• Hannah O'Donnell

Sober Friendships

You are unlikely to have any or many sober friends when you start your AF life and unless you are proactive about developing sober friendships it’s unlikely they will just emerge.

People are far more open about being AF these days compared to the time when I first became sober over 7 years ago. Nevertheless you may not feel entirely comfortable at the outset seeking friends via social media etc. or sober websites and that’s ok. In the early days it may be enough to simply read posts rather than try and strike up fast friendships. The sites and channels offer reassurance that you are not alone in how you feel about wanting an AF life. Over time some people’s views and comments will resonate more with you and they might be worth contacting by DM if you think you perhaps have things in common.

Social media is great for connecting to lots of people but not necessarily useful for developing friendships so it might be worth joining online sober website or groups, attending virtual workshops, going to sober events or meet-ups. Whilst this may sound daunting let’s not forget that those who choose to become sober are usually doing this on their own so these workshops, events etc are literally filled with individuals who want to meet others. You will not be alone on your own! If you are anxious about a F2F event, ask the organisers if they can support you when you arrive. A good event should be able to offer this sort of support.

My sober friendship group has evolved over time. Just like other friendships some may become enduring whilst others are far more context dependent. People you meet or keep in touch with in the early days may not be people you continue to keep in touch with as time goes by. It can be particularly disruptive if you develop a sober friendship only for the other party to relapse. This can feel threatening to your in sobriety. I found it very hard to maintain those friendships over time though one did survive, and I will blog about handling that situation soon.

In the meantime don’t assume that you will maintain the same friendships from your drinking days once you become AF, though many old friends will still remain and don’t frame that as a bad thing. Living well sober does mean that we step way out of our comfort zone and we can’t do it alone so building sober friendships is so important.

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