The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cites community, comprised of relationships and social networks, as one of the four pillars of successful recovery. Sober networking helps people in recovery develop relationships and social networks; networks that provide friendship, love, support, and hope. Without a supportive social network, feelings of isolation and loneliness are inevitable, resulting in possible relapse.
How Sober Networking Aids Recovery
Sober networking helps locate like-minded people who will respect your choice to stay sober and help you achieve your goals through support, friendship, and shared resources. According to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a strong support system is a major indicator of successful ongoing recovery. It helps promote continued abstinence through a variety of avenues:
It fosters hope. Hope, or the belief that a better future is possible, is the foundation of recovery. A network of supportive people fosters a sense of hope to help navigate the internal and external challenges that are inevitable in early recovery.
It provides accountability. A sober network provides motivation and support for staying sober. Knowing a network of support exists provides a greater sense of responsibility and accountability for ongoing sobriety.
It provides confidence and self-esteem. A sober network serves as a cheerleader in sobriety; offering love, encouragement and support. This leads to increased feelings of self-esteem and promotes self-confidence in the ability to stay sober.
It provides opportunities for sober fun and relaxation. Fun and relaxation are essential in recovery. Having fun and relaxing with other sober people reduces stress, fights boredom and provides enjoyable sober experiences to foster feelings of fulfillment and contentment in sobriety.
It helps you define new roles for yourself. A network of supportive, sober relationships helps you leave old, unhealthy life roles behind and develop new life roles; that of a friend, volunteer, caregiver, parent or employee.
Developing a solid sober network helps you stay focused on sobriety and its positive impacts on your life.
A Short Guide to Sober Networking
Developing a supportive community requires putting yourself out there, meeting new people and developing relationships with individuals who raise you up and champion your ongoing recovery. Here are a few ways to engage in sober networking to develop a large, rich support network.
Participate in a support group. Peer support groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery offer support and resources/ Peer support also provides opportunities for developing healthy relationships with other non-users.
Volunteer. Volunteering your time with a cause that’s important to you and gives your life purpose and meaning. Volunteering provides opportunities to meet others with similar passions, interests and priorities.
Get involved in a faith organization. Your local church, temple, mosque or other faith community provides opportunities for sober networking and engaging in social activities, volunteer projects and other meaningful sober endeavors.
Develop new hobbies. Healthy hobbies help you fill time with productive pursuits and provide opportunities for fun and relaxation. Join a sports league, book club, enthusiast society or outdoor adventure organization. The possibilities for creating healthy hobbies are endless.
Try an app. Sober social apps like Sober, Clean Fun Network and Sober Grid are designed to connect users with other sober people and sober recreational opportunities.
Sober networking can help you stay sober for the long-term while improving your quality of life and social well being. Healthy, sober relationships lead to self-confidence, healthy lifestyle choices, and can go a long way toward enjoying a happy and fulfilling life in sobriety.