How to Date After You Quit Drinking
You may have quit drinking because of an alcohol problem, health reasons, or simply because you wanted to stop. No matter the reason, if you are single it may seem challenging to get back into the dating world, especially if you always used to equate dating with drinking. Going out for a drink is socially acceptable and a common way to get to know someone you may potentially end up dating. So how can you politely sidestep this offer and prevent a relapse? There are a number of options.
It is important to have your feet firmly planted in recovery before you start dating or a new relationship. Love, especially new love, is notorious for derailing sobriety and causing a relapse. It is generally recommended that a person refrains from dating for their first full year of sobriety. The reason behind this is that you are getting to know yourself on a new level, as a sober person. The goal should be putting your life back together and immersing yourself in your own well-being. New relationships can take away from that focus.
When You Quit Drinking, Honesty is the Best Policy
Considering you are being asked out by someone who might potentially be a future boyfriend or girlfriend, the best thing you can do is be honest. After all, if you aren’t honest off the bat, you are setting yourself up for one of two things: A failed relationship and/or a relapse. Neither of those is good options for the future, so don’t set yourself up for either.
Have a plan for what you will tell a person that asks you out about not drinking. It is up to you how much you feel comfortable sharing. If you quit drinking because of past alcohol abuse, you don’t necessarily have to lead off with what a terrible drunk you were. Instead, come up with an eloquent way of saying that drinking just isn’t for you.
Remember, your past is nothing to be ashamed of, especially if you are in recovery. If anything, it made you a stronger person. If a person wants to be a part of your future, they should be accepting of your past, no matter what. It is essential for you to be firm so that they know that your sobriety is non-negotiable and not just a phase. If they have that belief, there’s a high chance that they will lead you to relapse, even if they have good intentions.
Dating Without Drinking Gives You a Much Clearer Picture
Going on a first date can be nerve-wracking enough, but now you have to go through it completely sober. This is intimidating, but you can also look at it as a challenge to find a person who you truly get along with on a deep level, and not just a drinking buddy. If a person is taken aback by your decision not to drink, they may be facing a problem of their own. These kinds of people are often intimidated by nondrinkers because they cannot comprehend that level of self-control.
Kicking the habit of drinking should give you plenty of extra confidence; so let that shine through on your date. Without the aid of alcohol, you are 100% yourself and in control. You’ll avoid any potentially embarrassing morning-after stories, and more than likely you’ll avoid one night stands fueled by alcohol. Considering the guilt tied to alcohol, the morning after your date, you’ll be able to wake up knowing your decisions from the night before were honestly yours.
Come Up With Unique Date Ideas
Dating doesn’t need to be exclusive to a bar or restaurant. There are a plethora of sober activities you can do with a date to avoid being tempted by alcohol whatsoever. Some examples include:
- Visiting the beach or a local park, depending on where you live.
- Mini golf
- Going to a movie
- If you have dogs – take them for a walk
- Go to a museum
- Visit a local historic site
Not in the mood to be creative? Meeting up for coffee or ice cream is always a fun and innocent date idea.
Dating After Quitting Drinking Requires Self-Acceptance
Let’s face it. Many people drink on dates and during other social activities to make themselves feel more socially accepted. This can often backfire and cross into the territory of embarrassingly drunk very fast.
Dating sober requires self-respect, complete acceptance of yourself and your decisions, and the desire to keep yourself out of alcohol’s harmful ways. If the person you are with cannot accept that and continues to push you towards drinking, chances are that they are not the right person for you.