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Sober Dating: Five Ideas for First Dates in Recovery

By Keith W Tree House Staff

With dating so tied to drinking, planning a sober first date that avoids alcohol can seem difficult. When I first started dating in recovery, I felt strange suggesting we meet anywhere other than a bar. However, I’ve found that there are plenty of options for sober dates — and it turns out that they are all far more fun than sitting across from a stranger in a dark bar. Having an activity to focus on can also help relieve some of that first date anxiety. Of course, not all of these will be appropriate for every situation, but I’ve compiled a list of my favorite sober first date activities:


If you live near a city, there’s sure to be an interesting show every night. You can find a shared favorite, or try something new together. Either way, you’ll have something to talk about and experience together.


This is a great way to highlight your culinary skills, eat a delicious meal, and see how well you work together. Depending on the situation, this may be more of a second date activity. Before you plan the menu, make sure to find out if your date has any dietary restrictions.


Explore something new together, or show your date a favorite spot. Beaches, hikes, walks, and arcades are just some ideas for fun first date adventures.


Museums give you something to focus on while you get to know each other. Unlike a movie, you can talk in a museum. Natural History and Science museums also offer a lot of interactive exhibitions, which can be a fun and goofy way to get to know your date.


Meeting for coffee can be ideal for a sober first date. It’s not a big commitment. Depending on how much fun you’re having, it can last 20 minutes or 2 hours.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether you’re having coffee or going skydiving. What’s important is that you find a situation that makes you feel comfortable and allows you to get to know your each other. Planning an elaborate first date isn’t always necessary. The ideal setting will vary depending on you and your date. Try a bunch of different scenarios and find what works for you.

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

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