Here’s Why Sobriety Does Not Mean the End of Your Social Life


I hope you have read Caleb Andersen‘s earlier article “How to Manage Your Anger in Sobriety” which focused on ways you or someone you know, could seek help and learn how to control and manage your emotional and mental stress. In today’s article, Caleb Andersen highlighted the various ways a person could still continue their social life positively, without the fear of embarrassment or negative characterisation.

Once again, as part of his work with Recovery Hope, Caleb is offering insights and support for those who may be struggling. You can reach him directly at or visit the Recovery Hope website ( for more details, to contribute to their projects, or to lend a helping hand. – Ron WZ Sun


Here’s Why Sobriety Does Not Mean the End of Your Social Life

The obstacles facing recovering addicts after undergoing treatment are many. It is important that those in recovery, as well as their friends and family, do not take these obstacles lightly. However, having a healthy social life centered around a ‘recovery identity’ has been proven to reduce the chance of relapse. Therefore figuring out how to maintain healthy, sober social connections is of the utmost priority for those who have recently completed treatment.

Be Honest with Yourself

The steps which lead to recovery are, in fact, missteps. These missteps, whether they include public embarrassments or not, have a lasting impact on the psyche of the addict. Often, these scars mean that an addict loses faith in themselves to abstain, particularly at social events, and the guilt of past lapses can make social interactions even more daunting than the specter of sobriety itself. After all, substances and fun are linked in the minds of many addicts, and overcoming this perceived connection is the first step in enjoying a sober life.

Feelings of regret and guilt must be acknowledged before properly undertaking the lifelong task of learning to socialize while sober. If these emotions are treated with disregard or even minimized, an addict may be overwhelmed when they do arise, making it more likely that they will reach for a drink or another vice. Several activities have been suggested to help cope with these difficult emotions. Once one feels comfortable with their acceptance and release of guilty feelings, they can take the next step toward establishing their social life once again.

Avoiding Old Faces and Places

For some people, addiction represents unhealthiness amidst an otherwise fulfilling life. Not all addicts arrived at their rock bottom because of who they chose to hang around with, or the places they chose to make their hangout. For others, it is more apparent who are influences that encourage addictive behavior, and where they tend to be.

In either scenario, making the decision to avoid people and places – whether it is an old high school friend or the local watering hole – who trigger cravings is imperative if sobriety is to be maintained. Finding replacement activities, acquaintances, and locations which promote sobriety while still providing the positive effects of social interaction is one of the first steps in re-socializing without a substance as a crutch.

Consider the Dog

When it comes to finding a new routine which allows you to meet new people, see familiar faces, and feel good about your social life, exercise is often a reliable central theme. Joining a sports league or sticking to a routine revolving around the gym are popular ways that many use to pave the road to a new life.

For others, activities which they can share with their dog may prove an open door to a new social community. Your loyal best friend will provide no-strings companionship and a sense of normalcy and familiarity, but dogs’ value to recovering addicts goes beyond mere companionship.

Dogs provide a context for social interaction which is low-pressure, and canines can serve as one of many replacements for your former substance of choice. Dog parks are often full of people who are happy, and in many cases eager, to interact with you, and it can be a comfortable safety net for those looking to get a sober social life on track.

If you don’t have a dog, or aren’t allowed to own one, consider taking on a dog-walking job or applying at a doggy daycare, either of which can provide the added benefit of a modest paycheck.


There is no hiding from this fact: if you are serious about sobriety, your social life will look far different after completing treatment. If it looks too similar, that likely means you are falling back into old, destructive patterns of behavior. However, a change in your social life should be eagerly embraced, overwhelming as it may be. Establishing a new routine is not easy, but it is rewarding, and it is one of the first steps in adhering to the new life you envisioned when you entered recovery.

By Caleb Andersen



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