Why sober friends are a game-changer

Catherine Gray | March 2019 | 5 minutes

Sober Spring week one: Sober Spring mastermind and bestselling author Catherine Gray found it hard to find her people when she first went sober - here, she makes the case for alcohol-free friends, and gives tips on how to find yours.

In the picture above I'm with two of my best sober friends, Laurie (middle) and Holly (right).

When I first went alcohol-free back in 2013, I found it really, really hard to find my people. I had two family members who didn't drink, so that was great, but all of my friends were still drinkers. I went to recovery meetings, but didn't find my people there, even though I met loads of lovely humans.

I made lots of online sober friends in the first year, but I was over a year sober before I met any in real life. Even though a fifth of Brits are now teetotal, I just couldn't seem to locate them.

Having sober friends is a game-changer, because quitting alcohol in our alcohol-centric society is hard in the beginning. Until you get used to socialising sober, you feel socially clunky. People try to push you back into drinking. You've grown accustomed to using alcohol to de-clench after a working day. You're breaking a cycle of many years. You feel lonely, in your non-drinking. For me, I'd been drinking for 21 years (from age 12 to age 33), so it's no wonder I found it challenging to go alcohol-free.

Having sober friends is a game-changer, because quitting alcohol in our alcohol-centric society is hard in the beginning.

The opposite to this loneliness is connection. Having teetotal plus ones for parties, having people to text when you're having a wobble, having friends to call when you've experienced a sober win, having people who get how big a deal it is when you hit three months alcohol-free; these are all so important.

This is why Sober Spring is driven towards helping you find your tribe. Alcohol Change UK have just set up a Facebook group for Sober Springers, which you can join now. Or, if you fancy a night out with other alcohol-free people, a night where non-drinking rather than drinking is the centrepiece, there are the Sober Spring x Bumble Sober Socials. The first one is on April 3rd in Shoreditch, London. You can buy tickets here.I'll be there and would love to meet you all.

Whichever way you choose to find people, I hope you do, as it's absolutely worth the effort. Even if all you're comfortable with right now is a bit of online chatting, the act of making those connections, and feeling that people have your back, is a beautiful thing.

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