“Normies” is a term that is often used by people involved in addiction treatment and recovery to describe people who are free of the illness of addiction. If you are in recovery and facing the challenge of staying sober, that means learning to cope when in the company of normies.

Don’t Expect Normies to Understand

You will find plenty of normies who will be supportive of you in your efforts to stay sober, but most of them will not easily understand your illness. Be prepared for peculiar reactions if you talk to people about your problems, and don’t let it destabilize your emotions. Many people mistakenly think that staying sober just requires willpower. They have no idea that addiction is a medical illness, and that this illness has rewired your brain.1

Many people will sympathize with you, while others will not. You should be prepared to meet people who will seem disinterested in your recovery. Some may even try to avoid you. It is often just that they feel uncomfortable because they are unsure of how they should deal with you. Try not to let such people get you down.

Stay Focused While Staying Sober

Most of us yield to peer pressure from time to time. Being the odd one out in a group is never very easy. If you socialize with normies, the chances are that you will at some stage be offered drugs or alcohol. Do not yield to the temptation to take what you are offered just so that you will fit in. You run the risk of relapse if you take what’s offered. Always be focused on staying sober.

If you socialize with a particular group of people and some of them persist in trying to persuade you to take something, you should seriously consider finding a different group of friends. That does not necessarily mean cutting your existing friends out of your life completely. Friends who offer you substances simply do not understand how important staying sober is for you. You have the option to keep in contact with them in environments where they are not using substances.

If you have attended rehab, you will have learned about the factors that contribute to your illness. You will have learned to identify environments that can trigger cravings. You will also have learned that you need to change your behaviors to improve your chances of staying sober. Hanging around with the same bunch of friends in places or situations where they tend to use substances is not a good idea.

A Mentor Can Help You in Staying Sober

Recovery programs like AA’s 12 Step program encourage you to engage with a sponsor or mentor.2 This is normally somebody who has dealt with their own addiction issues. A mentor can help you in many ways.

If you start getting frustrated because normie friends do not really want to hear about your struggles and your recovery, get in touch with your mentor. Your mentor will understand the problems you face and will be available to discuss anything to do with your recovery.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain
  2. http://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/smf-121_en.pdf