Dating is complicated no matter what the situation. For those of us who are sober, figuring out how to disclose our recovery can add an extra level of anxiety. When “Let’s grab a drink” is synonymous with asking someone out, what’s the right way to tell your date that you’re sober? There is no single right answer to this question. There are as many ways to navigate this topic as there are individuals and situations. It helps me to acknowledge the fact that I don’t want to be with someone who needs their partner to drink – the sooner I can see how my date reacts to my recovery, the better. After all, dates are a two way interview. That being said, it’s not always necessary to disclose the full story immediately. I’ve found that being prepared with a few answers greatly relieves the anxiety. These are some of my go-to tactics.
“I don’t drink.”
It’s simple, true, and leaves room for mystery. I’ve never had someone inquire further on the first date. When it’s time for more explanation, you’ve left yourself plenty of room. You can follow up when you feel comfortable. If asked during a second date, I usually say it’s because “I used to like it too much.” I eventually disclose more and more.
“I’m health conscious.”
Working out and maintaining a healthy diet is an important aspect of my life today. A substantial part of the reason I don’t drink is because my physical health is important to me. I’m currently training for the LA Marathon, and wouldn’t be able to compete at the level I do if I weren’t sober. Again, this explanation is true – and it’s also attractive.
“I’m in recovery.”
If you’re comfortable with it, there’s nothing wrong with being direct. Plus, you’ll get immediate feedback on how your date reacts. Remember that disclosing you’re recovery doesn’t require a follow up story. You can leave it at that and explain more later. Depending on where you live, most people know someone that’s sober, so it’s not as stigmatized as it once was.
Like all things worth doing, sober dating takes practice. When I first started, my recovery was a source of anxiety. Today, I don’t think twice about it. These explanations are simply how I navigate the topic. Find what works for you. What’s most important is being confident and honest. Knowing how to talk about my recovery allows me to relax and concentrate on what’s important – getting to know the person I’m on a date with.
At Tree House Recovery, we’re helping men find freedom from addiction. Our treatment programs create sustainable change for sustainable recovery by helping men find their strength in body, mind, and spirit. For information on our Orange County programs, call us today: (855) 202-2138