Sober Dating in a Drinking World


Most people don’t read the blogger’s bio on a site so I’ll save you an extra click and tell you a little. I’m a sober, single twenty-something mom trying to find her way in this whacked out, digital dating world… but I need help! Sober. No longer can I use liquid courage to calm my jitters before a first date or use, “want to grab a drink sometime?” as an opening line (although, technically, the man should be asking me out in the first place). 

I’ve been in recovery for about a year and a half now, which means I don’t drink. Anything. At. All. Obviously, this is a positive and intentional thing, which is applauded in the rooms of AA but since I’m a twenty-something, most people my age are all about meeting up at bars to hang out — especially on first dates. There’s nothing like that ego boost at the bottom of a glass or bottle to break the ice, right? In my case, I always ended up that too-drunk-girl who was left wondering the next day what I had done wrong. The answer? Most likely everything. A lot of guys I’ve run into say it’s an admirable thing to do (getting and staying sober) but are actually turned off by the idea.

On top of being sober, I’m also a single mom. You can imagine how that doesn’t exactly leave me with a lot of time to go galavanting around town meeting new people. So with no drinking involved and a child to take care of — when, where, and how does one even begin to meet people? This is what has led me to apps like Tinder, OkCupid, and Tryst. That, in itself, has led my friends and I to tons of creepy messages, unfortunate meet-ups, and random encounters with stage 5 clingers.

So the big question here is… how does one sober girl meet a decent guy in a drinking world? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with alcohol or the people who consume it, it’s just not for me. I’m not above or against meeting someone out for a drink but it’s not the ideal place for all of our dates. I know I can’t be the only one out there dealing with this issue and even though Alcoholics Anonymous is just that — anonymous — I’m wondering if you can help a lady out?! Coffee dates are great but get monotonous and while every girl loves a picnic in the park that’s not exactly first date materal.

Whether you’re also in recovery or just have some great activity/date ideas that don’t revolve around alcohol, I need some feedback! Dating is tough enough without having any extra restrictions. I definitely wouldn’t change my life for one second or the journey I’ve been on to get myself here, but I could definitely use some help navigating this digital dating world!

Help a (sober) sister out!

Much love,
– Searching Stella


(Photo Credit: carnagenyc, Flickr)


7 thoughts on “Sober Dating in a Drinking World

  1. ok girlfriend….I am going to give this some thought!! I have a close guy friend (you know, the guys that are in the friends only catagory”) 😀 anyway, he is single and also stopped drinking about 2 years ago….so, i will talk to him this evening and get some ideas!! And btw, i’m proud of you!

  2. Hey! Being that I am in recovery, and the shallow shit doesn’t matter so much anymore, I really attempt to get to know some one well before I meet up with them, if we’re talking online folks. Speak on the phone, let them into your routine a little bit and see where they will stand as a part of it. You don’t have to meet some one whose interests you are unsure of, and who you don’t know you’ll like. Once you have some common ground, you might even be able to jump into something more comfortable than a coffee date!.

    My first date in sobriety, I talked to him for several days, if not a couple weeks, had a few good conversations over the phone, and developed a good rapport. I then felt comfortable going over to his place, not far from mine, and attempted to help him make pasta sauce. By that point, we knew we both loved garlic, hated crowded places, and had some music in common to boogie to. It made a world of difference to already have some sort of connection, and the time I spent getting to know him before just arranging to meet in a parking lot outside of the local diner was well worth it.

  3. Lili Marleen

    I can imagine that it must be much harder when you’re so young.

    For me, it hasn’t been that much of an issue. I think there was only one guy who went on a first date with me in spite of me CLEARLY stating in my profile that I didn’t drink at all (I also had “recovery” as an interest in my interest section, mind you), and then decided that our lifestyles didn’t match because he spent most of his nights partying in clubs until the early morning hours (shudder — I go to bed at 10, at the latest). Dude was in his ealy 60s.

    Not much of a loss, there, if you ask me.

    The Professor doesn’t drink at all (and a guy’s drinking behavior was actually part of my list — my 100 item list). Astonishingly, The Professor incorporates about 95% or so of said list!!!

    If you want it, ask for it, and the Universe will provide!

    Good luck!!!!

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