How to Find Sober Friends? I ask one question...
Step One: Attend any recovery meeting: AA, Refuge Recovery, SMART recovery, Meetup groups...free stuff, y'all.
What does every person who drops alcohol think about? Where do I find my tribe? Here's the thing. The tribe is everything when you are in recovery. You need community for support. Where do you find them?
Make a visit to EVERY type of meeting in EVERY program. Just because you loooooove AA doesn't mean you can't meet people at other meetings. This is recovery, folks. I try each program and take what works for me. Recovery: a la carte. I will do this for the remainder of my life. I call it living with intention to better myself. I work on me every damn day. I reject recovery groups all of the time. Why? In some meetings, people just tell stories of fear and of past addiction. I cannot take the constant wallowing in problems. I know you have to get in touch with your inner sadness to heal, so I never write off people who are in pain. Maybe they haven't learned that being depressed is A-OK. I feel depressed. I acknowledge it. I look for other feelings. But, now that I know how to do this why would I continue to be surrounded by people crying all day? Yeah. It is NOT a bitch move to restrict the people in your tribe to those whom you can identify. It is survival skills, y'all. I don't discount people stuck in their feelings. I weed my tribe out of the wallowers.
Who is my tribe now? People who choose to open their eyes to positive coping skills. I ask this question to see if someone identifies with their problem or if they are actively trying to live a teetotally awesome life.
Step two: Ask a question that finds the people that fit you. I ask this one.
I ask the person stuck in his/her feelings,
"Have you tried this (insert one of the thousands of recovery systems that exist)?"
If she responds, "I've tried EVERYTHING. I am just living with it now."
What does this answer tell me? She/he does not want to get better. She or he has an ego that is still too large to accept any help. She or he is NOT my person. The tribe I'm in strives to be better. We help each other try new things to improve ourselves. We never become powerless to the bad feelings in life. It is okay to be sad. It is okay to tell people you are sad. It is never okay to wallow in it and make depression your lifestyle. I identify with the good parts of my psyche now. The hope. The resilience. The mindfulness. The hugs not drugs. I know that good feelings and bad feelings exist...but thank goodness there is more to life. If they answer something like, "that's a good idea" or "I should try that" or ask any questions about what you've done to get better...that's my tribe. Seal the friendship deal. Easy peasy.
Step three: Ask the person if they'd like to chat over coffee/exercise/a movie/dinner/any positive coping skill.
You can help people. You can love people. But, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Find your people, hold them close, and don't overfill your dance card. Constantly dancing with depression is depressing. My tribe tries all the dance moves. That's how we dance. It ain't pretty...it's beautifully awkward...and hilarious.