Drinking and Dating... Advice Needed!

Old 02-24-2010, 07:22 AM
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Drinking and Dating... Advice Needed!

Hi all... I'm on the verge of kicking alcohol out of my life for good. I am in SMART Recovery, attending f2f meetings every week, getting good support there and feel I've found what I need to kick this in the long run.

I can totally see why I need to stop drinking. I had a stretch of 7 sober days last week and never felt better. Although I screwed up and drank on Friday night last weekend, I'm back on the sober track and feel even stronger this time around. The SMART meetings and people are helping me learn from my mistakes and how to make them "teachable moments."

Here's my problem. I can see why I need to stop drinking while alone (that was just self-abuse, really) and even in social situations I can see why not drinking socially is a better option for me. What I am having trouble with is the idea of DATING and not drinking. I am a 45 year old divorced Mom of 3 and have started dating again. For me, dating and alcohol have always gone hand in hand. It just has always made it easier for me to loosen up and let go of my inhibitions with a couple of drinks in me.

I have someone coming to visit me from out of town this weekend. We have never met (or when we did meet we were kids in the same hometown on the swim team together). I like him a lot and he seems to like me a lot, so we arranged this weekend together. HE DOES NOT DRINK. He used to drink, but told me that he stopped because he "had to." I think he has not had any alcohol in about 2 years or more. He seems very happy to have alcohol out of his life.

I am thinking this is the perfect opportunity to try "not drinking" in a dating situation. But I'm terrified of that prospect. I'm worried I will never be able to relax with him without a glass of wine. If I do drink this weekend, I think I'm setting myself up for having to quit later down the road if we continue to see each other. I have told him that I am trying to quit, in the process of quitting, and he is completely supportive and accepting that I have this problem. In fact, he probably understands better than most what I'm going through.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking here ... maybe just moral support and advice? Can anyone share experiences that might be helpful? Can it still be romantic without wine in the picture? I know the right thing to do is to start off the relationship on the right foot, but I'm quite nervous about it.


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Old 02-24-2010, 07:36 AM
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I do find that I am less relaxed in social situations since I stopped drinking.

I accept that and I am okay with it.

It's a small price to pay for the many positives that recovery has brought to me.

I hope your re-connection with your friend goes well!
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for a great topic Laura. Not much advice here, as I am kinda in the same boat as you on this one, though I've yet to really start dating again!! Been 5 years and still sitting on the fence!!! But someday, it will come up. The only thing I can suggest is to use some of your SMART tools like a CBA. Look at both the pros and cons of drinking while dating, be honest, and see how it stacks up. Good luck, take care.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:58 AM
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I was actually thinking about it recently. I too, cannot/ couldn't imagine myself in almost any social situation without a drink in my hand. Therefore, almost every social situation that I've been in the past few years ended up with me getting drunk or at least seriously tipsy. Now I can see, that people that I call my friends or back than my partners didn't really know the real me, all they knew is me through the prism of alcohol. When I will start dating again, I want to find someone for life, someone who will love this a little bit more 'boring', but sober me.

That's why I wish you to gather the courage to have this date without any alcohol. Especially if the man that you're seeing is aware of your problem & is supportive of that. Don't waste this great opportunity to start sober dating.

Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:01 AM
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I needed to put myself in that position of awkwardness 3 or 4 times until it became natural and my mind was used to not drinking. If you can relax and not drink around the other sex you can give off the impression that you can handle the situation without alcohol to relax you.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by traderjane View Post
...I can see why not drinking socially is a better option for me.
I can also see why not drinking socially is a better option for me. But for me, it's not about options or making lifestyle choices or feeling better or even about a better life for myself.

It's about life and death. Nobody believes that, and maybe I didn't believe it either when I got sober. But the facts for me are that I'm an alcoholic. I can not control my drinking. My own experience tells me that any attempts at control (drinking in certain situations only) will wind up with me drunk 24/7. Not just a turn of phrase, but literally unable to take a sober breath.

For an alcoholic like me, the idea that I could drink sometimes or in certain situations is indicative of an alcoholic mind. That alcoholic mind will always find a justification for drinking.

It comes down to this question. Are you an alcoholic?

I find it interesting that you made a decision to not drink, and yet you still drank. Was that control of your drinking? And now you are trying to find some rationalization that will let you continue to drink.

I don't know if you're an alcoholic or not, but that is some classic alkie thinking.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:09 AM
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How about this, when you two hook up and there's a spark, just ask him about what's going on with him. Hopefully, he'll care to share and let you into what's been going on with him. If, he's really interested in you, he'll do the same.

Always good to find someone that doesn't have to have a drink to have a good time. I've had many great experiences I'd of missed out on by drinking.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:12 AM
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Yeah im with Keith on this one, im an alcoholic and i dont want to go back to that living hell, i also dont want to go back to feeling anxious all the time, terribly uncomfortable in social situations etc which turns out, for me, was a cause of the alcohol and i thought the stuff was helping me! Only a fair amount of time away from it and whole load of work on myself has allowed me to see this...if i could drink now i wouldn't drink if i was going on a date because i know i wouldn't enjoy it as much as if i was sober...i prefer to feel whats actually happening now and i hope you find the same soon...

And yeah it is life or death for me too...i can't do another amount of time with that insanity, its just not worth it at any price!
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:16 AM
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Keep it light and fun, make sure you smile alot and remember you are there to learn about the other person and share ideas you can do it without alcohol.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:32 AM
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Jane from what you have said, it seems as though both of you have a great common ground to break the ice without drinking!

That topic is recovery!!!

If he has 2 years sober & you are seeking long term recovery you may have a great deal to gain from him.

Obviously if he has had a drinking problem & is now 2 years clean he will not be overly thrilled if you drink.

If you really would like to hit it off with him, perhaps the best way to get the ball rolling is to simply tell the truth, (It does set you free) tell him that you are very new to recovery and are nervous about dating without drinking.

Guess what? He has been where you are at now..... dating without drinking!
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:35 AM
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My two cents..... You will never be truly free from alcohol until you let go of alcohol absolutely and quit relying on it as a crutch. Just make alcohol "not an option." I think you may be pleasantly surprised how much fun it is to feel emotion without it being clouded by alcohol. Maybe just try it? Perfect chance to do it since he doesn't drink. There shouldn't be any pressure. Just my thoughts.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:48 AM
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Trader, I don't know how much dating this guy has done in his two years without alcohol. Some people take it slow, so they can take the time to work on themselves internally. In all likelihood, he is probably very excited about the weekend visit in his own way, and probably nervous in a good way (not necessarily worried about relapses).

If you are sticking with your decision not to drink, and you are meeting at your house, then don't have any alcohol in the house. If you are meeting somewhere, then don't order any alcohol. Give yourself a chance. If you like him, smile into his eyes and enjoy it! I hope you will be comfortable and have a nice time.

Then after the meeting, give yourself a chance not to drink for another week and look at your thoughts about how things went in the last 2 weeks. I can't guarantee it, but you will probably have lots of things to say about how things feel different.

Hope it all works out for the best.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:35 AM
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You have already told him that you are trying to quit and you know he is now a non drinker.
I would think that for him to see you with a drink may lower his opinion of you and be inappropriate considering he is in recovery himself.
Just be yourself and you will be fine. He is probably looking for someone that is sober too.
Good luck.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:12 AM
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If he's quit drinking chances are you have an excellent opportunity to let your feelings out up front, tell him more or less exactly what you've told us, and he'll understand completely where you are in your sobriety and be supportive. Based on what he said ("had to quit") I'd say he's somewhere in recovery himself.

Being nervous on a date is normal. He'll be nervous too. Have a good laugh about it up front.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:15 AM
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Why not just come out and tell him that you'll feel awkward and nervous doing this "social" without alcohol? I bet he'd be totally understanding. I think everyone goes through this when being sober. We've used alcohol as a crutch to get through everything and taking that crutch away is unsettling for sure!! hee hee........

I have had to lean on my friends when in this position and they have totally helped me out in that capacity. I'm 40 years old so I'm right behind you. I'm great at socializing today with 2 1/2 years (just about!! ) of sobriety, but I can tell you that I was definitely nerve wracked in several situations without a drink in hand.

Good luck Girl!!! I hope your date is a fun one!!
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:52 AM
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I just thought of something. If you DID drink this weekend, wouldn't you feel kind of silly? You have told him you are trying to quit, and he doesn't drink himself. Wouldn't it portray you as being weak-willed or admitting openly you have a problem with alcohol? I would think that you wouldn't want that to be your first impression with him?
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:52 PM
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Lots of great advice here. You already know we can't drink part time. It doesn't work like that.

Think back to all the bad things that have happened even since you joined us. You open the door to all that, and more, every time you drink.

In the end the only way you'll ever get to feel comfortable not drinking is by not drinking and giving it a go.

You don't need the crutch Laura - you just gotta do some tentative walking on your own

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Old 02-24-2010, 01:11 PM
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Hi, alot of great advice here.

As I am still newly sober once more (4 months)...I have made a decision to put my sobriety first, above everything. If I am going to be in a situation that will tempt me to drink, I have two options.

1. Do everything I can to be sure that mentally,spiritually, and physically I won't give into the temptation to drink.

2. If there is even a shadow of doubt that I may be tempted to drink, I bow out of the matter what.

For me it is putting first things first...I must remain sober.

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Old 02-24-2010, 01:19 PM
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Wow Laura I think this sounds like a gift...that there is a person who you know from being a kid on a swim team...who remembers you - the old you before alcohol entered your life - and he himself doesn't take alcohol anymore! I am envious. I so much yearn for a partner who will take me as I am, good with bad, help me be the best I can be. No empty wine bottles littering the house, with the fights that go with them or the regrets of things said...!

You have a great gift here with your new, old sober friend. Enjoy! And

Big hug from
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:27 PM
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Hi Jane;

first I'll admit that I've never been on a date without having a drink....I honestly don't know if I could do it at this point, this week, this month or in the coming weeks.

secondly, you know he's not drinking and you don't want to.....go to a really nice place and order your other favorite beverage, be it cappuchino, tea, etc....i am betting he will do the same, take a deep breath and just talk to the person, it might be......FUN. (gasp)!

one thing I've noticed in the last 9 days of sobriety is that I remember more details about everything, have better articulation and my vocabulary seems to have returned.
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