Making friends when sober is a bit more challenging when one lives within a global pandemic. As someone who works nights in the food industry, many of my friends were “going-out” friends.
We’d drink and party, and the cycle would repeat itself.
This wasn’t the only way that I had made friends in my life, but it was turning into a more consistent method ever since I decided to work in the service industry.
I unfollowed them on social media platforms and put out a message on my story that basically said that my intentions weren’t personal; they were for my health.
When I decided to follow a sober-curious/sober-serious lifestyle back in early May, I also decided to cut out certain friends. It’s not that I was physically seeing them due to Covid-19, but I felt as though I couldn’t talk to them about my triggers and short-comings, as they were the people who enabled me and who I’d enable only months before.
So, I unfollowed them on social media platforms and put out a message on my story that basically said that my intentions weren’t personal; they were for my health.
As months passed, I became more solitary, oftentimes going on walks alone to take pictures of the Los Angeles scenery. I was still semi-social, as I was and am going to work during the pandemic. Guests still want their take-out food, which I have counted as a bit of a blessing.
It’s a forced socialization that keeps me from being totally isolated. However, as it becomes more evident that the coronavirus may affect life as we know it deep into 2021, or even longer, I have started to reconsider the way in which I socialize.
One fear that I have is that I’ll forget how to make friends after the pandemic. Much of the way I socialize has been through phone calls and Instagram chats. I’ve reached out to a couple of friends and acquaintances since, opting for Covid-specific activities like hikes and drive-in movies.
Today, I hung out with someone who I met late last year in 2019, at a friend’s get-together. We went on a hike and then moseyed over to this hilly green that’s the perfect vantage point to see Downtown Los Angeles and the surrounding metropolitan area.
An acquaintance friend from my former job, a restaurant that had closed due to covid, told me about this look-out spot after she had seen an Instagram story I had posted during the Fourth of July.
It no longer defines my sense of purpose, but it’s there in the back of my mind.
Throughout our two-to-three hours together, we talked about careers, families, politics, traveling, food. Lately, my sobriety has been something that I forget about. It no longer defines my sense of purpose, but it’s there in the back of my mind.
This new friend mentioned they felt like they were at their prime when they were sober. While they had fallen off the wagon, so to speak, recently, they were excited to get back into the swing of things— meditate, do yoga, go camping.
Being sober has been much less of a social taboo than I first thought. Even people who were initially quiet about my decision have come around to it, telling me stories about them or people they know who have made similar decisions.
All I did was refrain from doing something.
The decision, in some ways, was easy. All I did was refrain from doing something. However, as many might know, it’s far from easy. Many of the same anxiety-managing tactics surrounding life events like meeting up with friends or going on dates surround drinking.
Now, I need to rely on other tactics— trusting myself, deep breathing, taking marijuana (if needed), and utilizing therapy.
There are certain people I haven’t seen since deciding to go sober, and even if and when I am ready to have a drink in the future, it wouldn’t be those people who I’d have a drink with.
In one moment of our hangout, my friend mentioned that we hung out the entire time without drinking, which was obvious for me since I haven’t had a drink in almost four months.
But, I understood where they were coming from, as many people around them are likely still drinking, it’s refreshing when you’re with someone who makes you feel like you don’t have to.