I am just two months off my Five Year Soberversary!
Shut up. It is such a word!
Yep. Five whole years since an alcoholic beverage has passed these lips.
Five whole years since I've been pissed, hammered, wasted, blotto, tipsy, sloshed, caned, wankered, drunk, inebriated, shit-faced, plastered. Amazing!
Five whole years since I've been hung over, seedy... can't think of any other words for hung over but I am so glad that horrible feeling you get after a night on the booze has not been experienced by my brain and body for nearly half a decade! Awesome!
And you know what? I don't miss it one little bit.
Except when I'm on a date and then I miss it just a little bit.
When I decided to get back 'out there' again about 18 months ago it was the scariest thing in the world. Fresh from my metamorphosis from party girl living the high life to sole parent living the quiet life, making the decision to start dating again was a big one.
Despite my fears, I was psyched by the new person I had become so put my profile up on a singles matchmaking website and started the process that is Internet dating.
I filled out my details, chucked a few decent looking pictures up and ticked all the boxes of what I required in a potential partner.
The two factors I worried about most with my profile were:
1. I have a kid
2. I don't drink.
Neither are negotiable for me and they can be deal breakers for others.
Before I gave up drinking I did the online dating thing a few times. The night always started with me knocking back a couple of beers for some liquid courage before I turned up to meet the guy. I'd still be nervous as hell when I arrived and so continued to drink throughout the night and if the guy hung around long enough I probably ended up pretty pissed by the time the date was over. Not really a great look when I think back to it.
Now, it is a totally different story. After several sober dates I can now give you the...
The Definitive Guide to Dating Sober
1. Make it clear from the beginning that you don't drink alcohol. Put it on your profile. I also mention it during the initial email contact phase because, like I said earlier, it can be a deal breaker for some so it should be made clear.
2. Whether you are just taking a break from the booze because you've signed up to febfast (which you should do by the way!) or you are in recovery, there's no need to mention on the first date exactly why you don't drink. That's your business.
3. Dress your best (appropriate to the time of day and venue), look in the mirror and remind yourself how good you feel and how confident you are now that you don't drink. You are a brave, strong, confident person who doesn't need alcohol to make you feel good about yourself.
4. If you really don't want to make an issue out of being teetotal organise your first date to meet for a coffee instead of a "drink". Subsequent dates could be meeting for lunch in the park or checking out a new exhibition at a gallery. There are plenty of non-alcoholic activities to choose from.
5. Turn up with a smile and, if you're meeting at a bar or restaurant, order a non-alcoholic beverage. Easy.
6. During the date, remind yourself you are being your authentic self. There's no false confidence brought on by alcohol. If you like him (or her) and he/she is enjoying your company by the time you get to dessert, you're doing really well because they like you for who you really are.
7. If you like the person you are on a date with be flirtatious but don't go overboard like you might have when tipsy. Show restraint. Be a lady (or gentleman).
8. Don't go on about not drinking. Don't be a wowser and carry on about how much better life is without alcohol. Don't act superior about it.
9. In moderation, a glass of wine is fine, so don't be judgemental if your date has a glass or two. That's their business.
10. If you are just on a short term break from grog don't carry on about how much you miss it. That is just boring and annoying. It also makes you sound kinda desperate and like you may have a problem.
11. The trickiest part to dating when sober is at the end when you're saying farewell: the kiss, should the sparks have flown. On a first date it is likely to be a chaste peck on the cheek or maybe even a quick one on the lips (in my experience anyway). Maybe it is just me, but I find this moment of intimacy extremely embarrassing without the social lubrication that is booze. It is the one moment in life that I miss alcohol. I can't give much advice on how to cut through that.
12. Enjoy yourself! When it is all over go to bed knowing that you've had a great time, you've met a nice person and you're going to wake up in the morning without regrets and without a hangover.
Have you been on a sober date? Can you give me any advice on how to do romance sober without behaving like a giggling school girl?
I should say I'm not necessarily the best person to give dating advice. Eighteen months in and I'm still single. But, while I may not be in a committed relationship (yet) I have had some great nights out and met some really lovely people (and some not so lovely) and I've done it all while sober.
I have definitely had more success dating sober than I did dating drunk so I can't recommend it enough.
Good luck to all the febfasters giving up alcohol for just 28 days! I'm going to be joining you but I'll be giving up sugar instead. It would be cheating if I asked people to sponsor me to give up grog. Pfft! Too easy!
If you haven't signed up - just do it!
As an official blogger I'm proud to support febfast in 2013, a challenge and a tonic for all drinkers, to see if you can take a break from alcohol for 28 days this February.
After the celebrations of Christmas, summer holidays and the Australia Day long weekend, febfast is a great opportunity for people to take stock and put a focus on health in the New Year while at the same time raising some money for a worthy cause.
febfast is aiming to raise $1m to help vulnerable families and teenagers tackle serious alcohol and drug issues. Let’s band together and make a change—not only in our own lives and for our own health—but also for those who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
Check out the febfast website here.
Disclaimer: I am working with febfast as an official blogger. I am not receiving any payment for any posts I might publish about febfast. I am participating because addiction is an issue I deal with every day and my sobriety is something I love and encourage any person to give it a go, even for just 28 days.
**Thanks go to my brother in law who let me use his manly arm in the photo.**