable.”
Here are some ideas for dating sober and meeting people who are like-minded:
Meet people online who are part of a sober community
Meet for coffee dates and rediscover the art of conversation
Take adult education classes
Plan out your time with other individuals who have similar interests such as running, art, theatre, sports or yoga
Have people over and entertain, especially if you are more of a homebody but want to remain social
Become active in your community
Attend planned activities such as bowling, camping, going to the movies, hiking and BBQs
When you are interested in someone romantically, take things slowly. If this person is supportive and mature, they will applaud your sobriety and accept that recovery takes time and patience. Remember that your decision to get sober and stay sober reveals that you are someone who has the ability to manage your impulses and emotions and who is proactive about what is in your best interest.
Also, let the person you are dating know that there are ways in which they can help you maintain your sobriety. For instance, they should be able to reach your sponsor since your support network is vital for sustained sobriety, and they should always encourage you to attend your AA or NA meetings. These are only a few examples of what the person you’re dating can do to help you avoid relapse and ensure your continued success on the road to recovery.
As part of Alcohol Awareness Month in April, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is promoting the message that recovery is a family affair. Read more
A significant component of recovering from addiction is recovering physical health. Substance abuse disrupts the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and properly digest food. In addition, many addicts eat at irregular intervals and don’t consume healthy foods. Recovering individuals learn that self-care is a crucial part of recovery. Read more
The terms “addiction” and “recovery” are used so often that it may be important to rediscover the true meanings of these very important terms. Being physically dependent on a substance does not make someone an addict. And learning to simply squash one’s urges and deprive oneself of a certain substance, with great suffering, is not the same as recovery. Both addiction and recovery are more complex than they may seem at first glance. Read more
For many individuals who find themselves addicted to alcohol or drugs, co-dependent relationships function as a root cause and an ongoing enabler of their addictive behaviors. Read more
Individuals who are recovering from addiction often experience significant sleep disturbances. Some of these problems persist only for the first few months in recovery, some for years after abstinence begins. Read more
In the sixth step of recovery, individuals recovering from addiction first begin to visualize positive change. They begin learning to see beyond present circumstances to what is possible with recovery. They become acquainted for the first time with the hope and true possibility of their best self, which waits for them on the other side of recovery.
The seventh step of recovery begins the process of moving from what is to what is possible. In a traditional 12-step recovery program, the individual in recovery asks God to remove each character defect and flaw, saying “We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.” Read more
Many substance abuse treatment programs rely heavily on a single criterion for admission – the applicant’s willingness to change. Experienced addiction treatment counselors know that while a healthy support network is a crucial component of recovery, well-intentioned family members and friends cannot force an individual to recover from addiction. Invariably, the substance abuser himself must become ready and willing to change his life. Without this willingness, the efforts of any other person are futile.
This is the wisdom contained in the sixth step to recovery. Following the “fearless and searching moral inventory” of step four and the admission of all wrongs to another person in step five, step six asks individuals in recovery to bring forth a true willingness to change. Individuals who are involved in a traditional 12-step program say: “We were entirely ready to have God (as we understand him) remove these defects of character.” Read more
Approximately five million people, ages 12 and older, in the United States currently utilize self-help programs to address substance abuse problems. Read more
Communities of recovery are large networks of people, organizations, activities, and movements in which support groups and other self-help programs are embedded.