Being newly clean and sober has its ups and downs.
If we are honest, in the beginning it can be a bummer. There are so many questions tied together with so many anxieties when it comes to socializing sober. Who am I going to be now? Will my friends like me when I’m sober? Should I even keep those friends? How am I going to make new friends? The list can continue from there, but the questions all narrow down to one–how can I socialize sober?
These anxieties and wariness are all part of the process. You are not alone.
It is important to realize that socializing sober isn’t as big and scary as it seems. At first, it can be best to start smaller, avoiding social scenes that involve large crowds, clubs, bars, etc. The recovery community has so much to offer the newly sober individual. While meetings are not the place for socializing, they do provide fellowship. You can get plugged in with like-minded people who have similar goals. Many of these people will be new in sobriety, like yourself, and others will have some time under their belt. It is the perfect opportunity to commune with and learn from the people who are experiencing success in recovery. Not only will you be able to learn from these situations, but your presence will also offer hope to the next person coming in.
Your social life does not have to be limited to the recovery scene.
There will be opportunities all around you to make new acquaintances and friends, in the workplace and school. You may decide to be open about the fact that you are in recovery, or you may choose to keep that to yourself. Usually our family members and close friends will know, but otherwise, the choice can be up to you. In the event you choose not to disclose, you can always change your mind when you feel more comfortable and confident. Some people may not understand that you cannot successfully “just have one drink.” The upside to it is that you don’t owe anyone an explanation. If that is your truth, it’s okay to own it. You may have heard people use humor, like actor Robert Downey Jr., who was quoted as saying, “I’m allergic to alcohol and narcotics; I break out in handcuffs.”
Whatever you decide to do, know that you can and will have a social life after you get sober.
Sober, you will be the kind of friend and family member that is valued and appreciated, instead of worried and upset about. Socializing sober will likely be a little rocky in the beginning, but it will be so much more rewarding than your old way of life.