“There are many excuses to drink... but no reasons.”
“When you are an addict, the only line you can cross but can not come back from is death.”
Dating and Sobriety
Modern dating has us drinking more, but being less successful at it. Drinking can give us a false sense of connection. A 2014 Survey from Plenty of Fish found that 36.4% of singles drink before going out and 48.9% drink during the date. It's not entirely surprising that modern dating and drinking are so thoroughly linked. Having a conversation with a stranger can be difficult, whether the internet was involved in your meeting or not. People will drink to make themselves feel more relaxed, but in reality, all they are doing is slowing down their brains, dulling their senses and intuitions.
Not drinking works in our favor. Jitters are your body's way of telling you that you care. Mating is natural, primal, and our bodies have developed mechanisms for sniffing out whether or not a potential mate will be good for us.
When we drink, we are hiding parts of ourselves from our potential partner, as they are hiding from us. Real connections sprout from the roots of honesty and vulnerability.
Believe that dating without drinking is possible. If you find yourself struggling with the idea of a sober meet up then you probably need more time to gain your sober footing before you venture out into the wild. In sobriety, an awkward date is simply that.. an awkward date. It just means that you have no natural chemistry with the person, and that's ok.
Remember dating is about getting to know the other person. Ask questions, listen to the answers. See how you feel. Be patient, don't rush things.
The opposite of addiction is connection.
Zack, with 514 days since his last drink, shares his story...
[12:19] Paul Introduces Zack.
Zack is from Nebraska, lives in Colorado. He's married and loves the outdoors.
[14:15] When did you first realize that you had a problem with alcohol?
Mid 20's. He didn't want to end up like his father. His father drinks nightly. He realized that his friends were moving on with their lives. He kept trying to moderate or quit unsuccessfully.
[17:00] Now that you know more about alcoholism, has your relationship with your father changed?
Kind of. He said he will never end up like his father. He didn't start drinking until after high school. His father helped him get his first drink.
[18:10] What did it feel like to crave alcohol?
Irritable. He would work harder so he could get home quicker and open his first drink. Most of the time he was drinking alone. It started fun but he became lonely.
[20:00] When were you finally able to quit? How?
He got a DUI. He promised himself he wouldn't drink and drive. He wasn't able to give up the drinking, so he just stopped driving. He drank alone a lot. He gained a lot of weight. He developed other health problems. He stopped caring.
[22:30] Did you have a rock bottom moment? How did you quit?
For years leading up to his health scare, he would try to stop drinking. It lead to a period of emotional numbness that scared him into taking his health seriously. He moved to Colorado, and the geographical cure didn't work. His application for life insurance was declined because of his many health problems. That woke him up and he realized that it would really affect his family. He made up his mind to quit on January 1. He noticed his addiction lying to him in his own voice and he was able to make it through the initial stages of craving. He almost relapsed, but the smell of the open bottle made him stop. He reached a turning point and decided to research what he could do to stay sober. He found a sobriety forum online and the responses were overwhelming. He hadn't opened up to his wife about quitting drinking, so the online forum became his support. He finally told her he quit after three months, and it was difficult for him.
[29:30] Assuming your wife will hear this recording, what would you like to say to her about your drinking?
It's been extremely difficult, and he's sorry about withholding and lying. He's sorry for the emotional difficulty he's put her through.
Creating accountability with his wife, and joining Cafe RE has helped him to heal and grow emotionally.
[33:00] Did you experience a pink cloud? What was it like afterwards?
First 5 months or so was good. He kept busy. Worked a lot, hiking, running, he lost 40 pounds. He ran his first half marathon. Around month 10, he just slowed down and realized that he was just filling his time and not actually growing. He realized he couldn't stay busy forever. Podcasts helped him learn and realize that he also needed to grow emotionally.
[35:15] How was your relationship with your wife changed since you've tried to grow emotionally?
He opens up to her more, which is difficult for him. Their relationship has gotten a lot stronger because he's finally able to tell her more. She has noticed a huge change in his state. He is more emotionally available.
[36:40] Walk us through an ordinary day in recovery for you.
He wakes up to a workout at 4am. He has a gratitude list. He works from 6:30 until the afternoon. They are in the process of remodeling their home. He and his wife hang out for a while and connect.
[39:09] What do you value most in recovery?
Better relationships with people. He doesn't feel as isolated.
[39:27] What is your proudest moment in sobriety?
He ran his first half marathon. His achievements in the realm of exercise have been great inspiration.
[39:50] Rapid Fire Round
Resources mentioned in this episode:
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“We took the elevator down, we gotta take the stairs back up, we can do this!”