10 years ago when I was dating a drummer in a band (insert eye roll) and was hanging out with a faster than a soccer mom crowd. I met a woman who was in this circle, she dated one of the guys and I thought we could be friends. I make friends naturally and she was smart, fun, crazy, and extremely successful in her business.
I called her one time outside of the circle and outside of drinking to see if she wanted to go for sushi, and again one other time to go for a walk on the beach. Both times she said she couldn’t she’d been partying to hard and had to catch up on work as shit was hitting the fan and she didn’t want to drink. I hadn’t asked her to go drinking I’d asked her to hit up sushi and go for a walk. I was trying to make a friend but how she took our friendship, it had revolved around partying.
A few weeks later we were out and she was flying high as a kite and made a pass at me and when I refused, things got awkward, and out of control. I left the party, very uncomfortably.
Much later that night she called me up screaming so violently into the phone that she really didn’t need to call she could have just yelled outside from across the bridge. She had no use for our friendship never wanted to go get sushi with me and hated the fact I had a kid why in the fuck would she ever want to hang out with someone like me.
Wow I was stunned, a little hurt but I also realized that was the addiction talking. I put a hard and fast boundary around her. When she called again, which was some weeks later, my son answered the phone (welcome to landlines) and I refused to take her call and just hung up the phone. I have no idea what she wanted.
Why she popped into my head today, I was thinking of Friendships. This was the last friendship with a woman that I tried to make before I got sober. After that I tended to shy away from women friends.
When I got sober I didn’t have a lot of friends, just drinking acquaintances and I was lonely. About 4 months in I voiced out loud to my outpatient group I was lonely and everyone looked at me like yeah and? I was right where I was supposed to be. No one could tell me where to find sober friends.
This is what I teach in Fit and Sober, it’s not about finding sober friends its about creating a life you love and attracting friendships.
So off I went on the quest to find friends, follow up to my Outpatient Program, AA & Refuge Recovery but other than talking about not drinking, I never really clicked with anyone. The other issue for me was all these meetings I attended were fuelled by gossip & drama, which is so not my jam. In addition (this is second hand and just my opinion ) but anyone I know who has gone, made friends and relapsed the friends go away. It’s understandable, everyone needs to preserve their recovery and set boundaries but it just seemed fickle to me. I believe all meetings work, you may meet some great people but it’s about quitting drinking and staying sober, I was looking for friends though.
I have gone to sober retreats and the women were great and some had amazing bonds through this but that’s not what happened to me. I know I’m different, I always have been it’s one of the reasons why I drank, to fit in.
Also remember when setting out to meet people, you can have different groups for different reasons. One or two people don’t need to be everything to you for every reason.
Your inner circle needs to be and more than just the connection of not drinking
So what to do now: my sober list was exhausted almost 6 months into sobriety and I’ve met sober acquaintances but no friends. So I started working on a list of things I love to do and consistently show up.
- The gym has been my therapy ( and my job) for years so I chose too take a class ( my choice was spin) and I show up 3 days a week. Guess what I met 2 friends here one is a fitness competitor and one is in recovery (yep)
- I craft so I started going to scrapbook meetups
- I am currently taking a photography course
- I love to bike so I joined a women mountain bike group last summer
- I love cats so I volunteered at a cat shelter.
- I invested in a business mastermind last year
- I joined a business network group
- I took a cooking class
- I joined a yoga studio
- Joined online sober groups
You get the picture, now start your list what do you want to explore, what do you like to do that interests you?
Ok so out of all of this I have formed 5 close new friends, that aren’t in recovery, I have 2 amazing friends that I’ve known for more than 15 years, and really worked on rebuilding my friendships with but I also now have 4 close sober friends, plus a therapist that I can call on when I need to around sober people or recovery support.
Remember real friends don’t care if you don’t drink.
Comment below how you’ve made friends while being in recovery.
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