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San Diego Sober Living - Recovery

A Guide to Sober Dating

An unwritten rule among newspaper and magazine editors involves publishing lifestyle articles related to sober dating during the period between the beginning of the holiday season until February or so. These trend pieces have been around since the middle of the 20th century, and nothing suggests they’ll be going away. In fact, they’ve inspired other trends, such as the Dry January challenge, which started as a British public health initiative in 2013. 

Liquor is intrinsically tied to dating because of its historical status as a standard social lubricant, but recent Dry January challenges have revealed a keen interest among single people going on dates during this period. According to a 2023 Women’s Health article, 47 percent of people who use the Inner Circle mobile app, which places a strong focus on high-quality dating, insist on keeping liquor out of first dates. When Dry January comes around, Inner Circle activity jumps by 32 percent, thus proving prospective daters enjoy the idea of keeping liquor and dating separate.

Dating & the Journey to Recovery

For many people who seek to recover from substance abuse or dependence, dating isn’t something that merits consideration. Recovery counselors are quick to remind patients that it’s better to avoid dating while they’re going through the stages of detox, treatment, and maintenance, which could include spending time in an Encinitas sober living home. A similar recommendation is made when people begin 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, where sponsors often tell newcomers dating isn’t a good idea during the first six months. Explaining this recommendation is simple: the dating scene is filled with situations that could trigger relapse, and there’s also the more delicate matter of dating under the influence, which can often result in disappointment when relationship dynamics become cloudy.

The Mistake of Dating as a “Quick Fix”

As people in recovery start easing into sobriety, many of them feel the weight of loneliness even if they’re in relationships or have supportive loved ones around them. Attempting to assuage feelings of loneliness with dating isn’t a good idea, particularly for those whose impulse control mechanisms failed to keep them away from substance abuse. Loneliness should be approached as a challenge patients in recovery must overcome to continue on their journey.

Sobriety & Relationship Expectations

Relapse and codependency are significant risks people in recovery face when they enter the dating arena. Avoiding these risks requires making a firm self-commitment to only pursue dating situations that can really turn into healthy relationships. This includes turning away potential partners who may threaten sobriety, particularly if they’re going through the initial stages of recovery themselves.

Getting Back into Dating

The first step is to sit down with a recovery counselor to talk about dating intentions, hopes, dreams, and mental health. The next step is to put learned concepts into practice by seeking out others who are open to sober dating. This is made easier nowadays by mobile apps such as Loosid, which are 100 percent focused on this dating niche. Established apps such as Bumble and OkCupid let users disclose their sobriety status through badges, icons, and descriptions. In fact, the filtering options of these dating social networks allow users to screen out profiles of people who don’t support sobriety in this fashion. 

Open and honest communications are crucial for people in recovery. If you’ve turned into a strict teetotaler and only wish to associate with others who share this life philosophy, you need to be up front about this. Setting boundaries before going on dates is always important, but it’s vital for people in recovery.

Dating is just one of the many types of social activity that could pose a risk of relapse. If you’re newly sober and you need help with avoiding relapse, call on the compassionate team at Casa Pacifica. Along with providing men’s sober living in Encinitas, we work with our individual residents to develop customized plans that integrate treatment, aftercare, and recovery support. Our services include sober companionship, coaching, and mentorship for those who are recovering from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. For more information about our sober living facilities, call us today at (760) 230-2996.

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