Recovering from a substance abuse disorder does not mean you have to be alone. Here we look at sober dating apps that can help you get back in the dating game while making a successful recovery.
Loneliness can be one of the greatest challenges when it comes to a successful recovery from alcohol or substance abuse disorders. Not only does addiction destroy relationships, the recovery process often requires us to separate ourselves from previous friendships and acquaintances as we take the steps we need to stay sober.
While many addiction treatment counsellors advise that it’s unwise to enter a serious relationship too early in recovery, there will come a time when you feel you’re ready to start dating again.
For those in recovery, the Internet can provide an excellent means of connecting with like-minded people. Most apps and social networks, however, make few allowances for those who have suffered from substance abuse disorders. Indeed, there are plenty of horror stories about dating apps like Tinder actually contributing to relapses.
There are, thankfully, a number of apps and social networks exclusively geared towards people who don’t drink or take drugs. Here are some worth checking out:
While not strictly a dating app, Sober Grid is a great way to connect with other sober people at any time, wherever you are in the world. The app features a number of nifty social networking features that allow users to chat with likeminded people, join groups, reach out for help, find sober people in their locality and share their thoughts on sobriety on the ‘Sober Newsfeed’.
While founder Beau Mann did not create Sober Grid is a dating app, he is more than happy if love blossoms among users. ‘It is not designed to be a dating app. [But] people are people. If members of the Sober Grid community use the app to date or find a sober partner, that is wonderful,’ he said.
Mann recently reported strong growth in the Sober Grid user base and envisages it becoming a ‘household name in the recovery community… As our user base grows, Sober Grid’s value only continues to increase as individuals become able to find others to connect with around them no matter where they live,’ he added.
Launched last year, Soberse is a new addition to the sober dating app landscape. Geared towards helping people in recovery meet, socialise and date with other sober people, the app uses geolocation and other features – such as amount of time in recovery and recovery program of choice – to match you with people in your local area. The app allows you to view and connect with other people, giving you 24 hours to decide if you want to continue to be matched.
Soberse was founded by John Humphreys, who had trouble meeting people with shared experiences while he was in recovery. According to the Soberse website, the 20-something ‘wanted to create something for people just like him so he and many others could have the chance to meet the right people.’
Platforms: iTunes | Coming soon to Android
Clean Fun Network
Clean Fun Network does not have an app at present, though there does appear to be one ‘under construction’ and we definitely felt it should be included here. The Clean Fun Network has been widely hailed as a great way for sober people to connect with and meet new people and the network already has a vibrant and active community.
CFN, as it’s often known, is not strictly a dating network and is not just for those in recovery. The focus is on helping people who don’t use alcohol or drugs to meet and have fun. It even organises luxurious sober holidays to exotic locations.
‘It’s so important for people to understand that [sobriety] is not the end of fun,’ said CFN founder MJ Gottlieb. ‘You can have infinitely more fun, and actually remember what you did the next morning.’
Platforms: Web | iTunes and Android apps ‘under construction’
Tips for Dating in Recovery
Dating while in recovery from any substance abuse disorder can be challenging. You will have a lot on your plate in the early months as you settle into your new life, and most counsellors recommend that you do not begin dating in the first few months, or even the first year.
When you do decide you are ready to explore dating opportunities, sober dating apps provide an excellent way to test the waters. Crucially, you will be entering a sober and supportive community of likeminded people who want to break free of the isolation and loneliness of recovery without the risk of relapse. The apps also relieve much of the pressure of dating, as you can get to know people more slowly online without the intensity of face-to-face meetings with strangers.
When you do feel you’re ready to start dating in earnest, here are some tips to keep you on the right track:
Take it Slow
It is important not to rush any new relationship. Respect each others’ boundaries and do not make any major decisions, such as marriage or moving in together, during the first year.
Put Your Recovery First
In the early days, remember that recovery is your top priority. While relationships can be exciting and rewarding, they can also be distracting and may cause you to neglect your sober routines.
It pays to be completely honest from the outset so any potential partner knows your background and where you are in the recovery process. This will help you avoid social situations which may prompt a relapse and avoid dating anyone who will not be willing to provide the support you need.
Date Outside Your Usual Haunts
It’s best to avoid dating anyone from the places you frequent that support your recovery, such as meetings or yoga classes.
If you are dating and feel you may be in danger of relapse, The Cabin Singapore can provide the help and support you need to maintain a successful recovery while enjoying healthy relationships. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.