Dating in addiction recovery: Should you or shouldn’t you?

If sobriety is about living life to its fullest, why are so many people against dating in the recovery community? Questions and more questions here.

minute read
By Justin Bagnato

I think there are a lot of great things you hear in early sobriety, especially in 12 step meetings. However, much like organized religion, things are sometimes gravely misinterpreted and taken out of context in some of these anonymous groups. My biggest issue with one of these rules when I first got sober was “no relationships or major changes for one year!” This seemed a little hypocritical to me since you are told the “only thing you have to change is everything if you want to stay sober.”

I was contemplating this “no relationship rule” on a sweltering Phoenix summer day while sitting in rehab last August. Admittedly, how and where I was going to meet girls when I successfully completed this 90 day transformation from drugs and alcohol should have been the last thing on my mind. To that, I say a commonly used term recovery: it’s progress not perfection.

Regardless of how I focused on my own program of recovery, I felt there was a huge void with warding off new romantic relationships for an entire year. I fully understood why this rule was so heavily enforced. Relationships, especially new ones, often end in disaster.. and in that case, relapsing is very much a possibility. However, if intentions and motives were above board, could going against and disobeying a major rule or suggestion in early recovery produce a successful relationship? Is healthy dating in addiction recovery possible? Could two addict/alcoholics produce a positive relationship? Or would this increase the possibility of relapse for both?

Are healthy relationships possible in recovery?

Correlation does not always imply causation, and I believe that healthy relationships within the community of addiction recovery are not out of the realm of possibility. This is essentially why I created, a dating site tailor made for addicts made by a recovering alcoholic and addict. Why is such a site needed?

Reasons people might use a recovery dating website

1. Better quality of life

I thought very early on in my recovery that if two people that were indeed serious about recovery and their own sobriety got together, a heightened level of sobriety could be achieved, a happier sobriety. Sobriety is a reality and finding someone like-minded may be crucial to companionship. It’s human nature to seek companionship, so why not make it somebody sober? Plus, when you got sober you produced a refreshed, invigorated best version of yourself. Sobriety is meant to exhaust its unlimited potential and there’s no reason any of should feel lonely…

2. Matching up view points

Getting sober was the hardest thing I have ever done…meeting people that have the identical views about sobriety being the number one priority in life shouldn’t have to be. The extensive profile questions on not only give the description of your views on your own sobriety, they help express where you’re at in your recovery. The blog forums allow the opportunity to voice experiences and struggles without the scrutiny or judgment we sometimes feel.

3. A larger pool

I believe that it’s imperative that people draw from a larger dating pool besides the same individuals that are in the rooms of their anonymous meetings?  Nobody else on the planet has this type of site yet. Our questions make people think… think…think. Besides this, there’s not another platform for someone to really get to understand someone’s sobriety; especially if they want to start a relationship.

To close, expanding interactions with the most possible people that have similar goals in mind is a great ingredient for success in recovery. Even though, has raised a lot of eyebrows in recovery communities, life should be truly lived to the fullest. And it’s baffling to me why the “recovery cheerleaders” that are extremely vocal about their sobriety are the ones who usually relapse.

Sound off your opinion now

What do you think? Is there wisdom or restriction in waiting to date in recovery? What worked for you and what would you suggest to others just starting recovery? We welcome your questions or comments in the section below and will try to respond to all legitimate queries with a personal and prompt reply.

About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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