Friday, 15 June 2018

Sober Date Night



I was looking for a picture to illustrate this post, so I typed 'romantic dinner' into the Google search. Almost all the images that came up featured two glasses of wine. And that really illustrates the problem. At least this one has two empty glasses. 

I get lots of letters from people who worry that giving up drinking will ruin date night forever. 

This was one of my main worries too. I'd had so many wonderful, drunken evenings out with my husband over the years, in restaurants, bars and parties. I really wasn't sure whether I could do 'date night' sober, without being haunted by memories of better nights in the past.

Well please, please don't worry! There will be a tricky few months of re-adjustment, but sober romance is not only possible, but fabulous. 

Date night is particularly tricky if your partner still drinks. They're sad because they've lost a drinking buddy, and you're annoyed because have to sit and watch someone drinking all evening. Aaarrrghhh.

There are a few things you can do to make it easier:

Firstly, try and be a bit more inventive of what you do on a date night. 

We drinkers get very lazy about nights out. So long as they involve lots of booze, we don't really care, so it's generally all restaurants, bars and parties. 

In the early few months I really recommend avoiding spending hours at a restaurant or bar table. You just won't enjoy it. 

Why not go to a great movie instead? You'll be so engrossed that you won't even think about drinking. Or, splash out some of the money you've saved on theatre tickets, or a concert or gig. Go and see some stand up comedy - laughter is a great aphrodisiac.

You'll quite quickly find that not only is date night still fun, it's way more varied and interesting than it used to be!

Secondly, think about what you (and they) drink.

I discovered that date night is much easier and more romantic if you can drink roughly the same thing. What I mean is that if Mr SM has a mojito, I have a virgin mojito. If he has a beer, I'll have an alcohol-free beer, and so on. That way, both of us feel as if we're on the same wavelength. And we are!

If your partner still drinks and your biggest issue was, like mine, wine, then ask them to drink something else on date night for a while. Staring at a glass of wine all evening when you're not drinking it is no fun.

And finally, try not to romance the old days.

It's easy to look back and remember the times when you were both merrily drunk and laughing hysterically over some shared joke, and to forget all the drunken rows, the terrible hangovers and the festering misunderstandings caused by something said after a few too many,

Date night may take re-adjusting to, but it will, eventually, be better than ever and, crucially, your relationship will be way stronger because you will be a much nicer person to live with - more even tempered, energetic, understanding and happy.

So hurrah for sober romance, and hurrah for all of you!

If you have some of your own tips and advice for sober date nights, then please do leave them in the comments below. Thank you!

To find our more about the first year sober, read The Sober Diaries. Click here UK, here USA, here Australia.

Thank you so much to Feedspot for voting Mummy was a Secret Drinker one of the UK's top 10 alcohol blogs. Whoop whoop. To see the full list click here.

If you'd like more face-to-face help and advice, there are still some places on the October workshop in London which I'm hosting with World Without Wine. For more information click here.

Love to you all,

SM x



17 comments:

  1. Congrats, SM, on the Top 10 recognition - so well deserved!

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  2. sobrietysociety16 June 2018 at 04:06

    It seems we have a lot (if not all) celebrations tied up with the "spirit", right? Last night was my son's 21st birthday dinner. Talk about an occasion for a toast! Well, I didn't (yeah!) Even my son did not. He is way more responsible than I was. He said he needed to eat something before drinking and the alcohol at the restaurant was too expensive... How did this maturity happen? Not from me for sure!

    I have just celebrated my one month of sobriety. I am proud and have felt pretty good mentally and physically. However, last night my pink, fluffy cloud was tinged with a bit of gray (or grey as you might say SoberMummy ;-) I kept thinking that I wasn't that bad. I was, and I know it.

    Thank the HP that I found The Sober Diaries when I needed affirmation on my decision. It was serendipitous for sure. Thank you SoberMummy!

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    1. Huge congrats on one month sober! Yay! And what an amazing son you have! xxx

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  3. When I first stopped drinking I just couldn’t do the 3-4 hr leisurely chatting over a meal and drinks that we would usually do, I just had to eat and move on to somewhere else! A change of scenery in a different bar or preferably home to my pjs! We would also have more cinema dates, which in the past I would think was a wast of a babysitter because I couldn’t drink. The sober me loves cinema date nights!!! Now nearly 19months along my sober journey I’m quite happy to sit and have a meal and spend the night as we usually would just chatting away. I think in the early days you may need to find something different to keep you away from temptation but that won’t be for every and a positive is that you’ve found other things to enjoy together along the way! Xx

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  4. My anniversary was near my 40 day sober. I have to decline courtesy champagne and my boyfriend was drinking Wine.
    With all The Russian Worldwide Cup all my colleagues we're drinking during The Match while I'm not. I used yo be The first looking for reasons to rise a glass and The first in bullying not drinkers. I'm taking my own Bitter medicine.
    I'm freaking out Thinking in Christmas and New Years Toast. People at work ser very intendente and asa a Lot why I don't drink anymore. Truth is not an option in work environment.

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    1. Just say you¡ve been getting headaches......or it is bothering your stomach.....or you're on medication.....whatever it takes!

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  5. Movie date nights are great. Gets you out of the house and doing something... it turns out when you are sober enough to realise it that the offerings on TV are actually pretty ordinary viewing. LOL!

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  6. Ah, date nights! They used to non-existent because I was always drunk and comatose by 8.30pm. If we did do something, it would have to be something/somewhere where I could have a drink of wine.

    Now, though, I realise what I have missed all of these years. I love to go the cinema and in this past (almost) year of not drinking, we have been numerous times. We can go to a late showing and .... I STAY AWAKE!

    I still find it amazing that even if we have a date night at home watching a DVD with a take-away, I stay awake AND I can remember what the film was about.

    During the last year, my husband and I have never had so many date nights ever and I have really found that our relationship has improved enormously.

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    1. Whoop whoop! I missed the end of so many movies back in the day!

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  7. Hi lovely SM - I so agree that sober date night is the best! my relationship is sooooo much better since I quit drinking. Still loving your blog - just never get round to commenting. 2.5 yrs for me now and I keep reaping the benefits of this fab life. Keep going newbies guys. You won’t tegret it. Lots of love super lady. Love how well your book is doing. I loved it. You deserve all success and happiness. Xxx

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    1. You're still here SFM! Lovely to hear from you xxx

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  8. Congratulations on your well deserved recognition, Clare! I'm only 5 months in so date night is still a challenge for me. I'm fortunate in that my husband rarely drank and has now quit completely to support me. But I still feel uneasy watching others drink in restaurants. So instead of dinner we do "lunch dates" which have been working out great. I guess when the time is right date night will happen again. But for now baby steps. :) x

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    1. It WILL get easier, and - in the meantime - lunch dates are a great idea! xxx

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  9. I went for 12 days without having my wine. Then suddenly we went out with friends and I ordered a glass of wine. That would be one thing but I have continued for the last few days. So ashamed of myself. Sarah 83

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    1. Ah, but you know, if you've been reading here....it's never too late to start again! Don't beat yourself up, just offer a hug, and move on....you CAN do it!

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    2. Nothwoman's right, Sara! Don't beat yourself up! Treat it as a learning experience. Now you KNOW you can't 'just have one.' Get back on that wagon! xxx

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