Making the shift to becoming a non-drinker can be a time filled with irony. We hear that the opposite of addiction is connection yet we find ourselves feeling detached and disconnected when we stop drinking. We stop drinking in order to improve our relationships but we tend to retreat rather than reach out. How do we avoid isolation in sobriety? How can we connect when everything feels awkward, new, and out of place?
How To Avoid Isolation In Sobriety
To avoid isolation in sobriety you need to be proactive in how you’re going to approach this new lifestyle. Yes, everything feels new and out of place but it won’t be that way forever. You can do this and I’m going to offer you a few steps to guide you along the way.
Awareness Is Vital
It might seem like awareness is the key to everything when you stop drinking because well, it is. That is also true when you’re trying to avoid isolation in sobriety. Tune in and take note of your emotions and thoughts around engaging with others. Are you turning down invitations and opportunities to connect? Retreating from others at home? Why? What are your beliefs, fears, and misgivings? Much as you’ve had to examine your beliefs around alcohol and replace your experiences with it in order to become a non-drinker, you’ll also need to do the same in order to learn how to connect and create relationships without the crutch of alcohol to get you through. That begins with awareness of what is holding you back.
Don’t Make It Weird
You are still you without alcohol. In fact, you’re an even better you. So don’t make it weird. Make sure that people realize this choice is one you have made for yourself and that you are not judging them for choosing differently than you. Breaking down that barrier – the barrier of fear – is huge. Your friends and loved ones are afraid you are going to think poorly of them if they still drink while you’re afraid they will think differently of you now that you no longer drink. Don’t make it weird. Do the things you used to do. Make the jokes. Play the games. What is in your glass does not change the incredible, amazing person you are. This improved version just makes you more loveable!
Try A Fresh Start
One of the greatest ways you can approach making connections as a non-drinker is to start fresh. Try something new with people who didn’t know you as a drinker. Learn a sport, volunteer somewhere, join a book club, or take a cooking class. What you do isn’t really important. Proving to yourself that you can connect and interact with people without alcohol is what is important. A fresh start and no expectations to live up to or live down can be such a great way to boost your confidence as you step out into making alcohol-free connections.
Connect With Us
Are you feeling the isolation in sobriety? Come join us in The PATH where we bring you content, coaching, community, and connection. Learn more and join us today!
Do It On Your Terms
Finally, don’t feel pressured to dive into the work of creating and repairing relationships. The first and most important relationship you need to work on is the one with yourself and with alcohol. So until you feel you are in a place where you are comfortable with that relationship do not feel any obligation to work on any other relationship. Yes, that may initially hurt some feelings but once others see the difference the time you spent on you has made most people will understand why you had retreated for a while. Make sure the connection you have between yourself, your desires, and your beliefs is in tune before you invest in anything else.