How to Make Friends Without Alcohol

Hanging Out With Friends That Drink As a Recovering Alcoholic

How to Make Friends Without Alcohol

In sobriety, hanging out with friends who drink can be difficult, especially when the number one priority is staying sober.

How to Stay Sober in Early Recovery

In early recovery from alcoholism, it can be important to just avoid contact with friends. During this time, you can figure out how many of your crowd are actually friends, or just people that you would want to drink with.

If you don’t have anything in common besides the fact that you used to throw back some shots, you don’t have to worry about hanging out with these people anymore. Instead, pay attention to those that are true friends and can support you during the transition.

A question to ask yourself is whether or not you are missing these people or if you are just bored and want someone to hang out with. Some soul searching during this period of recovery can be beneficial as you move forward.

Whether you’ve received alcohol addiction treatment in Phoenix or you’re from any other part of the country, you will need to follow it up with emotional support and physical support.

Having support in early recovery can help you learn from the mistakes and failures of others and know that there is success. If you could be relapsing, having support may help you get a dark place.

Dealing with the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol addiction is difficult enough without having to deal with unnecessary extra temptation.

Learning to Re-engage Without Alcohol

It may take some work to maintain friendships while sober, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There are ways to maintain these friendships that don’t just mean drinking. First, try some day activities.

A lot of drinking takes place at happy hours and during the nighttime hours, so switching to daylight activities can help make it easier to avoid drinking. Be honest with your friends.

If they are true friends, they should understand what you’re facing and honesty is a great way to help a friendship go forward. You can just spend some time talking as you start to reengage and don’t need to put pressure on coming up with some activities.

Find other common interests. New common interests with old and new friends can help you stay away from bars and discover all the fun there is in a sober lifestyle.

What to Do When Hanging Out with People That Drink

While you may be discovering some new friends in your new sober life, it doesn’t mean that you can’t hang out with your friends that still drink. Meeting up at a bar may not be the best idea if you are newly sober, but if you have been sober for a while, being in recovery doesn’t mean you can’t go to a bar. You have to know your boundaries and your limits.

If meeting up at a bar is too much for you, suggest a different meeting place. You can meet friends for coffee, go to friends’ homes for dinner and binge watching the latest shows, or explore other activities that your city has to offer. There are a lot of activities that you can do. Try bowling or the movies.

There are plenty of sober activities that you may have even forgotten about.

You can also make friends that don’t drink. The 12 Step Program meetings are a good way to expand your network of sober friends and any support group can compliment other forms of behavioral therapy.

So have some options of hanging out with some friends you know won’t put any pressure on you.

You can volunteer in groups where you have an interest to not only get involved in your community, but also meet some more people that have shared hobbies.

Dealing with Peer Pressure and Alcohol

The safest way of dealing with peer pressure is cutting out any influence that is tempting you to drink. However, this may not work for some of your friends. Don’t hesitate to refuse.

Someone may not understand the realities of living sober and can take hesitation as a sign of uncertainty and still press the issue.

When you have to attend an event where drinking is involved, sipping on a non-alcoholic drink as an alternative can give people the illusion you are drinking and can help reduce peer pressure.

Everyone deserves a second chance. 2nd Chance Treatment Center gives our patients the opportunity to achieve a lasting recovery and promises to offer treatment that inspires a lasting change. Invest in yourself by calling (602) 464-9576 now. Now serving patients in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Glendale, Chandler and Mesa.

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Tips for Sober Introverts to Reconnect Post-Pandemic

How to Make Friends Without Alcohol

As someone who leans more toward introversion, I’ve always relied on alcohol to get me through awkward social situations, which means basically all situations. 

Now that I’ve stopped drinking, it feels a whole new world out there. Giving up alcohol reminds me of when I stopped smoking many years ago. Suddenly I had no idea what to do with my hands since they were no longer occupied by a cigarette. Giving up drinking is a little different though— rather than just my hands, I don’t know what to do with all of me. 

For introverts, socializing is always tricky. And socializing after getting sober can be even more difficult since you are wading into new territory of having to possibly make things awkward with your non-drinking status.

Plus, let’s face it, the pandemic lockdown has been a lot less stressful for those of us who consider ourselves introverts.

But as the world reopens and we actually want to venture outside, we may not know how to approach reconnecting with the loved ones we haven’t seen in over a year. 

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And so, I reached out to some experts for advice on how to manage social situations and maintain sobriety as an introvert. Here are their tips:

1. Assess the situation

Certain situations carry more inherent risk, said c, vice dean at the University of Ottawa and a professor of communication who specializes in substance use and treatment. 

“Is drinking going to be the focus of the situation or is it going to be in the background? A bar is going to be different from a barbecue,” she said. “You have to think through where you are in your recovery and determine if this is going to be a good place for you.”

Lennox Terrion recommends asking yourself how risky the situation will be for your sobriety, examining the setting or context, and thinking about who you will be with. Then determine how safe it is for you to be there—in some cases, you might not want to go at all. 

2. Make a plan. 

Having a plan is essential, said Lennox Terrion. That includes planning in advance what you’re going to drink—maybe you’ll want to bring your own non-alcoholic alternative—or thinking about what you’ll order.  

Basically, you want to avoid any surprises. As a person who has been known to order something I didn’t really want, simply because I was caught off guard at a restaurant, this very much resonates.

“If you haven’t made a plan, it’s harder to hold your resolve,” she said. 

3. Words matter. 

The fact that you’re not drinking doesn’t have to be anyone’s business but your own. 

If you decide you do want to talk about it though, the way you approach the topic might organically lead to more conversation about it. It’s up to you to determine your comfort level with these discussions and whether or not you want to have them. 

Something No thanks, I’m driving will probably stop there, while 

I’m re-evaluating my relationship with alcohol will ly lead to more probing questions. 

“There are so many ways to say you’re not drinking—you’re making healthier choices, you’re sober curious,” said Lennox Terrion. “But each of these does open a door, and you need to think ahead of time if it’s a door you’re willing to go through. Sometimes you might open up a conversation that you didn’t want to have.” 

4. Evaluate your social group. 

Your friendships are valuable, and you want to surround yourself with people who are going to support your sobriety in vulnerable times, not people who will endanger it. Be very honest with yourself about the people you’re hanging around.

“A lot of introverts use alcohol to socialize and loosen up, and their friends know that,” said Dr.

Tarra Bates-Duford, a licensed family and marriage counselor and the founder of Family Matters Counseling Group in Raleigh, N.C., and Orlando, Fla.

“So if you have friends who drink to have fun, and they know drinking is part of your socialization process, is it a good idea to be spending time with them right now?”

5. Find a buddy. 

Once you’ve assessed your friendships, find a trusted buddy who will act as your wing person as you navigate these spaces. Kind of an accountability buddy for exercise, but someone who is going to keep you on the sobriety path you want to be on.

“Pair up with another introvert or someone who might be an extrovert that you trust,” said Bates-Duford. “Be honest with them and say, ‘I’m working toward my sobriety. I know I’m going to be tempted, and I want you to hold me accountable. If someone offers me something, I want you to be that support for me.’”

6. Trust your feelings

Introverts excel at evaluating their own emotions, said Bates-Duford. When you’re in social situations and feel tempted or tested, examine your feelings. 

“Try to tease out why you’re contemplating that drink,” she said. “Are you trying to connect with others? Or are you doing this for yourself? What makes you think you can’t connect any other way? Is there any other road to that destination?”

More than just examining your feelings, be willing to honor them as well. If you’re seeking connection, figure out how you can find it without the crutch of alcohol (which won’t actually give you that really connection anyway). If you’re feeling completely off in a social situation, do you need to leave? 

When a situation becomes too much of a threat to your sobriety, leave. 

“If you can’t remove the alcohol, then remove yourself,” said Bates-Duford. 

When you honor your feelings you learn to trust yourself, which strengthens your resolve to remain alcohol-free.

 * * *

All of this sounds a bit daunting at first. But the goal—especially for the newly sober and the sober-curious—is to assess the situation, acknowledge your triggers, and do whatever it takes to preserve your wellbeing. Ultimately, these strategies will make going out easier and more fun and far less stressful. It just takes practice.


How To Loosen Up Without Alcohol

How to Make Friends Without Alcohol

My article “I’m Not An Alcoholic, But Here’s How I Knew I Needed To Stop Drinking” on MindBodyGreen has brought on some questions from readers. How does socializing work now that I am alcohol free? Do I still go to bars and sit with friends even though I’m no longer drinking? How do I loosen up without alcohol?

Social interaction is huge. We all need that human connection. I too struggled with how I was going to loosen up without alcohol. It had been my only way for so long that I wasn’t sure I could do it alcohol free. I made two commitments to myself – first that I was going to be present for my friends and second is that I leave when its time.

Be present.

Being present with friends means enjoying them, making space for them and being present for them. This is my path to the most fulfilling evening.

It’s not being distracted by alcohol, a cell phone or the television. When you loosed up without alcohol you see less wasted time.

Instead of waiting for your tongue to loosen up so you can talk “freely” you are able to engage in an actual authentic conversation and connection while you are of sound mind.

My book has an excellent section that talks about socializing without alcohol and how our inhibitions are actually beneficial to us.

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If you ever observe a scene at a bar you’ll notice that rather than pulling people together in a social setting – alcohol actually seems to drive them apart. Alcohol numbs the brains ability to function, to receive information from your senses to think. It – by its very definition – makes you less present. So your being there, fully and presently is such a gift for your friends.

Also, while alcohol loosens lips it also tends to take away ones ability to listen. The thing is when you talk you don’t learn anything. Spending all your time just blabbing is akin to spending all your time with yourself. Its not actually that fun.

And who do others to be around most? People who listen. People who show interest and that actually makes the conversation so much more fun for you.

 Its incredible how, when you listen you quickly take any conversation beyond surface level – you really connect with another person.

It can be quite disheartening though to have a deep conversation with a friend only to not have them remember a word you said because they were drinking.


Luckily – since we are such incredibly social animals – not drinking actually has an impact on how much or little everyone else drinks. It’s suggestive and unconscious but in my own experiences if I order another drink, so does my friend. If I order a club soda – my friend nurses their drink or maybe even joins me with a club soda. Peer pressure exists way beyond high school, it seems.

Whether you are in your 20’s and social interaction takes place at bars or in your 30’s and 40’s where backyard fire pits, camping trips or business dinners make up your calendar – alcohol still seems to be a common denominator in all these functions. I’ve learned though that I can loosen up without alcohol and enjoy that I am still fully present.

Leave When It’s Time.

In order to enjoy any social event without alcohol it’s important to check out before your friends do. Call it making a cameo appearance but for me it’s time to leave when my friends have left (mentally) even if they are still there physically.

Respecting your own time and not suffering through the misery of speaking to someone who is trashed is incredibly empowering. Loosening up without alcohol means being able to recognize when your friends are no longer fully there.

Their eyes are glassy, they can’t stand up, they are repeating themselves – their brains have been hijacked and they can’t relate to you in a meaningful way anymore. Any connection you might have had earlier is no longer there.  

Sadly, they won’t even notice when you go home.

They have checked out already and it’s no longer significant who is there. It’s easier to notice that this shift is taking place when you’re not drinking – even if everyone else is pacing themselves because of you.

The conversations stop being enjoyable, behavior starts to get sloppy or rude and you start to get uncomfortable watching the night and people’s action unfold. That is my cue to be thankful for the reminder of how I used to be and I go home to bed grateful. I loosened up without alcohol, enjoyed myself and went back home without regrets.

The day is done, you have nothing to worry about, you just get to relax… I can’t believe I missed it for so many years.

 Falling asleep, getting cozy in bed with a good book is such a NICE feeling! I know I’m not going to wake up in the morning wondering what I did or said, my head won’t be pounding and I won’t be embarrassed. To me that self dignity is worth more than anything else in the world.

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How To Have A Social Life Without Alcohol

How to Make Friends Without Alcohol

If you're not a fan of drinking and would rather your social life not revolve around it, you're not alone.

Whether you just don't alcohol, or need to avoid it to stay sober, the good news is it's totally possible to have a busy and rewarding social life without getting buzzed or drunk all the time.

This article will cover a few quick, simple principles for how to do that.

This piece is about how to structure your social life so drinking doesn't come into the picture. A related article is about how to avoid being pressured to drink if you do find yourself somewhere where the booze is flowing.

Figure out what amount of drinking you are willing to be around

Many people who they say they want to avoid alcohol in their social life aren't opposed to all drinking among their friends.

They just don't events that hinge on hanging out and getting drunk, and they often don't enjoy the loud, rowdy, crowded parties and clubs where that usually happens.

They'd have no problem if their friends had a glass of wine or two during a low-key dinner party, or nursed a beer over an afternoon at a board game cafe.

Try to learn where the line is for you. It will let you take part in more potentially fun outings, rather than dismissing all of them with «There's alcohol present. I can't go.

» Maybe you're fine going to the pub with your co-workers on a Tuesday when they only have a pint, but don't enjoy their company as much when they want to get wasted after work on Friday.

Of course, if you decide you do want to avoid any and all drinking, that's fine too.

Make friends who either aren't big drinkers themselves or who are willing to do non-drinking-focused things with you

I know it can seem there aren't any fellow non-drinkers around, but they are out there. Even in college. They just aren't announcing it to the world as much as the people who party every weekend. Also, your friends don't have to be non-drinkers to the same degree you are.

They only need to be willing to hang out with you in a non-drinking context.

If you see a good friend twice a week to have dinner or go for a walk, what's it matter if they're also doing their own thing and getting drunk apart from you on Saturday nights? Many social circles have a member or two in them who is on good terms with everyone, and who comes to most events, but takes a pass on the zanier parties.

A good way to meet non-drinking friends is through activities and hobbies where alcohol doesn't come into play…

Center your social life around activities where drinking isn't involved

There are tons of social activities where drinking isn't normally done or is only done in moderation. Combining drinking with some pastimes is even downright dumb and infeasible. If you do them then you'll get to hang out with people and naturally keep alcohol the equation. Here are few:

Day-to-day activities

  • Going shopping with a friend
  • Having coffee
  • Meeting people for brunch, lunch, or an early dinner (sometimes there will be drinking, but often not)
  • Going for a walk
  • Hanging around someone's house during the day

Sporty activities

  • Any kind of team sport, especially more competitive non-beer leagues (e.g., soccer, volleyball)
  • Most individual sports (e.g., tennis, skiing)
  • Any endurance sports (e.g., running, cycling)

Cultural activities

  • Going to a museum or art gallery
  • Seeing a movie or play
  • Going to a family-friendly music festival during the day

Gaming activities

  • Playing games in a gaming store
  • Playing in a bridge or chess club


  • Any kind of classes (e.g., a figure drawing or cooking class)
  • Dance lessons (that take place at a studio, not a bar)
  • Acting or improv comedy classes

You'll notice that these activities force you to get the house, be active, and be involved in interesting hobbies.

I'm not saying for a second that everyone who enjoys alcohol is boring and one-dimensional, but when your go-to way to hang out with your friends to sit around and drink with them, you can get into a rut where that's all you do.

As a non-drinker you'll often need to have more going on hobby-wise, which is hardly a bad thing.

Shift your social time toward doing things during non-drinking hours

Aside from focusing your social life more around hobbies and activities, realize you're going to be doing more things during the times when people aren't usually drinking. That means during the day and weekday evenings, and not on Friday and Saturday nights.

It's not that you can't do any sober activities during those times if you have the right group of friends, but just accept not as many doors will be open. If you spend all Saturday hiking with some buddies, grab a quick dinner with them on your way back to the city, then head home and relax in the evening, consider that day a success.

Don't feel you're lame or missing out because you don't have plans during the weekend evenings, when everyone is «supposed» to have something booked.


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