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Being Sober and Dating Someone Who Drinks

For many people, getting sober is a complex process due to outside stressors and influences. One of the biggest influences — and sometimes stressors — for someone wanting to get sober is the fact that they have a partner or spouse that continues to use alcohol. The partner who continues to drink or use can put his or her loved one’s recovery at risk, intentionally or not. 

As the spouse wanting to get or stay sober, having a partner that still drinks can lead to temptation, resentment and sometimes relapse. So how do you deal with these stressors while preserving the relationship? Or how do you first start dating someone who drinks when you don’t? Here are some of our top strategies for overcoming these challenges in an established or new relationship. 

How to Date While Sober 

Dating may be the last thing on your mind when you first get sober. The good news is, dry dates can be just as fun, if not more, than dates involving alcohol. Keep the following in mind to date and have fun while sober:

  • It helps to be honest: Being firm and straightforward helps you exude confidence and solidifies your intentions, even to yourself. Even saying something such as, “I don’t feel good after drinking,” gets your point across in a way that’s direct and genuine. 
  • Try some alternatives: View dates as opportunities to get creative — going out for coffee, visiting a museum, hiking or trying something you’ve never done before are all exciting alternatives to grabbing drinks. 
  • Know your sobriety can make your connections deeper: Vulnerability takes courage — and it will strengthen any relationship. Instead of blacking out on specific moments with your significant other, sobriety allows you to make memories that will last. 

Tips for Staying Sober in Recovery With a Partner Who Drinks 

To protect your sobriety while in a relationship with someone who still drinks, try:

  1. Putting your recovery first: Recovery is all about you. Putting your recovery first means counseling meetings may take precedence over your partner. 
  2. Finding a support network: When in recovery, surrounding yourself with as many positive influences as you can is a must. Make friends with people in recovery and spend time with them — either online or in person. Several apps immediately connect you with a support network
  3. Helping your partner if they need it without sabotaging your recovery: If you feel your spouse or partner needs help for their addiction, suggest they join a support group. Get your partner’s family and friends in on the intervention if you feel that your efforts aren’t enough. If this doesn’t help or change your partner’s behavior, it may be time to think about whether the relationship is still a good match for you. 

Stay Sober and Happy in Your Relationships

If you’re sober but worried about a partner who abuses alcohol or other substances, reach out to Gateway Foundation today. Being a sober ally or dating while sober can sometimes seem impossible, but there is help. 

For over 50 years, Gateway Foundation has been helping patients in Illinois overcome addiction, trauma and other challenges with individualized, evidence-based treatment. Our caring and compassionate staff is ready to help you or your loved one get back on track and enjoy life to the fullest. 

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