Much advice is doled out in the rooms of 12-step meetings about relationships in early recovery. “Don’t date in the first year of sobriety,” is one of the most common rules of thumb that many 12 steppers advocate. But perhaps dating in addiction recovery isn’t so cut and dry?
Today, we talk with someone who is trying to make dating and social networking easier for people who do not use drugs or alcohol. As someone who is sober himself, 21-year-old Founder and CEO Antoine Nauleau has recently developed and launched an app targeting anyone living a sober life called “Sober“. Today, we talk with him about healthy dating, and what it looks like. Then, we invite your questions, comments, or feedback at the end.
ADDICTION BLOG: At what stage of recovery do you think people should start dating?
SOBER: I don’t think that there is one general point of time where everyone is ready to start dating, I think it’s a personal matter and that each individual needs to establish when they might be ready to start dating again. I do see the importance in seeking help and advice from someone else, whether it be a good friend, sponsor, or therapist, as many of us in early sobriety are still learning to make healthy decisions.
ADDICTION BLOG: In your opinion, what does “healthy dating in recovery” look like?
SOBER: Healthy dating in recovery, should look like healthy dating in general. Important factors to healthy dating include being able to set boundaries and respect each others boundaries. In recovery, the obvious boundary is a mutual understanding of yours or both of yours recovery and what that entails in order to remain sober and happy. Balance is also key, which can actually be applied to any aspect of your life. Maintaining balance in every part of your life, has lead me to a happy and positive life, and when I begin to focus too much energy into one area, I start feeling it’s affects on other parts of my life.
ADDICTION BLOG: What are some dating skills that people in recovery are lacking? What dating advice do you advocate?
SOBER: I wouldn’t say that people in recovery are necessarily “lacking” anything towards dating, but something that I’ve experienced myself and seen others struggle with is dependence to love and co-dependence of each other. It’s important to maintain who you are as an individual and to keep growing in your life. When you first fall in love with someone, it’s sometimes easy to fall into a pattern of spending too much time together…which can be unhealthy.
ADDICTION BLOG: What’s your opinion about having sex in the first year of recovery?
SOBER: Putting everyone in the same category of “don’t have sex” in the first year of recovery, isn’t very effective nor fair. We’re called individuals for a reason, as we are all individualistic, which means it worth looking into yourself as well as being open to feedback from others, in order to effectively understand when you might be ready to start engaging in sexual activity again. Some might be ready before a year, others might need longer.
ADDICTION BLOG: What are some safety protocols that anyone using an online dating software should put into place?
SOBER: Although online dating and social media are fun and effective, I think it’s important to not only rely on them in order to meet people or maintain friendships. There is something about approaching someone, and engaging in conversation that way. I think some people rely strongly on social media and dating apps for a human connection. The ultimate goal with people and using our app is to meet each other in person, having successfully taken the virtual relationship to reality. Once again, it all comes to balance; social media and dating apps can be a great way to maintain social connection and meet people, but it shouldn’t be your only main avenue.
ADDICTION BLOG: Your app matches sober people who are looking to date. How does the Sober app work? Are there filters that people can set for LGBT?
SOBER: We believe that it is important to offer the same services to anyone and everyone, no matter what your sexual orientation. Users can change their sexual preferences and choose to be interested in “Male”, “Female”, or “Both”.
ADDICTION BLOG: Is the Sober app a Tinder for the recovery crowd? If not, how is it different?
SOBER: Tinder has grown to much more than just a dating app — it has become one of the first apps to successfully help people meet. This is the aspect of Tinder that we’ve chosen to embrace, and extend our application to achieve. By adding “friends” as a feature to our app, instead of users only “liking” or “passing” each other, they have the option to also “friend” someone. From there, you can keep in touch with all of your “friends” and socialize, share status updates, or even photos.
The overall hope is that our application will help people who are sober meet other sober people. We also added some tools for users in distress or in need of professional services through our “Help” feature. From there, users can find information about different recovery based institutions, addiction doctors, and hospitals, which people from our team have had first hand experiences with and know to be credible places. We also have a lot more features that we are working on, surrounding location-based social media.
ADDICTION BLOG: With sex implicitly in the equation of dating and modern life, how do you foresee people REALLY using the Sober app? Be honest.
SOBER: As a way to meet people. Sure sex might be a part of it, but sex is a part of life, and our hope is that users will embrace the social aspect of the application, and use it as a way to meet more people, make new friends, and socialize.
ADDICTION BLOG: Do you have anything else you’d like to add for our readers?
SOBER: We hope users will enjoy Sober, and share it with their friends! For more information about the application, please visit our website:
If you would like to download the application, here is a direct link:
To find out about new features and keep up with everything Sober, follow us on our social media channels:
Twitter – @getsoberly
Instagram – @getsoberly
Facebook – facebook.com/getsoberly
Pinterest – pinterest.com/getsoberly
Google Plus – google.com/+matchmesober1
LinkedIn – bit.ly/soberlinkedin