I’m spending three months sober tinder dating. Here’s why.

I’m swiping my way to sober self-realisation.

Illustration by Stefano Bellucci Sessa

You may be wondering what possibly compels someone to go on to Tinder specifically for sober dating? I’m single in London and I had some shitty previous relationships so obviously the most logical thing to do is to jump on Tinder to see what I can learn.

Disclaimer* I have been single in London for 9 months and during this time I had been practising mindfulness and yoga but hadn’t yet tried dropping alcohol. Baby steps.

So why am I really doing this?
Rewind from the present to June this year and I’m at my cousin’s wedding. The day before the wedding we all get horrifically drunk and I feel disgusting. I have a foggy memory of stumbling back to my room, tucking myself into bed and then the room begins to violently spin. So, still wrapped in my duvet, I gracefully lunge into the bathroom to hang my head in the toilet. I power nap inbetween vomiting sessions and wait for the sun to come up for the big day. In addition to the catastrophic amount of drink my family had some emotional shit to deal with, but it was a bad choice to deal with it after 5 glasses of prosecco and mojitos. After that night I felt like my body and mind had been smashed up with anguish and a lemon.

Needless to say I was emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted after that.

Post wedding I had a little epiphany.
The normalisation of drinking to ‘enjoy’ or to ‘experience’ something to the fullest is so toxic, at least it seems that way to me. Think about it. It’s so normal to celebrate by popping open a bottle of champers, to wind down with a glass of wine and to go out partying we drink into oblivion. Isn’t this a little bit odd? We’re actively distancing ourselves from the very social interactions we’ve chosen to be involved with. It’s a little bit like turning up to a concert only to put in earplugs and cover your eyes.

Ok, so I had some questions for myself.
What if I could enjoy interacting with others without drinking? Whether it be catch ups with friends, work celebrations etc. Could this bring me closer to the people around me? Will it help me build authentic relationships or just scare me away from them? I may also find a new sense of self by doing this, who bloody knows.

This leads me to think about my love life and how alcohol comes into play there.
To add some background to my love life…I’ve been bouncing from one guy to another for a solid 7 month period of casual dating. Which is pretty standard for London, I think. However, the last guy I fell for, like really fell for, was a Drinker. With a capital D! Boy did he like booze. (As did I at this point in my life). After work he would often end up drinking several pints, and then had extra tinnies back at his. It’s worth to mention he’s realised his bad habits and is making moves to fix them.

When he and I started hanging out he had just got out of a long term relationship, one that really messed him up and left him feeling lost. Hence the drinking. After a few months of hooking up we spoke about what was happening between us and that we had some ‘feels’ there.

Oh god the feels. Don’t catch them guys….

To summarise WTF was going on in his head — he enjoyed whatever we were but he was anxious that we were becoming a ‘couple’ and was unsure if he could take another commitment. His way of dealing with this anxiety was to drink, especially right before we would meet up. I then started adopt his drinking habits and ignoring the fact he was sometimes 6 pints down when we hung out (he wasn’t a very obvious drunk). You can imagine this long term didn’t end well. I was normalising heavy drinking habits and labelling it as ‘just having fun’.

This is why I’m doing this. The ending of this particular ‘relationship’ left me feeling a little lost — questioning the way I see myself and what kind of relationships I want around me. I’m hoping that in quitting alcohol and being healthy I’ll find some sort of balance again, some kind of self-love that I have lost touch with. Because as RuPaul would say “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”.

Too right Ru..too F-ing right.

Why Tinder?
Honestly, I work really unsociable hours as a event producer and social media manager so dating apps help meet new people. Tinder also has such a huge variety of people on there I’m hoping it’ll help push my comfort zones and help me meet people who are nothing like myself.

Any Questions?

Am I stopping drinking entirely?
Yessssss! No booze.

What if I just hook up with them? Does that go in the blog?
Yes, yes it does my friend.

Will I be telling those I date about the blog?
Yeah…I guess I should shouldn’t I? Ok i’ll tell them.

How many dates am I going to go on?
Don’t know, have not yet myself a target. I’m genuinely here to learn and meet new people.

What if I catch feelings for someone and the three months aren’t up?
I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

What happens if I end up drinking?
We all slip up. I’m hoping when it happens I won’t beat myself up too much.

Feel free to join my adventures and raise a non-alcoholic beer with me.