5 Tips for Sober Dating and Hookups

Are you recently sober and wondering how to date and hook up without drinks? Are you worried about temptation?

Dear Holly,

I’m single and just getting into online dating. I took a long break from any kind of dating or sex because I went through a shitty divorce, in part due to my drinking. I’ve been sober for almost a year and am ready to try meeting women for hookups.

I won’t lie, it’s scary as hell. My addiction to booze started when I was young. I was shy and suffered from anxiety, and it just made me feel way more confident. What can I do to make this easier? – George

Read: I Have Finally Learned How to Date without Drinking

Hi George. Congratulations on your sobriety! You’ve already done something that is extremely difficult. Take comfort in the fact that you faced another fear head-on and are doing well with it.

Most social situations, not just dating, are rife with challenging moments for those who have issues with alcohol. It’s everywhere. So many flirtations start off with “Do you want to meet for a drink?” or “Can I buy you a drink?” So if you want to hook up, but want to avoid the familiar trappings of alcohol, what are your best steps forward?

5 Tips for Dating While Sober

1. Know Where You Are

If you’ve just become sober, you probably want to avoid as much temptation as possible. You may want to share your sober status upfront with someone you are interested in. It’s not uncommon for men and women to put something like this right in their online dating profile to avoid uncomfortable conversations and situations—bare-bones honesty can save both parties a lot of time from the get-go.

Read: Reasons to Update Your Dating Profile Regularly

2. Find Your People

Depending where you are in your sobriety journey, you may want to look for others who don’t have any kind of dependency on alcohol. And sometimes you don’t know this until you know this! You probably aren’t going to go looking in bars, but maybe you want to seek out events or parties that advertise that they are alcohol-free. If you’ve been sober for years, you may be okay with dating someone who likes to imbibe from time to time, but be sure.

3. Find Your Inner Peace

If drinking was something you used to calm your nerves or bolster your confidence when it came to dating or just talking to women, you’ll want something healthy to replace that. Many people who go through sobriety programs will already know what this is. If you’re new to giving up the booze, you may be in the process of finding healthy alternatives that will help you feel more comfortable in new social situations.

Read: Tips for Dating with Anxiety

4. Choose the Right Settings

When you meet women online who you want to hook up with, you are often tasked with choosing a place to meet. Women love something different from the usual coffee shop and bar first-date environments. Suggest a beautiful outdoor park as a meeting place, or maybe a museum or skating rink. When there is activity and scenery to comment on, the pressure is off because you don’t feel like you’re in a face-to-face interview—and drinks are not readily available!

Read: Creative Ideas for First Date Fun

5. Practice Self-Reflection and Compassion

Don’t beat yourself up when you misstep. Again, depending on where you are with sobriety, you may fall off the wagon early or relapse farther on in your journey. Dating and relationships can put us in situations that pull you off course. The important thing is to reflect on the dates or hookups that you experience to understand if it was a threat to your sobriety. You may be seeing someone who doesn’t drink, but the dynamic between you is a trigger that makes you think about or want to drink.

Nothing is cut and dried when it comes to staying sober, but it’s worth protecting if it’s the best life for you.

Hookup Help is a Q&A series. If you want advice or a woman’s perspective on hooking up, online dating, relationships, or sex, we want to hear from you. SUBMIT YOUR QUESTION, and who knows, you may appear in the next Hookup Land newsletter.

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