Friendship and sobriety don’t always go hand-in-hand, especially when much of your social life has previously been centered around drinking. The idea of having to turn down a drink at a party might just seem too embarrassing or, even worse, tempting. Instead of turning your back on fun and hanging out with friends, follow these four tips on how to have friends without relapsing.
Remove toxic friends from your life
Sometimes without even realizing it, we can surround ourselves with people who don’t have our best interests at heart. Instead of spending time with friends the encourage you to just have one drink, rekindle past relationships that don’t rely on alcohol as a social lubricant. It will be hard to say goodbye to friends who you share memories with and are accustom to, but in the long run, you’ll be thankful that you don’t have to deal with social pressure and subsequent anxiety to drink.
Have a difficult conversation
Once you’ve removed the friends from your life that don’t have your well being in mind, turn to the friends that have been there for you and be honest about your needs. Explain that you don’t feel comfortable around alcohol and you’d prefer to participate in nonalcoholic activities. While it might feel uncomfortable and embarrassing to have an honest conversation, by doing so you’ll set the tone for how you spend time with your friends in the future. The people you want in your life won’t shy away from your honesty and ideally you’ll develop a richer friendship.
Find a replacement activity
Habits are familiar and easy to slide back into. Like a former smoker that still feels the need to have something in their hands to replicate the tactile experience of smoking, look for a way to spend your time that will provide you with a similar experience that is much less dangerous and harmful for your health. Instead of drinking with friends, get together for coffee at a local acoustic performance or go old school and find the best milkshake drive thru in your city or town for a late night trip that won’t leave you asking what you did last night.
Choose a new community
After pairing down your friendships, you might find that you don’t have as many friends to hang out with as you had previously, leaving you with loose ends and open Friday nights. Instead of reverting back to old habits or getting down on yourself for having nothing to do, look for new communities that match your interests, both in-person and online. If you’re secretly into books, maybe take on a few volunteer hours at your local library, providing you with an opportunity to giveback and indulge in the weirdly enjoyable scent of musty old library books. If you’d rather stay at home, look for online forums and social media groups that are particular to an interest of yours and begin conversations with like-minded people.
You never know if someone across the country might end up being your biggest cheerleader and supporter during your journey of sobriety.
While it might be challenging, having friends and staying sober is definitely possible. If you choose to approach your friendship mindfully, you’re sure to develop friendships that are genuine and don’t require alcohol to be fun.
Rehab After Work offers outpatient group therapy for those recovering from substance abuse. We are committed to helping those suffering from addiction and their families, offering hope and a chance at a new life. Call today or visit us online to see how our supportive counselors can help you!