How to Find Sober Friends and Forge Lasting Connections
Whether you are in early recovery or decades sober, it can sometimes be tough for people choosing sobriety to meet other members of the tribe. After all, many of us are not used to making friends with anyone outside our former drinking and/or using buddies, never mind other sober individuals.
But the need for connection is real, and a group of sober friends can be life-saving as a source of emotional support, as well as a great way to gain inspiration when our own road gets rocky.
But how do you begin to make sober friends?
Enter our latest resource from SOBRLIFE Clothing and our online shop, a guide on how to make sober friends that will give you a great starting point and some tips to help along the way!
When you decide to embark on a journey of recovery from addiction, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong support system. One of the key components of this support system is having sober friends who understand and can relate to your experiences.
But not everyone is comfortable meeting other sober people. And, not every sober person out there is wearing SOBRLIFE recovery apparel, at least not yet!
So how can you identify the right opportunities to meet sober peers, and what are the best ways of breaking the ice?
Rest assured, building sober relationships may seem daunting at first, but with the right approach, it can be a rewarding experience. So let’s get started with some of the best places to find others seeking a life in recovery.
5 Solid Ways of Finding Sober Friends
Whether you are in recovery from alcohol abuse, substance abuse, or mental illness (or, like many of us, all three!) the need to find others outside of your own journey to sobriety is real.
For personal growth as well as for social development and to satisfy the human need for social connections, it is important to meet other sober people. Who knows, some may even become your good friends!
One of the most effective ways to make sober friends is by attending mutual support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals in recovery can share their stories, struggles, and successes with others who have been through similar experiences.
It’s worth pointing out you don’t need to limit yourself to the traditional pillars of the Anonymous community with AA and NA, you can also look at SMART Recovery, Al-Anon (if a loved one is still struggling), and ACOA (for Adult Children of Alcoholics). These are all ways to broaden your circle and also gain new perspectives on the greater recovery community.
By regularly attending a variety of these meetings, you can establish lasting connections with like-minded individuals and find friends who are also committed to maintaining their sobriety.
Another option to consider is joining sober events in your community. Look for local organizations or clubs that host alcohol-free activities. These events can range from social gatherings to fitness classes or even art workshops.
A new development in many areas is completely sober bars and nightclubs, with both the sober curious and those devoted to lives in recovery coming to meet and enjoy mocktails, live music, and one another’s company.
By participating in these activities, you will not only meet new people but also have the opportunity to engage your support group in enjoyable and meaningful experiences together, without the presence of drinking or drug use to diminish the collection of cherished memories.
If you’re looking for a more diverse range of sober activities, consider using apps like Meet Up. This platform allows you to connect with groups who share similar interests and hobbies, and many of these groups have a focus on a sober lifestyle.
Many social media platforms also host sober groups and can be a useful place to look for local gatherings and events.
Whether you enjoy hiking, cooking, or book clubs, there is likely a sober group near you pursuing these activities. This is a fun and great way to expand your social circle while exploring new interests at the same time.
A recreational sports league can also be a great idea, but be sure to find a team whose members are also in addiction recovery, or who are clear on your desire to avoid going to the bar after a winning home run!
4) No Matter Where You Live, Recovery is There Too
In some cases, you may find it challenging to find local options for sober activities and groups, especially if you live in a very rural or remote area. In such situations, exploring online groups and communities can be a viable alternative.
Online platforms provide a wealth of resources for individuals in recovery, including forums and virtual meetings where you can connect with others who are also focused on their sobriety and mental health.
Participating in these online communities can help you build lasting friendships, and gain valuable connections for sober support, even from the comfort of your own home. Plus, if you do decide to pursue our next suggestion of travel, you have a built-in group of folks from all over the country (and the world) who can potentially host a visit or suggest the best local attractions!
For those seeking a unique opportunity to meet sober friends, consider incorporating sober tourism into your plans. Sober tourism is a growing trend in both the US and globally that offers individuals the chance to explore new destinations while staying in environments that support their recovery.
There are travel agencies and retreat centers specifically designed for individuals in recovery, and they often organize group activities and excursions, and volunteer groups, providing an ideal setting for developing new friendships.
Lastly, if you’re planning a cruise, vacation, or trip abroad, it’s worth considering how you can make sober connections during your travels. Reach out to the cruise line or travel agency beforehand and inquire about any sober-friendly activities or events they may offer.
Many cruises offer AA meetings and often advertise them with signs that refer to ‘The Friends of Bill W,’ so these can be worth keeping an eye out for when roaming the seas.
Some cruises and resorts even have dedicated spaces and activities for individuals in recovery, creating opportunities for socialization as part of the itinerary. Additionally, when you’re exploring a new city or country, it is wise to seek out local support groups or meetings where you can connect with others in the area who are also committed to sobriety.
Making Sober Connections: 6 More Tips to Help On the Way
Now that you have some ideas on where to find potential new sober friends, let’s discuss how to go about meeting people and making meaningful connections with them. Here are a few of our favorite tips:
- Be open and honest: When meeting new people, it’s important to be open and honest about your journey in recovery. By sharing your experiences, you create a sense of authenticity that can help foster deeper connections. Plus, you never know when hearing an element of your story can help someone else!
- Listen actively: Developing strong relationships requires active listening. Show genuine interest in what others have to say, and make an effort to understand their perspectives and experiences patiently.
- Offer support: Building sober friendships is a two-way street. Be there for others, offer support when needed, and celebrate their soberversaries and other milestones. By being a supportive friend, you strengthen the bond between you both!
- Participate in activities together: Engage in activities that you both enjoy. Whether it’s going for a hike, attending a yoga class, or trying out a new hobby, spending time together doing things you love can strengthen your friendship.
- Respect boundaries: Each individual has their own boundaries and comfort levels. Respecting these boundaries is crucial in maintaining healthy friendships. Always communicate openly about personal boundaries and be mindful of them.
- Stay accountable: Encourage each other to stay on track with your sobriety goals. Having a reliable and understanding friend who can offer support during challenging times is invaluable.
Remember, making sober friends in real life is a process that takes time. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t immediately find your perfect group of friends. Keep exploring different avenues for finding sober friends and remain open to the possibilities.
Friendships based on sobriety can be incredibly fulfilling and supportive as you navigate your recovery journey.
At SOBRLIFE Clothing, we are dedicated to shattering the stigma around alcohol and substance use disorders. Our fresh and clean sober clothing looks are designed for everyone who embraces a sober lifestyle.
Wearing SOBRLIFE Clothing can also be a great conversation starter and a wonderful way to meet new friends, particularly those who are also committed to living a life free from drugs and alcohol. Join us in promoting a supportive and inclusive sober community, and shop SOBRLIFE today!