On Friday, I posted a date idea to Instagram that didn't center around drinking. Booze free dates aren't really the norm and as a sober person, it can be tough. After I posted it, I wanted to talk more about my experience of dating while sober.
I've written this before but it took me five solid years to get sober. Within those five years, I went through phases where "I wasn't really drinking" and wanted to only have one glass of whatever on very rare occasions. I did pretty well for the most part but, when I went out on a date, I would always end up having two or three cocktails. I felt pressure to drink. It wasn't from the guy directly either, it was more from society and our drinking culture as a whole. I also think going on a date with a complete stranger feels super weird and uncomfortable and a glass of prosecco helped the evening feel less scary and more fun. It's also the norm. Everyone goes out, has a couple of drinks to get loose and feels like they can be more open. It felt like that was the expectation of me- drink, be fun!, be chill. When I was trying to get sober, I felt like if I din't drink than I wouldn't be able to meet a guy. My thought was, who is going to want to date a sober chick?
Here's what is wrong with the above-- drinking does "loosen" people up but, it also prevents you from really looking at the reasons why one is uncomfortable and not able to open without alcohol in the first place. For example, I don't like online dating, it's not for me. I pushed myself into it for years because I thought I had to do it to meet someone. I was actually told by a man I respected (at the time) that if I didn't online date I would end up alone. I listened to his fearful rhetoric and took it to heart. I also felt uncomfortable with myself, had low self esteem and very little self worth. Drinking on dates helped me push those qualities down and put on fake confidence. The fear of not being lovable because I didn't drink is a common fear I hear among women. It may not be drinking but basically the fear is, "I won't be loved for myself. Therefore, I must change and conform to what someone else wants to be loved." NO. NO. NO. Some dude may not want to date me because I'm sober and do you know what I say? Good. He wasn't my dude. What I've come to realize through getting sober is the ones who don't want us for doing something that feels good to us or for being exactly who we are, aren't the ones we want anyway. It clears the field for us to start to attract in the kind of person who celebrates us and our choices. We NEVER have to change ourselves to find love. We are worthy and whole just as we are right now.
After I made that distinction, got sober and celebrated my brave choice, dating this way became easier. We all have to choose our choices and feel confident in them because it's our life. No one else's. When I wasn't committed to my choice to be sober and was wavering in it myself, I was VERY nervous to bring it up to any potential date. Once I made a firm commitment to myself, I had no problem telling someone I was sober and I would throw it out casually in the beginning because I didn't want to only go out for drinks and wanted them to know why. If they didn't like it, cool! They clearly weren't the guy for me. And, I haven't had anyone respond negatively to my non drinking ways. Usually men are interested and want to know why and it's a fact about me they like. It really hasn't been an issue. Getting sober also changed the type of man I was looking to call in. I had previously always been attracted to heavy drinkers (go figure) and now, I want someone who is sober or very close to it. I love being more in touch with that works for me and not following what I've been told works for others. Also, I am just as fun sober. Actually, I'm more fun because now my fun comes from a place of genuine confidence and love for who I am.
If you're looking to get sober and are nervous about how it will affect your dating life, know that it will in the best way possible. It will allow you to show up to dates with more awareness of yourself and therefore what you're looking for and see red flags. It will help clear the field of anyone who is threatened by sobriety and move them out of your path as to not waste your time. It will only deepen your experience and potentially allow you to see the ways you're still trying to hide the real you out of fear for not being loved.
If this is place you feel stuck in, I would love to help. I look forward to connecting over a session.