From Sober October to Dry January, moving away from casual drinking is on the rise more than ever before. As we’ve all seen in the past couple of years turning inwards and building up healthy habits has also been a hot topic. But for most, it’s not always that easy, especially if you or your partner has dealt with addiction.
If you or someone you know has struggled with alcohol or substance abuse – you’ve probably found that it can put a strain on relationships both family and romantic with changes in communication, having different priorities, and financial issues.
How Sobriety Changes the Game
Sobriety can change the dynamics of relationships and dating, in so many positive ways. When you’re sober, your mind is able to think clearly in ways that were not possible when using. This allows you to explore who you truly are and become the best version of yourself. In turn, this can attract others as you navigate the dating world.
Working to heal yourself can have a positive impact on your mindset, relationships, and physical health. However, dating when you’re newly sober can be overwhelming. You might still be learning who you are and getting in touch with how you feel. And even if you haven’t dealt with addiction, the stigmas of not drinking can quickly overwhelm you in any type of social setting.
Before you go on you embark on your new journey of sober dating (or you just need some refreshers), check out these helpful tips:
Tips for Sober Dating
Don’t Be Embarrassed
The best way to approach the date is by accepting who you are, what you’ve gone through, and how far you’ve come. It’s totally understandable to be uncomfortable if your date keeps asking you if you want a drink but just remember to stand your ground and that sobriety is an amazing thing! (You might even help them as well)
Honesty is the Best Policy!
You might wish to let your new date know about your sobriety up front or even before the date. This can help you ease your anxiety by staying honest. Then, when it comes time to order a drink, you won’t feel quite as pressured or worried. It’s important to start your first interactions out with honesty! Also, by opening up this conversation it can create space to learn more about your date too, who knows they may be on the sober train as well or inspired by your progress.
Being upfront about your lifestyle can also set you up to find others who align with how you want to move forward with your life and gives you the chance to build even stronger bonds.
Addiction can cause havoc in relationships at any stage. You might have noticed your past addiction has led to a lack of communication between partners or in a relationship before this was an issue between you. Now that you’re sober or supporting your date, take an honest approach when sharing a bit about yourself. They say honesty is the best policy!
Remember You’re Putting Your Health First
Not only is getting clean helpful for your dating or relationship life, but it’s also important for your health. Overuse of alcohol can lead to many harmful health effects, both short and long-term. You may notice you sleep better and have more energy! You may lower blood pressure or blood sugar. Your mood may also improve (that’s always welcome!)
For dating, try suggesting date ideas that do not involve alcohol. For example, invite your date out to a movie or to go mini-golfing. For your first date, it’s normal that you may not feel comfortable opening up just yet. By suggesting non-alcoholic activities, you can give yourself some time to slowly mention your sobriety when the time is right.
If you’re going for a classic dinner date, ask if they have any mocktails!
Set Realistic Expectations
Your sobriety may change your dating experience, however, it’s for the best. Setting realistic expectations can help you keep your emotions in check. Dating, in itself, can be stressful and time-consuming. While also managing your sobriety, don’t forget to prioritize your mental health. This includes attending meetings, prioritizing self-care, and being mindful of the type of people you surround yourself with.
This also might mean that some relationships don’t serve you anymore, and thats ok!
There is a strong correlation between addiction disorders and other mental health disorders. By taking care of yourself, you’ll pave the way for more success with sober dating.
Take Your Time
It’s usually said that waiting about a year after sobriety can set the tone for a healthy relationship, just in case heading into things too quickly with someone can bring up a lot of emotions that might lead to relapse.
While sobriety can certainly affect your dating life, using this period to better yourself can give you the right skills to build healthy relationships. One thing to focus on is methods of self-care. Self-care can look different from person to person, however, it basically encompasses anything that helps your mindset. When trying to maintain sobriety, developing new habits like a focus on healthy eating or a new exercise routine can be a healthy way to focus efforts away from substance abuse. Take your dog on a walk, join a cycling club, or go on a hike! Anything you can do to better yourself will impact your ability to maintain healthy relationships.
You got this!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].