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How To Find Sober Friends (When You Don’t Know Where To Start)

Sometimes quitting alcohol means completely revamping your social life. Sadly, losing old drinking buddies and other alcohol-centered friendships is not uncommon.

That can be a lonely experience during one of the most challenging and vulnerable periods of a person’s life.

So, where do sober adults go to make new friends?

Many people find their new friend group in recovery programs like AA, but what if you’re not into AA?

What then?

Building your new, sober tribe might take a little time, but there are things you can do to reinvent your social life and have a fulfilling, sober social life.

Join groups and activities that focus on health. 

Health-centered activities are more likely to include people who are either sober or don’t drink much.

Look for ways to connect with people with healthy, shared interests.

Let’s dive into some specific ways to do that.

Two female friends in blue scale hug and smile at the camera. The title reads How to find sober friends
How to find sober friends

1. Find a fitness group or gym.

It’s not uncommon for people in early sobriety to channel their energy into a new fitness routine. Showing up consistently to a gym or fitness class is a great way to find new sober friends

Many fitness studios have a strong, familial culture.

If you find something you are passionate about, this can be a genuinely transformative move for you! 

Examples of fitness programs with strong social cultures include:

  • Crossfit
  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Zumba
  • Hip Hop Step Class
  • Bootcamp
  • Local running or walking clubs
  • Orange Theory
  • Adult sports leagues like co-ed softball or kickball (caution: these can be boozy social scenes so scope them out ahead of time)
  • Whatever sounds fun to you!

Even if alcohol makes its way into a social setting, your connection with these people isn’t based on drinking together. It’s a different dynamic altogether! 

Search for different fitness programs, clubs, and groups in your area, see what interests you, and give it a shot. 

join fitness groups to find sober friends

If you’re unfamiliar with Meetup, it’s an online platform that facilitates “meetups” for people across an infinite range of interests. 

Want to find a local paddleboarding group? They’ve got it. Fancy a fun Silent Disco? If there’s one happening, Meetup will probably have it. 

You can search by topic and find a sober social group in your area or even a niche social group that just sounds fun to you and isn’t going to be centered around drinking.

Examples include healthy cooking groups, home gardening, meditation, and yoga groups. 

Meetup is a great way to get out there and connect with other adults looking to make new social or professional connections. 

3. Explore sober retreats and vacation groups. 

There are so many sobriety and recovery retreats available both domestically and internationally. Depending on your needs (and means), signing up to participate in a recovery-focused getaway in a beautiful location sounds pretty damn good to me! 

Check out Sober Outside or Bigger Life Adventures for different sober vacation options. It’s a great opportunity to see new places without the pressure to drink. 

friends kayaking on a sober vacation outing
find sober vacation groups

4. Go to sober bars and raves.

In recent years, “dry bars” and sober raves have been popping up across the US and other parts of the globe. Bespoke bars with elaborate mocktail menus provide the “going out” vibe without the alcohol and antics.  

They’re nice! If you live in or near a major city, chances are there is one near you. 

Additionally, you can check out sober raves and events like Daybreaker, a super-charged morning rave that is 100% sober.

The common thread through all these strategies for connecting with new sober friends is to remove alcohol from the equation as much as possible.

That’s hard to do when you meet a new person, and they say, “Hey, let’s grab a drink sometime!” 

But it becomes a little easier if you can connect with people over shared interests that don’t inherently involve drinking.

Here are some ideas outside the world of sobriety and health that you can try. 

sober friends doing a cooking class together
find non-alcohol-related classes to find new sober friends

5. Sign-up to take adult classes based on your interests. 

Maybe you’ve been watching HGTV and want to learn how to repurpose old furniture. Find a class in your area that can teach you to do that. 

Want to learn to bake like a Food Network star? You can do that, too!

Sobriety affords you many benefits. Time is one of them. Use it to find something you can busy yourself with while meeting people who share your interests. 

Pursuing your interests is also a great way to safeguard against boredom and rumination, which can lead to relapse

6. Use social media to your advantage.

Take your online relationships offline!

If you participate in online sober communities, like Soberish, reach out to see if there are any members in your area who would like to get together. 

Join niche Facebook groups in your area.

If you’re a parent, try joining a mommy or daddy group (yes, both exist). Look for a local niche group related to your hobbies and engage with people in your community who like the same stuff as you!

Follow your local gym or fitness studio on social media and connect with other members in your area. 

I can’t tell you the number of times in my mommy group that a member posts, “Hi! I’m new here and have zero mommy friends. Does anyone want to get together?” 

People get it and are down to hang out. It’s way scarier to think about reaching out than to do it. 

scrolling social media on phone to find sober groups
utilize your online communities to find new sober friends

7. Join a book club.

Book clubs are great! They also are wonderful places to meet new people.

Yes, some book clubs are just an excuse to get together, drink wine, and hang out, but not all are that way. 

You can join a gaming or cooking club if you’re not a big reader. We had a group that got together every week to play Spades and Uno, and it was fun as hell! 

If you can’t find the type of club you’d like to join, why not start one?

You can utilize the same social media strategy mentioned previously to gauge interest in a monthly meet-up around a shared activity in your area.

8. Get creative and keep an open mind. 

Sometimes you have to think outside of the box, especially if that box used to be filled with cheap wine. 

Where is there an opportunity in your life to connect with more people that you are currently not using? Do you have children? Piggyback off of their social life. 

Coordinate playdates with the parents of your kid’s besties. Take the initiative to host it yourself to control the environment better and keep it alcohol-free if you choose. 

9. Try volunteering.

Giving back is a great way to connect with kind-hearted people who could be potential sober friends! There are so many different volunteer opportunities out there, and the need is greater than ever. 

Find something that you are passionate about and sign up.

Your new bestie might be the guy working on picking up trash with you in the park or the gal showing you the ropes at the animal shelter. You never know!

10. Get involved at a local religious institution of your choosing:

Whether it’s your local church, masjid, synagogue, or temple, people of faith often find new social opportunities by getting involved in social functions at their place of worship.

Join a planning committee for an upcoming event. Get involved with a charity event or help welcome newcomers. If your faith practice is integral to your sobriety, why not lean into the community aspect of your faith and find like-minded people to hang out with?

Often, you don’t even need to be a member. Many activities will be open to the public. If you’re exploring a spiritual practice, this is a good way to see what resonates with you.

How To Find Sober Friends: Final Thoughts

Getting creative might involve pushing your boundaries a little further.

That’s okay and part of the process! If your social life primarily consisted of drinking with drinking buddies, seeking the opposite might feel weird. 

You may find that you connect well with people in your sober life that you wouldn’t have considered when you drank. Try not to prejudice people with preconceived notions of who would or wouldn’t be fun to hang out with. 

Honestly, you just don’t know. Cast a wide net. 

Conversely, actively protect your mission to stay sober and find like-minded sober peeps to hang out with. You can do this by curating your social media feed so you’re not knowingly stepping into FOMO traps. 

It’s very easy to look at pretty pictures of people at a party with glasses of alcohol in hand and completely forget that reality is not picture-perfect. 

Protect yourself from doom-scrolling Instagram on a Friday night.

Avoid relapse triggers by planning to do things in the morning so you can get to bed early. Log off when you feel tempted to go out to a bar or start feeling lonely and think drinking might help. 

Most importantly, stay optimistic. Friendships are hard. Adult friendships are complicated.

We’re busy and have lives that extend in a dozen different directions.

Give it time and rely on your support systems online and in real life to provide positive social interactions while you figure out this whole sober friends thing.

Your tribe is out there, my friend! 

FAQs on Finding Sober Friends

Is there an app to meet sober friends?

Sober Grid is the most popular social networking app for sober people to meet each other. In addition to providing access to a robust, online sober community, Sober Grid provides peer support coaching, digital therapeutics, and a digital library of mental health and recovery resources. 

Another app to consider is Loosid. Like Sober Grid, Loosid has a community feature (think MeetUp for people in recovery) organized around topics and interests. 

Other cool features include Recovery Voices, a collection of compelling conversations with subject matter experts in the addiction and recovery space, and SAM (sobriety and addiction mentor), which provides daily sobriety support to people just getting started. 

Loosid also has a dating feature for users interested in finding other sober partners.

Is there Tinder for sober people?

Not exactly. Some smaller, niche sober dating sites are out there, but most look like they haven’t been updated in over a decade. My guess is there isn’t anyone on them. 

As previously mentioned, the sobriety and recovery app, Loosid, does have a dating feature. It certainly could not hurt to test it out. Beyond that, there’s not a lot out there! 

A better option is to use the more mainstream dating apps and apply filters to limit your search to people who indicate they do not or rarely drink in their profiles. 

You don’t have to figure this out on your own.

Soberish is proudly sponsored by BetterHelp. If you have tried (and failed) to find a qualified therapist who gets you, try BetterHelp. Get 10% off your first month when you click the link below.

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  1. I’m a recovering alcoholic and find my self very bored and would love to meet new friends sobriety date is 10/27/2020