For the Love of Sober Dating
I'm not sure what I expected when I started dating again after taking the first year of sobriety off....but.....
Let's just say I learned very quickly to not have expectations.
So, there is this "rule" in recovery that you don't date your first year in sobriety. This rule seems to really bother some people, but I was okay with it. I was a mess. I was fine not dating. I have never been one of those girls that went from boyfriend to boyfriend. So, no biggie. I like alone time. I thought I'd take the time to work on me, and that is exactly what I did.
Oh, but don't you worry. A little after it had been a year, I was introduced to the dating app "Tinder." Oh, Tinder. It's probably the most superficial dating site around. It is solely based on pictures...nothing else. It does tell you if you have any mutual friends or common interests via your facebook page, but let's be honest. Do I really care if he likes The Colbert Report? Not really.
Well, Tinder started a slew of "first date/last date." It was exhausting.
I quickly learned that 1. I do not like dating. 2. I like a lot less people sans alcohol and 3. not drinking is a deal breaker for a lot of people.
I feel like I should start with a disclaimer that I have met and gone on dates with a couple great guys who this post does not apply to. With that being said...
Oh, for the love of sober dating.
I am completely up front with guys about not drinking. Ideally, it comes up before we actually meet or go out on a date, but if not, I make no qualms about telling said guy that I am a recovering alcoholic as soon as the wine list comes and it's time to order a drink. Awkward? Not for me. At this point, it's like a script. Awkward for him? Probably. Too much? Maybe. But honestly, it is what it is. I am 100% confident that any guy that is worth my time won't care at all. And if I am being honest...it's a great way to weed guys out if it's going to be a waste of my time. And it does.
Luckily, it doesn't bother me to be around drinking...within reason. So, I don't mind at all if a guy orders a drink on a date. But, I have had guys get wasted. I mean, down right sloppy. For some reason guys love to get drunk once I tell them I'm sober. It's odd. I don't know if they are drinking for the both of us or if they are just that uncomfortable...or if this has always been the case and I was just as drunk as them and didn't realize it.
The first guy I went out with in sobriety, I had dated in college, but we hadn't seen each other since then and he lived in Boston so he knew very little about anything in my life. I told him about rehab, being sober...blah blah blah. He seemed totally cool with it. Well, he proceeded to get wasted on shots of tequila. At 9:30pm he can barely form a complete sentence...he could however piece together "let's bang" over and over and over...and over. We walk outside to my car and I realize he has stopped behind me. Yeah...he was peeing...in the middle of the street. So, being the responsible sober person I try to be these days, I told him I would drive him home. After he misdirects me all over the city of Boston (oh, yeah...I was visiting friends in Boston)...still trying to get me to take him to where I was staying to "bang." We come to a dead-end street in Southie. I was so annoyed. He realizes we are lost and asks where we are going. Now, remember...I am following his directions because I have no clue as to where he lives. I proceed to tell him I am trying to take him to his house. At this point he says "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, We can't go to my house. My fiance is home. Let's bang."
I haven't talked to him since.
Now, this was probably my most extreme dating experience. But, heck, who am I to judge? When I got back to my room that night, I thought...hmmmm, I think I just met Karma. What a funny bitch. I was that girl for years. I've probably done the exact same thing to some poor guy (or ten). And I wondered why guys never called me back. And if they did call me back...I wondered even more. They must clearly be a masochist.
I don't judge anyone for not wanting to date someone in recovery. I get it. If alcohol is that important to someone, I probably don't have that much in common with that person anyway. Alcohol is a huge part of today's society. Alcohol was the number one thing I had in common with a lot of guys I dated in the past. I dated guys who let me drink like I wanted to. Remove alcohol and there wasn't much there.
Every once in a while someone surprises me and reminds me that not all guys want to get drunk and bang. I mean, maybe they do...but I've met some pretty decent guys who really go out of their way to come up with fun alternatives to drinking.
I don't get too wrapped up in the process. I've liked guys who haven't liked me back...and vice versa. That's life. I don't try to force that anymore. I guess I'd call that spiritual growth. Let go...Let God, kind of thing.
A friend of mine in the program once said that she says a little prayer at the beginning of a date. So, I have adopted this as well. Her prayer is a little more eloquent in nature. Mine goes something like this...Hey Buddy, can you please remove this guy from my life if he's not good for me. Make this as painless as possible. Thanks.
Sure, I have taken God hostage a time or two...put duct tape over his mouth and put Him in the trunk and taken the drivers seat on the bus. But friends, this never turns out good for anyone involved. Removing the duct tape and letting Him back in the driver seat is always a relief. My life is none of my business.
So for the most part, this is working out quite nicely. And with the absence of alcohol, my judgement isn't impaired. So, I am pretty aware if there is a real connection. And if there isn't, then it doesn't get messy by dragging it out any further. Today, I appreciate people in general...their story. I used to look at each date like a failure if I didn't immediately fall in love with the person. Yeah, I know...crazy. But today, I appreciate the process. Some people come in to my life for a date...some for a few dates and some have become really good friends. And, that's okay. In fact, I think it's pretty awesome. God has gotten me this far...I don't think He's going to fail me on something like a guy.