He was a gentleman – a professor at a local university. We met on a dating site.
As I got ready, I realized this was my first sober date.
I looked in the mirror and thought for a moment. Do I look too fat? Too thin? I wanted to down two shots of vodka and a Xanax, but I decided my sobriety was too important.
First Date Jitters
I noticed I was shaking as I put my stockings on. My first sober date. No one gave me a manual for this.
On the advice of others, I opted not to date in early sobriety. But even with a few years’ sobriety under my belt, being “back on the dating scene” and getting asked out still scared me. Would he kick me to the curb because my drink of choice was now seltzer with cranberry?
I walked in the restaurant and instantly recognized him from his picture. He was sitting at the bar, drinking whiskey. (Even during my drinking days I couldn’t drink whiskey. The smell of it makes me sick.)
We got a table; I ordered my seltzer with cranberry and a lime.
He didn’t bat an eye. Didn’t ask me a thing. I’d been so worried and so anxious about this first sober date. Maybe this dating thing wasn’t so scary after all.
He had one glass of wine throughout our entire meal. One. (I’d been in the habit of counting everyone’s drinks for years, so I counted.) He wasn’t even buzzed.
Learning From the Past
We liked each other, though I suspected we wouldn’t make a couple. I thought he was too brainy..I love smart guys, but this guy seemed to have no passion, no intuition.
I ate a crab cake and he never even asked why I wasn’t drinking. I’d been so scared. It was a Friday night and most people were getting their drink on, yet here we were, having a nice dinner without the intrusion of alcohol.
Dating and sex had been so tied up for me. It seemed like the only way I could let myself relax with a man was to drink…and way too much. Way too much.
I didn’t relax that night, at least not too much. I felt tied up in my head as I sipped my seltzer with a splash of cranberry and a lime. But when I got home, I took a bubble bath.
I could look at myself in the mirror the next morning, feeling the comfort of remembering exactly what happened last night. That hadn’t happened after a date in years.
Additional Reading: 5 Tips When Playing the (Sober) Dating Game
Image Source: DeathToTheStockPhoto/iStock