Valentine’s Day has come and gone. If you’re still brooding over your singleness, maybe it’s time to rethink not just who you’re dating but how you’re doing it. Not interested in getting into a relationship with someone who has a drug or alcohol problem? Then why do you jump at the chance to go to the next happy hour, just because the guy or gal asking is hot? Ever hear of mixed messaging?
I’m not pointing my finger at you (unless you take it that way), I’m guilty of this too. So, what’s the secret to better dating? It’s all in the approach. No, no offerings of clever one-liners here just some eye-rolling truth. It starts with saying what you mean and meaning what you say and nothing spells it out like date night. Let’s walk through the hypocrisies and have some fun with it. Once read, it’s a no-brainer (pun intended) as to why singles should date sober to meet the right guy (or gal).
February Is the Best Month to Give Sober Dating a Try
Now that Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s and every other excuse out there has passed, many people take this time of year to get clean or sober up. It may not be a full-blown abstinence crusade but it’s generally a time to take the overindulgence down a few notches. That’s a good thing.
Whether you’ve met someone online or have been eyeing that cutie in the office next door, the dating process isn’t about showing up as the person who want to be or should be – it’s about being your authentic self. Alcohol or drug intake wouldn’t do anything but put a dark veil over that.
Sure, you might think you’re more fun and gregarious after a couple of cocktails. Maybe your friends have told you that. Likely an accurate perception as they are just as liquored up. Ask a sober person what it’s like to be around over-the-top shi*-faced peeps and no doubt you’ll get a different story. Inhibitions go by the way side. Once the buzz kicks in, you’ll say things you shouldn’t say, do things you wouldn’t normally do and make decisions that you will regret later, that is if you remember them. You won’t. But a sober person will.
Would You Have Slept with Those People Had You Been Sober?
Think back on everyone you’ve had sex with. Now… think back on how many of those interludes were wrapped around alcohol or drugs? One more question… is it the only way you have sex… when you’re loaded? If so, you don’t really know who you’re having sex with and they certainly don’t really know who you are. If neither of you care then your actions define hook up. If all you want is a baby daddy or baby momma then continue on. However, if you want to find a more emotionally meaningful relationship, let sobriety lead the adventure.
There’s a Difference Between Numb and Feeling
When searching for a partner in life, it’s important that you know what you’re looking for because if you don’t know, it makes the needle-in-the-haystack of dating even more of a crap shoot than it already is.
If you want to boost your chances of success in finding the right one, then you have to get right with yourself. It isn’t lurking at the corner pub during happy hour or hiding under the table at the club in Scottsdale with the best bottle service in town. The best chance you’ll ever have at finding someone who you’re compatible with is to be compatible. It happens, more often, when you’re sober.
Dating Sober Can Be Scary
Many of us get the pre-date jitters. Anxiety can creep in just thinking about meeting a stranger (that’s what it is in the beginning). We worry about how we look, what we say, where we should go and how long to stay there. Will we be liked? Is this a waste of time? Maybe I should have just one glass of wine to take the edge off…. Stop! All the fears that pop up about dating have to do with feelings. Embrace them. They are your built-in tools to figure out whether this one’s a keeper or it’s on to the next.
How we feel plays an important part in how we assess ourselves and potential partners. The moment you add a glass of wine, a pint of beer or a hit of weed, you become numb to real feeling. In a sense, there is a block on the natural chemistry between you two. With it, this first social encounter is starting off with a falsehood and a pretense that it’s all good. It isn’t. All that’s happened is a delay in the truth.
Buzzed Dating Sets the Stage for Long-term Expectations
Ever tried to stop partying with your boyfriend or girlfriend after there’s an established pattern of drinking or lighting up? Yeah, it usually doesn’t go over very well. The request for a shift in what was acceptable behavior before can put a damper on the relationship. Let me reclarify this.
During your first date and some subsequent dates with the same person, alcohol or drug use may have been part of the fun experienced together. Never was there a time when you voiced concern or ambivalence about it, until now. Without alcohol or drug use, you will be different. As such, the relationship will be different.
Serial Daters Are Artful at Living a Double Life
Unless you’re being set up by a friend, family member or coworkers (and there’s still no guarantee), dating has some serious risks. Not everyone is as well-intended as you. Serial daters and con artists use the dating platform to lure lonely hearts in through manipulation and deception. They tell you what you want to hear. They become the person they believe you desire. For what? Money, a place to stay, another option in a string of other options (married already)? When you spend time with people you don’t know, it’s imperative for your safety that you keep your wits about you. Otherwise, you’ll never notice the red flags flying displaying “Run, Faster, Now!
Avoid the Headache (And Hangover) Just Date Sober from the Start
Sober dating is a makeshift opportunity to figure out who you are and what you’re made of. It helps you learn to set healthy boundaries and appreciate the good in yourself and others. And as you go through the maze of love life suitors, try not to stress about the ones that didn’t work out. It’s a process, like sobriety, where you’ll be better for it.
Get Started on a Sober Relationship
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 1-888-NODRUGS
Authored by Melanie Stern, Content Director for Scottsdale Recovery Center, Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers and Cohn Media, LLC. Writer and broadcaster covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best.