My local supermarket has stacked bottles of pink fizz near the entrance. The restaurant next door is offering a special, boozy dinner deal. And across the road, the florist is getting ready to deliver eye-wateringly expensive champagne and roses.
That’s right … it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
At this time of year, you could be forgiven for thinking that alcohol is an absolutely essential, VITAL, non-negotiable part of being romantic and loved-up. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, the idea of missing out on all the lovey-dovey stuff, just because you don’t drink, is a pretty depressing thought.
The good news is that you don’t have to ‘miss out’. Alcohol-free living should not be miserable. And you needn’t feel deprived – if you’ve got the right mindset.
If you’re struggling to get your head around the idea of a sober date night, here are 5 key questions to ask yourself:
What is it that really makes a date night special?
Whether you’re going out or staying in, what is it that you genuinely like about it? For most of us, it comes down to this: it’s a chance to spend some quality time together. Going somewhere nice, eating delicious food and having the time to talk properly – that’s all relaxing in its own right, isn’t it? Often we drink during moments that would’ve been perfectly pleasant anyway and then we give booze all the credit for it!
If alcohol genuinely made you feel good, wouldn’t it work all the time?
I’m sure you’ve been on dates where it didn’t matter how much you drank, it was still a disaster. If you’re going out for a Valentine’s meal tomorrow night, make sure you take a few sneaky glances at the other couples in the restaurant. There will always be a few who are barely speaking; maybe they’ve argued or run out of things to say to each other. They’ll be chugging back wine, but it won’t make a blind bit of difference.
What’s really happening to your body when you have a few drinks to ‘loosen up’?
When we consume ethanol (a highly addictive, mind-altering drug) it causes our brains to function a little slower. It means you lose your fears and inhibitions. That isn’t always a good thing, especially on a first date.
If you’re dating someone you know and like, why would you need to be in an altered state of mind anyway? Drinking puts a barrier between you and your date – a numb, emotional void. It prevents you from connecting properly. It also stops you from being fully present in your one and only life. And that is pretty scary.
If you get really drunk, what are the chances of you having great sex?
It doesn’t matter how many aphrodisiacs you try and include in your Valentine’s Day meal, if you pass out drunk, the chances of having sex are pretty low. Don’t be tempted to try and moderate your drinking tomorrow – it’s hard work and the chances of you drinking too much are high. Besides, if you’ve not tried sober sex yet, what are you waiting for?
What’s the story you’re telling yourself?
Our minds are incredibly powerful. Often, what we believe to be true becomes true. If your story is, ‘a romantic meal without wine is going to be crap’ then guess what? It probably will be. You have to go into this with an open and positive mindset.
Think back to your earlier attempts at dating. When you went to school discos as a young teenager, did you need alcohol to have fun? I know I didn’t (and it was impossible to smuggle alcohol into those teacher-supervised events!) Back then, the chance to dress up and dance to music in a dimly lit gym hall was exciting enough. When did that change?
Alcohol is nothing more than a mind-altering, numbing drug. Don’t romanticise it. Booze dulls everything – the highs as well as the lows. And just think – how much better could your date nights be without alcohol holding you back?