Sometimes, you must take a risk to gain something worthwhile. Sometimes, that risk may be embarrassment or rejection. Yet when you stand to gain a friendship lasting a lifetime, the risk is always worth it. Having “sober friends” after recovery can be a big help to keeping you on your new life path. These kinds of friends are the people you can spend time with while sober and not feel pressured to drink or use.
Sobriety without friends is harsh, grueling, and one of the most difficult things to go through. You’re training your brain to deal with stress, anger, and sorrow without its favorite coping mechanism, all while fighting the instinct to go back to your old habits and live inside them in comfort. Few people can go through sobriety and loneliness at the same time.
But having friends is about more than just making your recovery easier. It’s about having sober friends – it’s about having people you can rely on, trust on, listen to, be heard by, and more. Sober friends are there for you, they’re the family you choose, and they can help you out of a pinch and provide you with more happiness and joy than a million shots of vodka. However, finding new sober friends to have fun with and live life with while staying sober can be a little challenging.
If you’re open to being open, to taking a few risks and to accepting the possibility of some awkward beginnings in exchange for two or three of the best platonic relationships in your lifetime, then take on this guide to making friends in sobriety, and begin your journey towards having a lot more fun in life.
Find Sober Friends And Hobbies
Step number one is to find things to do that don’t involve alcohol. Preferably, do things that you enjoy. This may be painting, or swimming, or playing video games, or reading books, or any other hobby among millions of choices.
Then, have a look around to see who else shares these hobbies. As we live in the age of the Internet, a quick search online will give you an idea of where to start locally in your search for some new sober friends. Don’t go into step one thinking of picking up new contacts – instead, think of pursuing your hobby even further, and just start a few casual conversations.
Share Experiences Through Group Support
Aside from finding people unrelated to your sobriety, one way to both find a way to vent about your own sobriety and hear what others must say in the struggle through their recovery process, is through your support group. Find a local support group or start one, encouraging those in recovery to come forward and meet up on a regular basis to give updates, check up on each other, and talk about emotions, struggles, pitfalls and speed bumps.
Hearing others talk about their own perspective on sobriety can help you adjust and improve yours, and find a way to better deal with the effects of recovery and regain control over yourself. It can also be a great way to meet like minded people that make good sober friends.
Go To Events And Workshops
Once you’ve chosen a hobby you are really interested in, take it to the next level by going to events and workshops to both become better, and meet others with the same level of passion and commitment. Fitness expos, yoga training camps, art and writing workshops – there are countless places, events and organized meetups out there for you to explore and potentially find new people.
It’s alright to be shy at first – especially if you’re self-conscious. Overcoming that feeling is part of the recovery process, as is gaining a stronger self-esteem and becoming more confident in yourself – and taking the first steps to make new friends helps with that tremendously.
Write About Yourself
Writing an anonymous journal or starting a blog with a pseudonym is one thing – and it’s most definitely a healthy thing, if any of the copious literature on blogging and journaling has anything to say about it – but if you’re looking to make sober friends and find new people to talk to and share life experiences with, then consider putting yourself out there through blogging and social media.
Blogging is a fantastic way to meet other people in the scene, both new and old. Sober living blogs have been around for about if blogging became a thing on the Internet, and many of the most popular blogs continue to be written by single individuals sharing their life experiences on the path to recovery, including their experiences with new people and fresh faces.
You don’t have to be active on Facebook, write daily tweets, post a daily Instagram picture and become glued to your Snapchat account all while juggling a blog – choose one or two things to use for finding new people, and have fun. Instagram is an effortless way to find likeminded individuals, as it lets you easily sort through pictures by interest with the use of hashtags like #soberliving.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of using your real name and finding real people in your area to talk to, then consider joining chatrooms instead. There are plenty of online chatrooms dedicated to sobriety, alcoholism, drug use and mental health issues – but if you want to expand into territories that have less to do with your sobriety and more to do with your interests, feel free to search to your hearts content – with Discord, Slack, and a slew of IRC channels, you’re bound to find a chatroom somewhere on the Internet where several people from across the world are talking about the same thing.
The world is smaller than ever thanks to the instant communication afforded by the Internet – and that is something that should empower you, rather than scare you. Overcoming your addiction will take time, but time spent having fun goes by twice as fast, and if you make new sober friends, you’ll find yourself out of your first year of recovery in absolutely no time. It’s natural to be anxious at first – and you’re bound to run into some bad apples eventually. But you’ll find out that with practice, meeting new people becomes easier and easier – and with a little time, you’ll have your social anxieties under control enough to make new friends to share your time with.