So you have a hot date with someone who doesn’t drink. Congratulations! You’re about to hang with a person who won’t black out, won’t forget everything you tell them, and won’t get you both kicked out of the establishment (well…no guarantees, but we’ll say it’s considerably less likely). Here’s a quick guide to treating your date with respect, no matter how curious you are about this unconventional and intriguing life choice. Pardon our attitude, but to quote Rose McGowan, if you’re over hearing stupid shit on dates, “imagine how tired we are.”
“I bet you used to be so much fun!”
Alternately: I bet you used to be crazy! I bet you were real WILD! No, Chad, what’s actually wild is processing my feelings in real time, learning to be in my body, and moving through pain to emerge on the other side not unscathed, but healed. (Mic drop, much?) It’s waking up and appreciating the sun, the birds, the trees. Let’s normalize presence being “wild”, as opposed to numbing out. Also, there’s nothing fun about projectile vomiting, nursing a headache, or losing multiple days of your one precious life to a hangover from hell. Let’s face it: getting rip roaring drunk is basic, whether society at large has agreed upon it or not– If it weren’t, the “crazy drunk” trope wouldn’t be in 700 movies, commercials, and bad SNL skits.
“One drink won’t hurt.”
We could give a bunch of examples of pain that was definitely inflicted by our alcohol use and would be again without question, but instead, let’s just focus on how wildly inappropriate this comment is from a boundary perspective. Or, let’s just apply it practically. Do you like being told what to do? Do you like suggestions to do things you’ve definitely already considered, as if they were new concepts and you were born yesterday? Can we quiz you on the last time a fully unsolicited suggestion worked to better your life, despite the years of your own personal experience and evidence to the contrary? Oh, you’d rather we didn’t? In short: what’s true for you isn’t necessarily someone else’s experience. But you knew that. (eyeroll)
“I could never stop drinking.”
Uh-oh. To quote Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost: “You in danger, girl.” You should probably keep this one to yourself– even if you think it’s true. That’s what we thought once, and although we’re open to different people’s wide range of experiences with alcohol, this outlook doesn’t bode well. Maybe say that you like the taste…or something? Or just cut your losses and don’t date a sober person if you need to party all day every day in order to have a good time. It might not be the best fit.
“Tell me the craziest thing you did drunk.”
This is so fucking triggering!! In a word– no. I’ll never forget the story a sober alcoholic told me before I stopped drinking. She had been sober three years, the whole time I knew her, and it was impossible to imagine her drunk. “I wish I could have hung out with you in your drinking days!” I said stupidly, not understanding sobriety to be anything more than a novelty, something other people thought they had to do for reasons at best vague, and at worst, imaginary or unnecessary. One day, she made an aside about having poked a hole in a bounce house with her high heel at a drunken birthday party, and deflating it. After laughing for a solid two minutes, I responded, “See! You were the life of the party!” to which she responded grimly: “It wasn’t my party, it was a child’s.” Never forget, Megan.
“Everything in moderation.”
This is a well-meaning way to dismiss someone’s choice not to drink. You’re shrugging it off, you’re letting us know that most people don’t really need regulation- a good life involves a little bit of all things. This has a poetic bent that brings to mind images of steaks enjoyed in French bistros, carefree cigarettes relished in French cafes, and dusty bottles of French wine opened on mahogany tables. Yes, it’s all very French, some kind of utopia where people aren’t so uptight and extreme. We get it– you appreciate the finer things. But again– this is not true for everyone. And if it were, well– a lot of those writers and musicians you call “free spirits” would still be alive right now.
“AA is a cult”
I’m not even in AA and I know to run to the hills when this one is dropped– it’s the death knell for a sober person, letting us know that we’re on a date with someone who lives to neg and negs to live. Hot take, but AA is the Burning Man of sobriety: reviled by those who haven’t been, and sworn upon by those it’s worked for. No, AA doesn’t involve sandstorms or ballerina robot costumes, but it is polarizing that a neutral, non-judgmental take on a spiritual program that has worked for millions of people is surprisingly hard to come by! A little open-mindedness truly goes a very long way.