I can’t believe it’s been three years since I stopped drinking. I can’t believe alcohol doesn’t have power over my life anymore. I can’t believe I talk about it so openly now. I am so far from who I was. I am so thankful that my story is not one of alcoholism anymore.
In a lot of ways, being sober is very easy. Because I don’t have alcohol muting my brain, I can make better decisions about things. Because I finally decided that I could never drink again, I don’t drink. I am so far removed from that struggle now, that it’s easy.
But there are a lot of ways that it’s very very hard to be a sober person. Our society is all about drinking. From billboards that say “Pour your soul out,” to main characters on shows drinking so much you’d think they were all alcoholics. I was honestly more embarrassed to say no thank you to drinks after I quit than when I was trying to get more alcohol when I was drinking. It’s incredibly lonely at times. I can’t tell you how many memes are shared looking down on sober people or encouraged heavy drinking on my social media feeds. I think finding out I was an alcoholic and am now sober makes some people uncomfortable. It’s so outside of the norm that people don’t want to discuss it.
So here’s what I wish would happen and how you can support your sober friends:
– If you ask someone if they want a drink, whether they’re sober or not, and they say no, don’t ask again.
– Don’t share memes about how you’re boring if you don’t drink or you should have a drink because of XYZ.
– Don’t assume your sober friend doesn’t want to hang out with you while you’re drinking. Some that are trying to stay sober can’t be around drinkers, but some can.
– Celebrate every single milestone your sober friend hits.
– Treat your sober friend the same.
– Make sure you have a good assortment of non-alcoholic drinks at parties.
– Don’t take it personally if they don’t want to hang out with you in certain situations. If they can’t be around other drinkers, it will be hard for them to go to a party. Suggest some non-drinking activities to hang out with your friend.
This isn’t a “all my friends left me, everyone treats me terrible, etc.” post. My friends have been awesome about my sobriety. I am happy with my sobriety. But as I’ve been writing my book, and just made observations, I’ve noticed things that make me realize it’s not right and us sober folks need someone to speak up.
Are you sober? Have you seen any of these things? If you are, what are ways your friends help or hinder your sobriety?
And while you’re at it, hug a sober person today. 😀
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