When an addict is in the midst of their disease, most of their interactions, social gatherings, and fun hangouts take place while they are under the influence. They might use their drug use as a way to feel more comfortable and relaxed around people or to try to enhance their enjoyment of a party or other activity.
An addict might assume that a sober lifestyle will be boring, or that they will have to spend more time alone to avoid temptation. A major component of recovery is adjusting to sobriety in all aspects of life and especially learning to socialize as a sober person.
As a person goes through group counseling and twelve-step meetings they are more likely to meet like-minded people with whom they can enjoy their sobriety together. It can be a difficult transition at first but eventually, a sober lifestyle will not seem boring and empty, but more fulfilling than you ever realized.
Socializing as a sober person can take many forms and each person may need to find their own unique activities that help them enjoy life without the use of drugs or alcohol. Initially, while in early recovery a former addict will have to rule out certain places, people, or situations that could be triggering for them as part of their social life.
It may seem disheartening to feel that you can no longer go out to bars, tailgate before a football game, go dancing at a club or stay up until morning at a party. Being around these types of triggers, however, can be dangerous especially in the early days of recovering from an addiction.
As you create a mental list of social situations that no longer work for you, it is important to add in positive alternatives that seem appealing. You can begin to think of activities or places that you were never able to get involved with while you were addicted.
Finding a Sober Group
As you learn to socialize sober, you will gradually develop a core group of friends that share the same goals and are looking for fun sober activities as well. These could be people from your twelve-step meetings or simply friends that don’t place much importance on drugs or alcohol.
Many people find that their sobriety allows them to be more active than they had ever been before. You might start to enjoy group sports with your friends, hiking, camping, working out, or other outdoor activities. People who become sober will develop plenty of other passions over time that will help them forget about their former compulsions and reduce cravings or temptation.
Other hobbies such as playing music, getting involved in art or writing, and simply expressing yourself creatively can be a great way to spend time in a group. Classes and clubs can be the type of structured social setting that helps you get started with enjoying yourself while sober. It helps to be as open as possible to new experiences and sample different things until you find something the feels truly interesting and satisfying.
Even though a sober life might sound dull to some people who are still dependent on drugs to have fun, the truth is that life can still be exciting without ever being intoxicated. When you are sober you will find that there is much more to life than alcohol or drugs and there is so much fun to be had that you will not miss your former lifestyle. People often find that they feel more alive when they are clean after sleep-walking through life for years as an addict. Socializing sober will get easier over time with enough persistence and hard work in recovery.