After drug or alcohol rehab and time away from the social scene, getting back into the swing of things is exciting, but it does pose its challenges. Dating before you began living a sober lifestyle was a different ballgame, and as you’ve changed, so will the experience.
Building new relationships that are healthy and positive is important, now more than ever. Meeting a potential partner who shares your values is essential, and he or she will need to know about your history and current sobriety.
As for when to reveal your story, that’s the tricky part. Honesty is crucial, but “TMI” too soon can scare someone off. Here’s how to manage the conversation delicately and deliberately.
There’s More To You Than Your Sobriety
You may have spent time in rehab, and a good portion of that time was focused on healing, getting sober, and starting fresh. In therapy and otherwise—perhaps with family and friends—most discussions revolved around your drug or alcohol abuse, where it stemmed from, and how it shaped you.
Now that you are sober, it is important to put the past into perspective, and embark on the future, which may include meeting that “special someone.” Before you got help, dating may have included substance use, be it casual or concerning. This sort of socializing is now off limits, so you’ll have to adjust accordingly. That means finding the appropriate places to go and people to go with who are on the same page. But this is only one aspect of how dating will go. The venue may be subdued, the crowd may be calmer. And you’ll be the best version of yourself—clean, sober, and ready for romance.
As you start this journey afresh, get used to not talking about your road to recovery all the time. Going on dates isn’t like going to rehab. There’s more that makes you you. Kick off your re-entry into the dating world with a well-rounded, respectable view of yourself, so others can see the whole package. Yes, your sobriety must be addressed at some point, but it doesn’t have to be your opening act.
Building Trust, Breaking The Silence
You can date someone for a while without getting into the fine details of your past. Keep things casual until you’re comfortable. There’s no “perfect” time to broach the subject of your sobriety, but with the right person, it will come naturally.
You have no obligations for explanations, only an expectation to be yourself. Just like you wouldn’t want your date to share something he or she is not ready to, there should no reason for anyone to think you’ll be an open book right off the bat.
Once you feel like it’s time to address your history with addiction, be sure the person you’re with is ready to hear it. You can feel them out with bits and pieces to assess their acceptance; when you’re confident enough to go deep, prepare them for a serious conversation. This is not something to breeze through or dance around, so if you’re going to share your story, go all in. Do this in an intimate setting that’s conducive to conversation, not at a party or a loud restaurant.
Alternatively, you can connect with other sober singles from the start. This way, the topic is already on the table, and you can keep one another accountable for your actions. There are support groups, dating sites, mixers, and meet-ups where sober singles can get together, and create a future free of alcohol or drugs while falling in love.
As you navigate the dating world in your new sober state, you may feel like you’re slipping back into old harmful habits. Consider holistic treatments to keep you on track—contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 for help.