I was avoiding bars and other places where I was used to meeting people.” Still others wait a year, and then turn to dating apps like Tinder and Bumble—only to encounter people whose lives revolve around drinking.
“When every guy I chatted with balked if I suggested we meet at a coffee place instead of a bar, I gave up on the apps,” says New York-based Sarah, 34.
The app is not exclusively for people in 12-step recovery, but for anyone who wants to have “some good, clean fun,” he said.
“I couldn’t imagine getting through a summer without drinking and partying,” Claire, 27, tells It was a lifesaver.” What about sober people looking for romance? “If I see someone struggling, I like to reach out,” said Mario Diurno, organizer of the upcoming UNITE to Face Addiction rally in Washington. It helps me think about somebody other than myself, plus I get to help another person.
Earlier this year, he launched the Clean Fun Network (CFN), a social network where non-drinkers can connect, meet up, and sign up for trips to places like Costa Rica and Yellowstone National Park.
In fact, sobriety can lead to a much bigger and more colorful social calendar.
There’s also the challenge of figuring out how to handle disclosures about sobriety (“I don’t drink because I used to be a drunken hot mess and oh also have a co-occurring mental health disorder” doesn’t exactly scream “great partner material” on a dating site or app). I’m over 17 years sober and it took me years of frustrating and painful efforts to find the guy I eventually committed to. The experiment didn’t go so well, but it wasn’t a disaster either.
In that time, I encountered more men than I can count who drank so much that it rendered them completely not present. “Don’t get them on their back before they’re on their feet” is an expression in recovery circles but I never felt like I was a victim of anyone I dated, or taken advantage of because I was new to sobriety.
Then I sat in my room for 30 minutes, going, ‘Wow, should I do this? “A lot of people on the site list their recovery dates and how long they’ve been sober on the profiles they create—it’s really cool to see that,” Reed says.
Speaking of sobriety, Reed has to regularly scan the site to "make sure people don’t have a beer in their hand or a marijuana leaf on their profiles,” he says.
And wouldn’t it be nice to avoid that awkward “conversation,” explaining to yet another Tinder date why you’re in a bar and drinking seltzer water?