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Updated on September 15, 2023
6 min read

How Can I Date Without Alcohol?

Dating sober, also known as dry dating, is meeting someone without drinking alcohol or using drugs. It started long before the pandemic, long before it was a trend in the dating scene as an essential part of sobriety for those in recovery.

Meeting at a bar or enjoying a cocktail has long been part of the dating scene. However, with bars and restaurants closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, people were forced to find other activities to enjoy while socializing.

Whether you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction or want to date while staying sober, dry dating is an excellent idea for people from all walks of life.

Why Do People Try Sober Dating

Dating a sober person offers many benefits, whether you’re recovering from alcohol dependence or not. Sober daters can form deeper connections, share healthier lifestyles, and enjoy improved communication.

If you are concerned with your drinking and want to cut back, being around people who don’t drink makes it easier to achieve your goal. If one or both of you are recovering from substance use disorder (SUD), you’ll have a mutual understanding of your situations and be able to support one another.

For many, alcohol is a barrier to connecting with other people. You might doubt if they’ll like the sober version of you. When you begin a relationship sober, you never need to worry about insecurities like these. 

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How Long After Being Sober Can You Date

Sobriety experts recommend waiting at least a year before dating when you enter recovery.1 However, this is just a guideline. No rule suddenly makes someone ready to date on day 365 of recovery.

Everyone is different, so it’s important to honor your circumstances. Committing to sobriety is a big decision in a person’s life. You need to move at whatever pace works for you.

When Is It Time to Start Dating After Staying Sober

Before dipping your toe back into the dating pool, the most important thing to consider is how your recovery is going. If you are still struggling to live soberly, it’s a good indicator that you must continue focusing on yourself.

If staying sober is no longer your primary concern, allow things to unfold naturally and be aware of your well-being. 

Some signs that you might be ready to try dating include:

  • You’re feeling confident.
  • You’ve been successfully using healthy coping mechanisms.
  • You’re comfortable discussing your sobriety and the challenges that come with it.
  • You’re comfortable taking a relationship slowly.
  • You’ve found someone you’re attracted to and would like to get to know them better.

Be open to dating, be social, and go with the flow. If the right person comes along, you’ll be ready to embrace the opportunity to start dating.

A Guide to Sober Dating: How To Find a Sober Date

Like traditional dating, many online tools and IRL opportunities exist to find your sober partner. You can try the following:

Join a Dating App

There are even options for sober people, including Sober Grid or MeetMindful. These apps specifically cater to sober daters.

You can also use dating apps like Bumble that show your preference toward activities like smoking or drinking.

Expand Your Social Life

People recovering from alcohol may want to build their life away from drinking alcohol. Taking classes, attending events, and volunteering are great ways to expand your social life and meet new people.

If you have a cause or hobby of interest, chances are there’s a group you can join. For example, you might join a book club or travel club. Even if you don’t meet a sober significant other, it’s still a great way to make friends.

Ask Friends and Family to Introduce You to New People

People supporting your sober journey want what’s best for you. Now that you’re leading a healthier, happier life, chances are they’ll be excited to help you get back out there. Be open about letting your friends and family meet new people and start dating.

Hire a Matchmaking Service

Due to dating apps, this option isn’t as popular in modern times, but it still has merit. Working with a matchmaking service eliminates the need to sift through incompatible people to trim your options. Your matchmaker can do the hard work for you, especially when reinforcing your sober requirements.

Be Open, Be Present, Get Out There

Sometimes the best way to meet people is to start living your life. When you’re on the bus, at the store, or anywhere else where there are other people, spend time looking around and making real connections when meeting new people.

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Can You Date Someone in AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a worldwide community created to help people struggling with problem drinking. People in AA attend meetings with their peers daily or less frequently through in-person or online gatherings.

Yes, you can date someone in AA, but the group discourages members from dating within the first year of sobriety. That’s because the risk of relapse is highest during this time.

Dating someone in AA has its pros and cons. Much of the experience will depend on the stage of recovery of one or both parties. Despite the challenges, dating someone in AA offers many benefits.

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How Setting Sober Boundaries Can Help Your Recovery

If you try sober dating, have an authentic conversation with potential partners about your situation. You’ll want to do this early in the relationship to set proper expectations and boundaries.

Setting strong boundaries is important if you’re still on your road to recovery. These will help you avoid awkward conversations and wasted time and effort.

Remember, dating, whether sober or not, is a personal journey. The most important thing is to stay true to yourself. You shouldn’t adjust your healthy boundaries for them.

Common Questions About Sober Dating

How Long After Being Sober Can You Date?

Most addiction experts recommend waiting at least a year after you begin recovery to start dating. Ultimately, whether or not you can stay in a relationship depends on you and your partner’s circumstances.

How Do You Go on Dates Without Drinking?

There are plenty of activities great for dating that don’t involve alcohol. Consider going to an arts event, spending time in nature, or planning an excursion such as camping or bungee jumping.

Can Marriage Survive Sobriety?

Yes. However, it takes work from both parties. Ideally, a couple in a marriage affected by Substance Use Disorder (SUD) must receive counseling together and individually.

Is Being Sober a Trend?

Sobriety is trendy right now, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have natural benefits. For most people, sobriety is part of developing a healthy lifestyle.

Summary

Sober dating is a great way to find healthy companionship, especially for people recovering from SUD. Be honest and upfront about your situation if you meet someone who sparks your interest.

If you have concerns about being intimate when you stay sober, seeking counseling might be a good idea. Speaking to a professional who understands the challenges of sobriety and intimacy can help you sort through your feelings. They’ll also offer tips specific to your situation to help you feel confident connecting with someone you care about.

Updated on September 15, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on September 15, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. Casteneda, R. “Why Newly Sober Alcoholics and Addicts Shouldn’t Date for a Year.” US News and World Report, 2017.

  2. Alcohol Use Disorder - Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2022.

  3. Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019.

  4. The Cycle of Alcohol Addiction” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2021.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Alcohol Use and Your Health.” cdc.gov, 2021.

  6. Alcohol Use Disorder: From Risk to Diagnosis to Recovery.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2022.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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