THE BLOG
11/02/2015 12:09 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Ways to Date Without Liquid Courage

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When I first met Caitlin Padgett, I was not only amazed at her own story of her relationship with dating and alcohol, but saw a lot of myself in her in my early 20s. After interviewing her I knew that she had so much to share with the world, and here is some of her advice on some of her best tips on how to date without liquid courage. I hope you enjoy!

1. Getting ready:

Create new rituals for getting yourself ready, psyched, confident and feeling your best before heading out. Put on your best anthems, say your mantras or affirmations, treat yourself to a sensual bubble bath, get yourself a mini-aromatherapy massage, make a delicious elixir to sip. In short, give yourself the goddess treatment.

2. Stop trying to find a date at the bar:

Instead of relying on the bar to meet people -- get more creative! Use this challenge as your opportunity to try new and exciting activities where you'll have a chance of meeting a special someone that's more in line with your health goals. Been wanting to try a new sport or hobby for awhile? Now's the time.

3. Switch up the venue:

When you do get asked on a date, suggest something other than an evening date at a restaurant or bar. It helps to make a list of cool date ideas ahead of time, so that you are ready with an alternative suggestion.

"There's this new brunch spot I've been wanting to try, why don't we meet there?"
"You know that I haven't been to the planetarium in since I was a kid? Have you? would you like to meet me there?"

"It's supposed to be sunny this weekend and I've been stuck in the office all weekend. Why don't we meet at the park?"

4. Brush up on your one-liners:

If you do end up on a date at a restaurant, the first time the waiter arrives and asks if you'd like to see the wine list can be uncomfortable. Knowing what alternative drink you'd like to order and asking for it confidently rather than stammering "I'll just have water please" will help ease any awkwardness. If I know the restaurant I'm going to in advance, I'll often check out their menu online. "I've been wanting to try that aloe-basil beverage you have, that sounds really interesting." Your date may not even notice that you haven't ordered alcohol.

If you do get asked why you aren't drinking, it helps to know in advance how you want to answer the question. Again, preparation is everything.

5. Flirting/texting and sexting:

Instead of waiting for someone to initiate flirting with you, taking the lead can bring a rush similar to the effects of alcohol. If you'd like, practice first on the cashier at the grocery store, and build up towards what you'd like to say to your object of desire. Becoming a temptress texter can also help build the sexual desire and tension. Sometimes it feels safer to text your desire rather than to speak them, so this is a great transition to practice communicating your desires sober.

6. Next!!

If your date or lover cannot respect the fact that you've decided to make some changes around your alcohol use, they chances are they aren't your forever-person. If they try to belittle or question your decision, or pressure you to drink more than you want to, it might be time to say see-ya.

At the risk of sounding glib, I know this can be easier said than done. However, now more than ever it is important to surround yourself with people who support your decisions and your desire to be your healthiest self. If the person you are with isn't willing to be patient and get to know the new you (and how much fun, clear minded and confident she will be) than it might be time to let go and move on to a love that is truly supportive of the path you are on.

Caitlin Padgett is a lifestyle coach for successful women who struggle with alcohol. Whether the goal is to control their drinking through moderation techniques or to eliminate it completely, she offers an individualized program for women find freedom from alcohol, on their own terms. To download Caitlin's Three Strategies for Drink Less Success and learn more about her book, "Drink Less Be More: How to have a great night (and life) without getting wasted" visit her website www.caitlinpadgett.com