Finding your people

Caggie Dunlop | April 2022 | 8 minutes

In this blog, Caggie shares how her sobriety offered her deeper connections, both with drinkers and non-drinkers.

Drinking is seen as a social thing; so, a lot of fear can arise when adopting a more sober-curious lifestyle, especially around socialising and finding your people. The truth is as we get older, our friendships will shift and change. A big part of my Saturn Return journey was accepting this and mourning the friendships that I no longer felt aligned with. It's the thing I get asked most about, by fans of the podcast; "How will I find my community?" 

I believe that when you start living in alignment with your values, and your truth, your people will find you. Once I made the choice to live a sober-curious lifestyle, my life changed dramatically. My career progressed, my body changed, and I became more balanced. My health benefited leaps and bounds. I stopped my self-sabotaging ways, but with all the positives, my friendships did change, and many fell away. Those who I had bonded with during my partying days, I suddenly had less in common with. I wanted to cultivate a life that I wanted to stand by, and I knew I needed to make changes in my life to achieve this.

I craved enriching conversations with people, and meaningful connections as opposed to surface level ones. With no alcohol to fuel conversations, you are left feeling exposed and vulnerable. Will people really like me for me? The answer, painfully, may not always be 'yes'. However, once I stepped into this space, people who understood me and had similar interests and views on life, appeared in my life in all kinds of ways. But most crucially connections were made through the podcast. Most of my recent new friendships are with people who don't really drink. Strangely it seemed to be a happy coincidence. Funnily enough when you both don't drink you tend not to talk about drink at all. Equally, I have been on trips abroad with friends and groups of people who do drink, and while it might sound daunting, I had the most fun ever, while remaining completely sober.

Drinking, or not drinking, does not define you. Nor those you hang out with. Abstaining allows me to better discern who I want in my life, and even if it's a smaller number, the richness of those friendships is so much greater than fair-weather friends. The deeper inquiry for me was letting go of the idea of needing to be liked and loved by all. The community of people who align with the most authentic version of yourself, comes when you show up for yourself. I believe there can sometimes be a period of exile in this process as you shift from who you used to be, to who you are becoming. And there is always space in between. This space requires trust. Sometimes we need to step out of circles or groups that are no longer serving us or aligned with our values, and although this sounds terrifying, remember you are not alone. 

As far as actively seeking those people out, do all the things you want to do and don't be afraid to go it alone, whether it is an event, an exhibition, a gig or even a film. You will be surprised who you will end up meeting by turning up alone, with nothing to lose by saying hello. There is also a plethora of groups across social media who are sober. For example, Sober Girls Society organise events where members of their community can meet each other. My number one tip on finding your people is this:

Show up authentically, and the right people will gravitate towards you

Caggie Dunlop is the host of Saturn Returns - a podcast that explores how to be your authentic self in the face of challenges.

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