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A website navigates the date

March 8, 2017
by Gary A. Enos, Editor
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Mike Reed

A dead end along a journey to finding a non-using roommate ended up working to Mike Reed's benefit, and to that of more than 1,500 recovering people seeking a sober soulmate.

I was dealing with a roommate situation. I couldn't find a roommate who was honest about their substance use,” says Reed, now 37. His search for a sober roommate got him to thinking also about whether there were any dating sites tailored to individuals in recovery. Discovering that the domain name for “Single and Sober” was for sale, Reed pounced.

“It's not as complex a site as Match.com, but it gets the job done,” Reed says of the site that has had a national reach since mid-2016 and became a paid membership site last October. “These are really people in recovery, so people who use the site and meet don't have to worry about those initial awkward moments” around alcohol and dating.

Better roommate experience

Ironically, a more positive outcome with roommates earlier in his life helped Reed to find sobriety. He says he had jumped in with the drinking crowd in his teens, and later served in the Navy for five years before moving to Flagstaff, Ariz., mainly “to party.” The tipping point for him occurred when his roommates intervened and said he'd have to move out if he continued to use.

“I beat my addiction problems pretty much on my own,” says Reed, who works in industrial sales. He can't say for sure at this point whether Single and Sober could become his main vocation someday.

He sees Single and Sober as an opportunity to revitalize the market, likely appealing to a slightly older demographic (35 to 55) that isn't chained to a smartphone. “I kind of missed the whole app thing,” Reed says.

A friend on the East Coast with whom Reed used to play music designed the website, and Reed has paid for some site content that helps users navigate important details such as writing a personal profile. That article advises, “Short and sweet is the mantra here. People don't have time to read a novel about your life,” and “Stay positive. Nothing is more of a turnoff than negativity and pessimism on a sober dating site.”

Reed says the number of postings so far has been fairly evenly split between the sexes. Many use the “About Me” section to cite how long they have been in recovery. Reed adds that he has had to delete some profiles in cases where the individual clearly is not living a sober lifestyle.

Reed says he tried online dating in his early sobriety, but didn't pursue it seriously (he is now in a two-year relationship). He believes people in early recovery should avoid dating for a while, but no specific time parameters are enforced on Single and Sober.

“Our goal is to provide an introduction platform where anyone who is sober and looking for a connection can visit and feel welcome and free to connect with like-minded individuals,” Reed wrote in a blog post that introduced the site. He'll be pleased when he can add to the site some testimonials from couples who have found love—Single and Sober awaits its first confirmed match.