Recovery can often necessitate meeting new people, as you may realize some of your friendships revolve around the substances you are working to avoid. But meeting new friends is hard, especially in sobriety when you may be more focused on your recovery than meeting new people. Because friendships can impact not only your happiness but also your health and overall well-being, it is important to build a community and make friends in sobriety.
Sober friends are essential to recovery not only because they can help you avoid drugs or alcohol by replacing activities that involve these substances with enjoyable sober activities, but also because they can encourage you on your path to recovery through support and helping you heal emotionally and spiritually. At Soba Recovery, we hope all of our clients can build a sober support system post treatment.
What Are Sober Friends?
Friendships in addiction may center around drugs or alcohol. These types of relationships unsurprisingly tend to fall apart if one friend decides to become sober. Friendships rooted in addiction may even be damaging to your psychological well-being if you are trying to get sober. Healthy friendships are an important part of recovery, which is why a crucial component to sober living is often finding new sober friends. Sober friends are friends who are supportive of your sobriety, which often means they are also sober. Sober friendships aren’t rooted in the consumption of drugs or alcohol, instead, they revolve around enjoyable sober activities.
How to Meet Sober Friends
Meeting new friends can be intimidating and meeting sober friends can be especially intimidating if you don’t know where to look. However, there are countless ways to connect with sober friends.
Support groups and sober communities
One of the most sure-fire ways to meet sober friends is to join a support group, because everyone in attendance is pursuing similar goals of sobriety. The traditional Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have helped countless people because they offer great resources and help build a community of support. However, these groups aren’t for everyone and there are a number of other sobriety support groups that may be the right fit for you.
Some alternative sober communities to the traditional AA include:
- SMART Recovery, which is open to both substance addictions and activity addictions and focuses on mutual-support and self-reliance
- secular support groups like LifeRing or Secular Organizations for Sobriety
- the Phoenix, which integrates physical activity into recovery
- women-led communities like Women for Sobriety
- LGBT-friendly communities like Gay and Lesbians in Alcoholics Anonymous
One great way to meet sober friends is to attend events where addictive substances aren’t involved. These events could range from activities that don’t normally involve substances, like fitness classes, hikes or free museum days. There are also substance-free events that deliberately remove alcohol and drugs to create specifically sober events like pop-up non-alcoholic bars or alcohol-free early morning dance parties, such as those put on by Daybreaker in cities all around the world.
Sober communities or even mission-focused groups that revolve around a shared hobby can be difficult to find locally if you don’t know where to look. In the digital age, online groups through Facebook Groups are a growing resource for connecting people over a shared interest. There are Facebook Groups for an assortment of hobbies and you can find a local group and attend events put on by the group. Meetup is another online forum that connects people—you can look for groups in your local area with sober-centric interests or use search terms like “sober” or “sobriety” to find a sober meetup.
Tips to Maintain Sobriety
Sober friendships are beneficial to the maintenance of sobriety. Not only do sober friendships help you avoid substances by partaking in sober-centric activities, sober friends are an invaluable support to recovery through encouragement. In addition to meeting sober friends and building healthy relationships, here are some other tips for maintaining sobriety:
- Take sobriety one day at a time.
- Identify your personal triggers and create plans to prepare for and avoid them.
- Practice healthy living with regular exercise, getting ample quality sleep, and eating regular well-balanced meals.
- Develop hobbies and make time for them. Hobbies improve mental wellbeing and prevent boredom.
- Take advantage of aftercare. Whether it’s local recovery support groups, AA meetings, online forums, or aftercare offered by a rehabilitation facility.
- Celebrate milestones in your recovery. Sobriety is hard work and it is important to acknowledge and celebrate that work to continue to stay motivated.
Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out
Reaching out to people and building new relationships can be daunting, especially when you are navigating meeting new people while working on your recovery. But healthy relationships are fundamental to addiction recovery and building sober friendships will be worth putting yourself out there. At Soba Recovery, we are committed to your long-term recovery and we know sober communities are a part of building a healthy sober lifestyle. We integrate social interaction into our custom treatment to help build socialization skills and remind you that you are not alone in your journey to sobriety. Reach out to us today to take the first step on your road to recovery.