When you first begin to explore a new romantic relationship after you clean up your act and get sober, it’s normal to feel confused about where to begin. You may be surprised to learn that you relate to others very differently in sobriety than you did back when you were actively drinking or using. It may take you time to learn how to form healthy, loving relationships with people when drugs or alcohol are out of the picture and no longer clouding your judgment.
Getting back onto the dating scene as a recovering addict can make you more vulnerable to relapse if you are not ready for the road ahead. The emotional upheaval at the beginning or end of a romantic relationship can cause you to lose sight of your recovery priorities and put your sobriety at risk.
How Long Should You Wait to Start Dating?
When you’re in early recovery, you’ll often hear the advice that you should hold off at least one full year before embarking on any new relationship. That’s because the first year of addiction recovery is a crucial time when you need to devote all your time and energy to managing your health and maintaining your newfound sobriety.
During the first year of your recovery, you’ll also be rediscovering yourself, learning who you are without the influence of drugs and alcohol, adapting healthy coping skills and rebuilding your self-confidence. That’s a lot to have on your plate without adding the complexities of a romantic relationship into the equation.
If you do meet someone who sparks your interest within the first year of recovery, it’s essential to take things one step at a time and be honest with your potential partner that your sobriety needs to remain the top priority in your life. After all, you must learn to love yourself before you can love someone else.
Ideas for Great Sober Dates
As you explore the world of dating in your newfound sobriety, you may wonder what activities you can do. If getting drunk or high was how you spent most of your time until fairly recently, it might make it difficult for you to think of fun things you can do with a significant other that don’t revolve around harmful substances. However, with a little creativity, you can overcome this difficulty. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
- Go to an art gallery or museum.
- Try to solve an escape room.
- Go thrift or antique shopping.
- Enjoy an evening at the ballet, symphony or theater.
- Explore a local tourist attraction neither of you has visited before.
- Go on a hike or bike ride – you’ll get some exercise while taking in the scenery.
- Visit a nearby zoo or aquarium.
- Tour a factory to learn how they make their products.
- Learn a new skill by signing up for a cooking, dancing, drawing or photography class.
- Give back to the community by volunteering at an animal shelter, soup kitchen or another deserving nonprofit.
Remember, all your dates will be substance-free. You can avoid boredom – a risky trigger for many in recovery – by finding an activity you love to do together, adding a spark of competition or developing new twists on old date ideas.
Discovering the Rewards of Dating While Putting Your Recovery First
Among all the other ways substance abuse wreaks havoc on your life, it severely impacts your ability to maintain healthy relationships. When you date in recovery, you can discover a more genuine connection than you have experienced before. However, even when you have fallen head over heels for a special someone, you should always keep addiction recovery as your first priority.
At Canyon Crossing, we have helped hundreds of women reconnect with their true selves and learn how to maximize their potential in life by breaking free of substance misuse. We offer traditional 12-step-based therapy, as well as complementary treatment options that provide a foundation for a healthy recovery and put your needs first. If you feel as if your life has gotten out of control, contact us today to start your admissions process.