Socializing Without Alcohol

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For some of us, alcohol makes us extroverted, fun, and the life of the party. People around us do not know we are struggling with a crippling addiction. As men, we may feel the need to mask our pain by essentially functioning as free entertainment for the party or patrons at a bar. Once we enter recovery, we may find that those traits do not represent our true self, which can be distressing. Learning that we are actually more introverted isn’t a bad thing, and it’s worth noting that alcohol may not have made us all that fun to be around (even if it seemed that way).

Finding Your Sober Identity

You might not know the type of person you are while sober, and if you do, you might not like them. So, you drink. It’s easier to handle yourself and how you feel around others when you drink. However,  now that you’ve gotten help, you can’t use alcohol as a mask anymore. Now, you need to learn to be yourself around others without alcohol, whatever that means. Those with addiction sometimes lose themselves entirely to the substance. They have let their use become a part of their identity and feel completely lost without it.

In early recovery, you’ll need to rebuild a sense of identity. You’ll need to relearn your morals and values, build up new interests, and feel comfortable in your own skin again. This will be a challenge, but newfound self-confidence and self-esteem are the rewards. You won’t need to hide your insecurities behind a bottle. Over time, you’ll begin to feel secure again through hard work.

Meeting People Like You

A significant first step towards learning how to socialize sober is meeting other sober people. Whether they are sober through choice or simply don’t rely on substances to have a good time, filling your life with people who live as you do will make it easier to navigate your social life. The best way to do this is to join a support group for sober people. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meet weekly and allow you to connect with people who might have had a similar journey as you.

Another great way to meet sober people is by participating in hobbies or sports specifically for people in sobriety. There might be a group for sober hikers or a group of sober people who watch movies together every Friday. If there isn’t a group like that in your area, consider making one.

Taking on New Hobbies

If you’ve filled your time by hanging out at the bar, try to fill that time instead with trying new things. Hobbies are a great way to try something new while also meeting other people. Find something to do in your community, whether that be a new sport or a new craft. Joining these activities will give you a chance to build new connections with like-minded individuals. There are plenty of new things to try.

Another excellent idea is to take a class or attend a meeting. Many courses tend to have the first class free, allowing you to try something new without worrying about committing first. If you want to try it further, you can always talk to the instructor or facilitator about rates. Many groups for hobbies meet weekly, giving you a chance to fill your schedule with fun activities.

Falling in Love With Partying Sober

Being sober doesn’t mean giving up on parties completely. You can still attend gatherings and social events as a sober person. What will take time is feeling comfortable at events that might have alcohol. When you plan to attend an event that might stress you out or make you feel socially anxious, decide how you plan to cope. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to attend that event without breaking your sobriety, then it’s best to sit it out. However, attending events will become easier for you as you learn and practice healthy coping methods over time.

If you want to attend that get-together, but you’re worried about maintaining your sobriety, then make a plan. There will be some obstacles that are common at parties. For instance, you might get asked why you aren’t drinking, or there might not be alternative beverages to alcohol such as seltzer or a soda. Bring your own beverage if you’re worried that there won’t be drinks for you. It helps to have a beverage in hand at parties because others ask fewer questions. Parties can still be fun sober.

If you’re not used to socializing sober, it can feel daunting. You might be a person who feels nervous during social gatherings. You might feel like you need alcohol to open up or be fun, but now that you are sober,  you can’t use alcohol to survive social situations. It isn’t impossible to have fun sober. Sobriety makes things better. You get to enjoy new social situations with fresh eyes. It’s okay to be around others and be your most authentic self without picking up a drink.

It can be challenging at first to navigate your social life if you’re not used to making connections without a drink in your hand. It takes practice, and it takes building up your self-esteem and confidence. You are a person worthy of friendship and meaningful connection. People can love your authentic self. To learn more about socializing sober, call Jaywalker Lodge today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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