We asked a few local clean and sober folks, with various lengths of recovery time, how they navigate through dating in sobriety.
“I find it way easier to date in sobriety. Before I was sober, I didn’t know how to love myself. Recovery is all about self-discovery, so until you discover yourself, you’re not really available for anything else. I’m always upfront about my recovery. That comes first. If the person is not in recovery, they need to be fully supportive of that, otherwise I need to look elsewhere. I did just meet somebody and we’re getting to know each other. So far, it’s really nice. He’s not in the program, but he is open-minded. I don’t have a preference between sober guys or non sober guys. The only thing that’s important is that they need to be supportive of my journey. As long as the person is successful in their own life within themselves, not just the outsides—that’s what I find most attractive.”
—Jacob Hall, sober since November 17, 2015.
“I currently have a boyfriend. We’re both in early sobriety and went into treatment around the same time. It’s not my first time getting sober, but this is his first time. What that means is I’m potentially getting to know a person I never met. There are lots of ways I want to approach this with as much respect as possible, given our circumstances. There is a perspective of being reborn. I want to use all the tools I’m learning in recovery to gingerly approach the situation. I’m considering all of the pitfalls, and challenges that new sobriety brings and having that frame what the relationship could potentially be. I feel like I have an opportunity to meet a new person today. This new person could be recognizing things that he likes and dislikes from a whole new mindset and I’m intrigued by the whole idea of getting to know him all over again and falling in love again.”
—Chris Bates, sober since August 6, 2018.
“I’m currently dating a normie [a person who drinks non-alcoholically]. I keep an open mind. I just found somebody that shares similar interest. For me it’s really important to be transparent and honest about how I feel. I have to constantly remind myself that my partner is not a mind reader and when I do open up, it always helps in setting boundaries for myself. What’s been really helpful is having a really close support group. I have a good sponsor and friends in the program that I can talk to. Sometimes the thoughts are insane and you need assistance outside of your own mind. It actually helps to become levelheaded again. It’s also crucial to know when you need self-care, because if you can’t put yourself first and love yourself, you’re not going to be able to love anyone else.”
—Michael Shahin, sober since March 23, 2013
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