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Ideas for Fun Sober Dates from Substance Abuse Expert Nicholas Mathews

Recovering from drug or alcohol abuse brings forth many life changes. The typical date night is usually “Dinner & Drinks,” so sober people may wonder if they can no longer expect to have a great time when out with their significant other.

Real romance always involves sobriety, since it means establishing and nurturing intimacy. While there’s nothing wrong with the traditional dinner and a movie, here are other fun ways to spend time with the one you love that don’t require alcohol or drugs:

1. Make Personalized Plans

Wherever you want to go or what activity you have in mind, planning with your partner’s preferences in mind can never go wrong. One way of showing someone you love that they matter is really listening to their dreams and desires. When you can plan a date based on something they casually mentioned, you are showing that you truly hear them and know what they like.

Bonus points often accrue if the activity wouldn’t be something you would normally do if given the choice, like seeing a romcom at the movies when you’d prefer a horror flick. Going out of your way to treat your partner to something you know they will love, regardless of your opinion on the choice, is a surefire path to romance!

couple walking in nature

2. Take on Trivia or a Competition

Our brains function far better when not clouded with substances. Take this newfound clarity out on the town and hit up some trivia nights at local restaurants or coffee shops. If trivia isn’t your thing, consider local game stores, which sometimes host game nights.

A little healthy competition can be fun if not taken too seriously. Try mini-golf, go-cart driving, ax throwing, or an escape room. Often, people’s true colors come bubbling to the surface amid competition. You may be surprised at how cutthroat your sweetheart can be!

3. Get Artistic

When one is in the midst of a substance abuse problem, artistic pursuits can be abandoned. Getting back to creative activities together can be a great way to celebrate sobriety and spark romance. Many paint-your-own ceramics or painting classes are available in large cities. You can even get creative without leaving home. Get some paint and canvas at your local craft store and create something together.

If you or your partner are not artistic or creative, you can still visit area museums or local art shows and appreciate the creativity of others.

4. Get Sweaty!

Getting active together can get your endorphins pumping. Go rock climbing, indoor skydiving, or roller skating at your local rink! Hiking and bicycling are also low-impact ways to get some exercise. Consider renting a kayak, canoe, or paddle boat for an afternoon on the water. Snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, and sledding are options in some places during the winter. Many people like to focus on their physical health in sobriety, so sharing that with the one you love can be a fun (and fitness-focused) way to spend a day.

5. Embrace Nature or Hit the Road

You don’t have to go far to feel like you’re on vacation. Do some research into parks, wildlife preserves, or beaches in your immediate area. There’s a good chance there are some hidden gems near you that you never knew about. Plan a day trip to a place you’ve never been and pack a picnic. Pick your partner’s brain to see if there’s a place in your state they’ve always wanted to visit but never have. The important thing is to get out of town to soak up some fresh air and sunshine.

To spark romance, all you have to do is listen to your partner and be willing to get out of your comfort zone. There are many activities you can do together that are fun, memorable, and can help you build a stronger connection.

Nicholas Matthews founder of Stillwater Behavioral Health

As seen on KMVT-CBS in Idaho, KSBY 6 in California, and Pharmacy Times, Nicholas Mathews is a founder of Stillwater Behavioral Health, a Dual Diagnosis treatment facility that personalizes care to help those struggling to recover from substance addiction and mental health disorders. Mathews abused opioids at a young age before becoming a heroin addict at age 16. It was only when he developed a life-threatening liver condition that he realized he needed to get clean. After succeeding, he dedicated his life to guiding others into sobriety, becoming a consultant for various treatment facilities. This work made him determined to fix deficiencies in clinical care and boost the overall effectiveness of treatment programs. That’s when Stillwater was born. He intends to grow the facility to help even more people regardless of their socioeconomic background. He currently studies at Harvard Business School online.

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