Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

You’ve likely heard it suggested in various recovery programs that you don’t date within your first year of recovery. While the “no dating in early recovery” thing is merely a suggestion, it’s probably one of the best pieces of advice you’ll receive. Dating can stir up all kinds of mixed emotions that can be really challenging to deal with and in your first year sober, you’re already dealing with a range of emotions. So, heed the advice if you can. Once you ARE ready to start dating in recovery, however, it can be quite rewarding. 

Okay, so the whole sober dating thing might be a little scary in the beginning, but after a few dates, it gets a lot easier and way more fun. Like, extra super fun, actually. Gone are the days of on-the-fly trips to the dive bar or post-work happy hours, both of which require minimal planning. In recovery, it’s really fun to get creative with date ideas, and when there’s no alcohol involved, it forces you and your date to think outside the box. Whether you’re looking for something long-term or you’re just ready to have a little fun, connect with another sober single and check out any of these 8 groovy sober date ideas. 

  1. Hiking. If you have accessible trails in your neck of the woods, hiking is an awesome sober date activity. Not only is it incredibly good for you, but it’s an easy way to connect with your date over a shared appreciation of the outdoors rather than trying to make small talk over dinner. It also can give you and your date a nice little endorphin rush and dopamine kick, which is a great way to feel good sans any mind-altering substance. And while a good, rigorous hike can be a blast, keep in mind that a pleasant stroll on a mellow trail counts, too. As long as you’re outdoors and getting your blood moving, that’s what counts. 
  2. Local art and music festivals. When there are art and music festivals happening near you, generally during the summer months, these can be a fantastic sober date option. The cool thing about these kinds of festivals is that they’re usually pretty family-friendly and they’re not typically booze-fests. It’s a great way to connect with a sober date over a shared love of art and music, and it can spark great conversations as well. Art and music festivals are also just fun, and far more memorable than a trip to the bar.  
  3. Take a kickboxing class. Kickboxing is another great way to get your blood pumping and your endorphins kicking into high gear. And it’s a kickass (pun totally intended) thing to do on a date when there’s no alcohol present. Bonus: if you’re the one suggesting it, your date is probably going to think you’re very cool. Because kickboxing is cool. It’s also really fun and it happens to be one heck of a workout. So, grab your sober date, your hand wraps, and your purple glitter boxing gloves, and get to it!  
  4. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Being of service can be so valuable to your recovery, and it’s also a really cool date idea. Not to mention, you and your date get to spend your morning or afternoon with a bunch of adorable furry friends who will be so happy to have you there. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up adopting one. It’s can be a great bonding experience and it’s just a good thing to do. By the way, the volunteering idea isn’t limited to animal shelters. You could also volunteer at a soup kitchen, a retirement home, a hospital, or a homeless shelter. There are so many different places and causes that can use volunteers, and it makes for a very meaningful experience for you and your date. 
  5. Amusement parks. If you and your date are into scary rides, amusement parks are a really cool thing to do on a date. Of course, amusement parks aren’t all about scary rides, but they’re kinda the best part (in our humble opinion). And talk about an endorphin rush, sans the drugs or alcohol. Fast rides with lots of loops and dips, provided your stomach can handle it, are such a great way to have some good laughs and screams on a date. 
  6. Rock climbing. Rock climbing is yet another great active date idea because it’s just really fun. If you and your date aren’t climbers, rock climbing gyms are a great place to start. You can get some good hands-on instruction at a climbing and then if you guys are into it, you can keep practicing and working your way up to your first outdoor climb. You’ll also have something really cool to talk about afterward, particularly if you’re newbies. 
  7. Farmer’s market. Farmer’s markets make great sober dates and, in fact, they make really great FIRST dates as well. They’re very casual and you can spend as much or as little time as you want at them. It’s also a great and wholesome way to spend a portion of your day, and often there are additional cool things happening at farmer’s markets, like live music and art shows. Once again, it’s an activity that presents a lot of great conversation openers, and you can also take care of all your produce shopping at the same time.

Sober dating definitely does not mean you have to forego the fun. Quite the opposite actually. In sobriety, we have the opportunity to get really creative on our dates. We’ve found that most people actually have a lot more fun dating in recovery than they ever did before they got clean. So, when you’re ready, give any of these ideas a shot or just get creative on your own. Oh, and we forgot to mention the best part. You’ll wake up hangover-free the next day and with (hopefully) zero regrets. 


Kemabli Recovery Center can help

If you or someone you know and love is struggling to stay clean. Contact us today to learn more about our Residential Treatment Program as well as our Recovery and Beyond Program. You never have to do this alone. 

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