Finding Folks Worth Dating
You're sober, stable and on the prowl. Problem is, you have no clue where to meet potential love connections now that pub-crawling isn't an option. Where to find cuties who are cool with your new lifestyle? Try asking supportive friends whether they know any awesome, eligible bachelor/ettes who aren't big drinkers. Like attracts like. You can also try the ever-evolving world of sober online dating: not only can you search for non-drinkers on all the usual dating sites, there are also sober-only services like soberseek.com, sobersocial.com, recoveringmates.com, and soberkiss.com. If a date has difficulty grasping the fact that you don't drink, drop him and move on. There are too many options out there to waste time with someone who won't support your attempts to live your happiest life. Dog Parks On The Rise As Places For Singles To Meet
Coffee, Coffee, Coffee
You've been flirting online with Mr. SexyPants via SnookFinder.com for a week when he asks if you'd like to meet up. You say yes. He asks where. You freeze, cough, check your work email, Google your high school sweetheart again and put away the computer. Now take a deep breath and break that laptop back out. When someone who doesn't know you're alcohol-free asks where you'd like to go on a first date, it's best to suggest a quiet spot where alcohol isn't readily available. Meeting for coffee or tea is a great first date option; there's no lengthy dinner service to endure, so if s/he doesn't float your boat, you're free to bail post-latte.
What if Mr. HotBuns doesn't request your input about where to meet and instead asks, point-blank, "Want to meet for drinks on Thursday?" Now is the time to tell him you don't drink. Offer these three words: "I don't drink," followed by something you will do, i.e. "I don't drink, but I'd love to meet you for coffee on Thursday." Or, if you're cool with watching him imbibe, say that—"Sure, although I don't drink, but I don't mind watching you while I sip a Diet Coke." No need to explain further.
The Dinner Option
If you choose to meet McHottie for dinner, you'll probably have to handle the Weird Wine Hurdle. This occurs when the waiter asks whether you have any questions about the wine list, you say "no," your date orders a glass of something and then either the waiter or Yummy asks whether you'd like a glass too. What now?
My friend Kelly, a 33-year-old makeup artist and recovering alcoholic, suggests keeping it simple: "No, thank you—water [or whatever I'm drinking] is fine." Then, quick-like and before your date has time to notice, ask a question to steer the conversation to something more interesting than alcohol.
If you find that sipping on something other than water helps distract from first date awkwardness, nurse a Shirley Temple, Diet Coke or ginger ale. You'll feel like less of an oddball, and your probably date won't notice s/he's the only one getting buzzed. If s/he does notice—or if you feel uncomfortable with your date drinking around you—you have every right to cut the date short and walk away. One of the healthiest things you can do for yourself as a dry dater is learn how to leave when you're in an awkward situation. Remember, you don't have to stay anywhere, or with anyone, that makes you feel anxious. Your mental health comes first.