A few weeks ago, a writer for Glamour.com contacted me about an article she was working on—on sober dating. I was excited, but not surprised that sobriety is being discovered by women’s media. It was a fun project that produced a terrific article, which I encourage you to read: Eight Amazing Thing You Learn from Sober Dating by Helaina Hovitz.
Here are the high points:
- There are a ton of alternatives to grabbing drinks. Bring your creativity into play to find places conducive for getting to know someone. Search out juice bars with evening hours, a nearby park, a fun hike, an art exhibit or an ice cream shoppe—each can be a place to relax and be curious about the person you are with. The point of a date is getting to know someone, isn’t it? Ruby realized.
But you don’t have to feel you need to avoid alcohol at all costs. If you are comfortable being around alcohol, try ordering a mocktail, which is becoming increasingly trendy in many high-end bars, or even seltzer and lime. This will give you an opportunity to see how comfortable your date is with your choice of no alcohol.
- You’ll waste less time on dates that aren’t going anywhere. Being sober changes many relationships, including intimate relationships. You may find you have less patience for dating those who want you to continue to party with them or those who can’t relax without drinking. You may find yourself thinking things like, I can’t believe I thought this was fun, This is so boring or What did I ever see in him? You may also find, as Esme did, that once she got sober, the man she had been with who continued to drink just didn’t taste or smell right.
- You’ll have fewer face-palm moments the morning after. Carolyn got tired of waking up in the morning and having no memory of what had happened the night before. In fact, I got really tired of not even remembering some of these guys’ names. I realized that I deserved better. Not remembering what happened when you are drinking is called blacking out. A blackout is when the part of your brain that stores recent memory doesn’t work well, and it’s scary. It’s also a serious problem. Consider if you want to live your life without remembering it.
- When it comes to sex, you’ll be confident in a real way. For some women, an underlying driver of destructive drinking is their girly thoughts. Getting sober helped Ava understand that part of why she was drinking too heavily was her shame of her body. If she was drunk enough she wouldn’t worry if he saw less-than-perfect buttock or too-large breasts. I stopped listening to my body-shaming girly thoughts! So instead of drinking to try to quiet those girly thoughts, try telling them to get lost, and share them with your girlfriends so you can laugh at them together.
- You’ll know whether you’re actually ready to sleep with someone. Many times women have sex because they want to be nice, they want to be wanted, they want to make him happy—all girly thoughts. After being sexually intimate to please someone else, Charlotte realized I wasn’t sexually satisfied, and part of this was because I had never asked myself if I wanted to be with him. He wanted to be with me, and I thought that was enough, but it wasn’t. Not drinking will help you understand if you want a relationship with someone instead of waking up in a relationship with him. It will also help you begin to understand what you want in general and when you are ready to act on what you want in many aspects of your life. Yes, you can take time to figure this out. This is your life, and you deserve to live it the way you would like to.
- You’ll start recognizing what you actually want in bed. Sobriety turned into a fun journey for Enid. I began to understand myself in so many ways, including sexually. In the past there were certain sexual positions I would avoid out of shame. I didn’t want him to see my small breasts, my big bottom, my stretch marks, so I avoided doing some things that would have been pleasurable to me. Now that I’m sober and not drinking away my shaming girly thoughts, I’m more in touch with my body and my sexual needs. Being sober allows me be to be more confident in many areas of my life, including sexually. Begin to fantasize about what you would and would not like sexually.
- Your newfound honesty will make your connections deeper. Isn’t that what you really want? Meaningful connections are made by being honest about what you understand and what you accept about who you are and who the man you have chosen is. Sobriety makes this possible. Not only did I find this amazing man who gets me, but I get me, Elizabeth said with a smile. No more booze, no more blackouts, no more girly thoughts, I’m really liking the person I’m getting to know, finally!
Brief Bio: Patricia O’Gorman, PhD, is a speaker and an internationally recognized psychologist in private practice in upstate New York. She is noted for her work with women, children of alcoholics, families, trauma, mental health, substance abuse, and child welfare. She is the author of nine books, including The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power and The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power. She is a regular blogger at The Powerful Woman.net and Counselor Magazine.com. Learn more at www.patriciaogorman.com.
Patricia A. O'Gorman, Ph.D., is a psychologist in private practice. She is noted for her work on women, trauma, and substance abuse and for her warm, inspiring, and amusing presentations that make complex issues accessible and even fun. She has served as a consultant to organizations across the country in preventative and clinical strategic planning. Dr. O'Gorman is a cofounder of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, and she has held positions ranging from director of a rape crisis center to clinical director of a child welfare agency, and director of the division of prevention for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). She is a veteran of numerous television appearances, including Good Morning America, Today, and AM Sunday and is the author of eight books including: The Girly Thoughts 10 Day Detox Plan (2014), The Resilient Woman: Mastering the 7 Steps to Personal Power (2013), and Healing Trauma Through Self-Parenting (2012) 12 Steps to Self-Parenting.