The Role of Sober Friends in Addiction Recovery

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Part of the Complete Guide to Understanding Addiction


The people we socialize with and spend time with have a powerful effect on our personality, interests, and behaviors. We might originally be drawn to certain individuals because they share some of these characteristics with us, but eventually, we rub off on each other and become more and more alike because of the time we spend together. This is why sober friends are so important for recovering addicts.

Understandably, being part of a social circle where abusing drugs and alcohol are the norm can be a huge contributing factor to the development of an addiction. When a former addict begins their recovery journey, many times they will find that their entire social circle is composed of drug and alcohol users – who either led them to substance use, or whom they became acquainted with in the course of their drug and alcohol use.

Since friends have such a powerful effect on us, it’s obviously crucial for someone in early recovery to sever ties entirely with their old drug and alcohol-using friends. This will allow them to protect themselves from their negative influence and keep themselves as strong as possible as they work on their sobriety each day.

The Importance of Sober Friends

It’s not only important to stay away from the wrong people – we also have to make sure to get hooked up with the right people!

It’s well known that socialization is a basic human need. For someone in recovery, having a strong social network of sober friends can make all the difference in the world.

Here are some benefits of having sober friends during recovery:

  • Helps combat loneliness
    One of the major identifying factors of an addiction is the loneliness and isolation it brings. The more someone drinks or uses, alienating the people who truly care about them, the more they retreat into a cave within themselves. When in recovery, we want to go to the opposite extreme – avoiding isolation, and pursuing human connection and open friendship whenever we can.
  • Fills the void
    A substance addiction takes up an inordinate amount of time and energy, and someone in recovery might suddenly find that they have far too much free time on their hands when not using drugs or alcohol! We want to fill that time and void with warm human connections that will strengthen us and leave us feeling motivated and empowered.
  • Leads to healthy hobbies and outlets
    Recovery is about a lot more than mere abstinence from drugs or alcohol – it’s about uprooting old negative thoughts and behaviors, and replacing them with new, healthy ones. Having sober friends and a social life will often lead to us getting involved in wonderful productive new hobbies  – like exercise, music, yoga, cooking, and more.
  • Surrounds you with positive examples
    It’s a lot easier to do the right thing when everyone around you is doing it! When you surround yourself with healthy, like-minded individuals who are all pursuing their recovery, half of the battle is already won. Triggers and thoughts about using won’t bother you nearly as often, as you and your peers engage in discussions and activities that are positive and recovery-focused.
  • Gives you accountability
    There’s nothing like the feeling that someone (or a bunch of someones) has got your back. When you develop meaningful sober friendships and become ensconced in a recovery community, you’ve created a safety net for yourself. People will know you, and will immediately notice red flags when something’s wrong. Should you ever relapse, you have an entire community looking out for you – to catch you as you fall and help you get back on your feet.
 How to Find Sober Friends

We’ve learned about the great importance of sober friends in recovery. You may already be asking the million–dollar question: How do I make sober friends?

Finding lifelong sober friends is really not as hard as it may sound – it’s all about knowing how and where to look. There are a number of things which can help you as you begin building your sober support network – whether it’s attending in–person or online recovery meetings, getting connected on social media, joining sober events like non-alcoholic bars, raves and dance parties, or signing up for a gym or art class. Experiment and find what’s right for you! Below are a few ideas to help you get started.Back to top

12 – Step Meetings

12 – Step Meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous. Narcotics Anonymous and so forth, are hands–down the best way to break into a recovery community and start making sober, stable friends. You can be sure that anyone attending a 12 – Step meeting has similar interests and goals as you in terms of recovery, so it’s fertile ground for building your sober support network.

You can find nearby 12 – Step meetings by logging on to AA’s website and visiting the “Find AA Near You” tab, or by using meeting locator.

Other Support Groups

If you are not working the 12 steps or are looking for other support groups besides the traditional AA and NA, there are many other sober communities where you can get involved and make valuable sober friendships. Sober friends are vital for maintaining sobriety!

Some other support groups are:

SMART Recovery

An international non-profit organization which supports people in recovery from both substance and process addictions. They offer in-person and online meetings, discussions, conferences and events

Recovery Dharma

A non-profit support group which uses Buddhist practices and principles to offer a holistic approach to recovery


A secular support group for people seeking a path to sobriety that does not involve a “higher power”

The Phoenix

A “sober active community” which integrates intensive physical activity into a recovery lifestyle and community

Women for Sobriety

A peer support program for women in recovery from substance use disorder, offering live and online meetings and events

Celebrate Recovery

An American–Christian 12 – step based program for those struggling with, or in recovery from,  substance abuse and behavioral disorders or trauma

Refuge Recovery

A Buddhist–oriented but non-theistic recovery program that is not dependent on a belief in a higher power, founded upon mindfulness and meditative practices

Online Platforms

In a world that has turned increasingly virtual, online groups and social media platforms have become a valuable resource for those seeking companionship and connection. There are countless apps where you can search for local groups and events based on a shared hobby or interest.

Some helpful forums for finding sober friends can be:

  • Facebook groups – Find Facebook groups of like–minded individuals by searching keywords like “sober”, “sobriety”, and “recovery”. Get the conversation started…
  • Meetup – Use this popular and helpful online forum to find hundreds of sober gatherings and events, by searching your interest and location. Join an existing meetup or start your own!
  • Instagram – Searching hashtags mentioning sobriety will yield thousands of posts from like–minded individuals – reach out and get connected!
  • I Am Sober – This is an app which helps you track your sobriety and recovery goals and connect with other people in recovery.
  • Sober Grid – Sober Grid is another jam–packed sobriety app which lets you connect with sober peers in your area and around the world. It also offers a (digital) mental health resource library, and peer support coaching.
  • Loosid – Loosid is a sober dating app which helps sober individuals who are searching for their life partner. It lets people share whether they’re sober for health reasons, or because they’re in recovery.  

Use these apps to help find sober individuals and communities near you – or be a trailblazer, reach out, and start your own😊

Sober Social Events

Another great and sure-fire way to get out there and start making sober friends in recovery is by attending alcohol and drug-free events and venues, like sober bars, sober music raves, and sober dance parties. These events are strictly substance free, and will understandably attract people looking to stay sober while having a great time – people just like you. It’s a great place to meet new people and have some good old-fashioned fun!

There are a few movements dedicated to organizing such sober social entertainment events, and you can visit their websites to learn about the dates and locations of any upcoming events. MorningGloryville and Daybreaker are two such organizations – head over to their sites to find out more about the events and services they offer.

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Conclusion: Sober Friends in Recovery

When striking out to begin your new life in recovery, there are a hundred and one things you must re-learn as you uproot old habits, create new ones, and discover how to live substance-free. It’s the most rewarding work you’ll ever do, but it can be tough – and finding your place in a warm recovery community will be the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Sober friends replace old and damaging relationships, set a positive example, and motivate you to stick it out when the going gets tough. They’ll be able to sympathize with you in a way that no one else can, and they beautify your life as they fill all the spaces that drugs and alcohol used to fill. Investing in solid sober friendships and support systems will improve and help you along your recovery journey, and bring meaning and motivation to everything in your life.

You can use any of the ideas shared above, or use your own inspiration as you start networking. You can still socialize if you don’t drink or use!
If you’d like more guidance on how to stay strong in your sobriety please feel free to reach out!

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