Making friends as an adult is hard. On average, the number of people we consider as close confidantes have shrunk from three to two, with many people citing their number as zero.
Even in ideal circumstances, maintaining a robust is social life is challenging. It takes effort, time, patience, and the willingness to compromise.
That said, making new friends in sobriety may seem like an overwhelming task. How are you supposed to socialize when you aren't under the influence? What if everyone else is partying? Do you need to share why you are sober? Let's discuss.
Join a Group
Groups are fantastic for introducing you to like-minded people. You can opt for a specific sober group like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery. While these groups focus on emphasizing life in recovery, they also provide ample opportunity for socialization and connection.
You can extend beyond sober groups by looking into:
region-specific Meetups (you can search for sober groups)
intramural sports teams
Even though groups provide the socialization opportunity, a group alone won't create friendships. You must be willing to reach out and connect with people individually. You also need to become actively involved in attending multiple events.
When you show up for an event, try to enter with a positive mindset. Set an intention to get to know a few people and ask for their contact information. Then, commit to following up! Ask if they want to meet up for coffee or lunch over the next week.
Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to your community. Moreover, research shows that people who volunteer may have a greater sense of purpose, higher levels of self-confidence, and a lower mortality rate.
Volunteering connects you with other people. You will meet members from all different backgrounds. If you commit to a consistent schedule, you will likely see the same people at the same time each week.
It's a great, low-pressure way to interact with others. Because you're doing a task (whether it's serving soup or cleaning the beach), there's less worry about awkward face-to-face conversations. To solidify the friendship, make a point to try to connect outside of your routine commitment.
Stay Connected with Your Alumni Program
If you attended treatment, don't disappear after completing your care. Stay involved with your program's aftercare or alumni programs.
Most treatment centers host alumni meetings or sober events. Keep in mind they may post their activity schedule on social media or through an email list.
If you're still in the local area, check some out. Make plans with other people you meet. You might also offer to provide sober companionship or support for someone just finishing treatment.
Consider How You Want To Disclose Your Sobriety
Your sobriety is unique and personal, and you don't owe anyone your life story. With that in mind, it's a good idea to be prepared to answer people's questions about why you don't drink.
People may ask (usually with good intentions), and it can feel awkward or upsetting if you're caught off-guard. At this point, it's your decision how you want to move forward.
Some people are incredibly open about their sobriety and their history with addiction. Others tend to be more private and subdued. Some wait until they really know the other person before sharing more personal details.
There is no right-or-wrong answer for what you should say or do. A true friend won't judge your past. Moreover, a true friend will be proud of your genuine efforts to take care of yourself!
Be Careful With Reconnecting With Old Friends
Old friends can remind you of old versions of yourself, and this experience can be triggering. Of course, this isn't a hard rule- many people can and do strengthen old friendships.
However, it's important to consider your motives for reconnecting. Do you hope to rekindle a close connection or source of support? If they still drink or use drugs, how do you intend to navigate this dynamic?
Chances are, you've made many changes and grown tremendously during this process. Some friendships won't be able to withstand the transformation, and that's okay.
You Can Make New Friends In Sobriety!
Sobriety can be exciting, frustrating, and overwhelming- all at the same time! The first year of recovery is full of rapid changes, but having support can make a valuable difference.
To make new friends in sobriety, you need to have an open mind and the willingness to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Remember that it's okay if you don't connect with everyone. Friendship is undoubtedly a matter of quality over quantity.
At The Resurface Group, we believe that social support is paramount for succeeding in your recovery. We help our clients connect with peers, strengthen their confidence, and practice new social skills. Contact us today to learn more about how we can guide you!