two happy friends

The Importance of Sober Support/Sober Friends

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

What Is Sober Support?

Sober support is a well-documented way for individuals struggling with sobriety to get the help they need from friends and family members to stay on track. A strong social support system can encourage growth and sobriety over time, whereas without a support group, and individual may fall back into addiction during difficult times.

Sober support is used in many rehabilitation clinics and outpatient facilities as well as with community groups. For instance, 12-step programs tend to use the quote, “I can’t stay sober, but we can,” showing the importance of having others around you to support and encourage your sobriety over time.

The perfect support system may take time to build, but if you have a few family members or friends, whether they’re through a community group or your rehabilitation center, who can check in with you and even help you when you’re in social situations, then you may have a better chance of moving forward without relapse.

Why Do My Friends Need to Be Sober?

When you’re struggling with an addiction, having sober support is vital. Sober support:

  • Provides you an outlet where you can interact without needing alcohol or drugs
  • Gives you support to achieve sobriety in social situations
  • Encourages you to refuse alcohol or drugs if the opportunity arises
  • Helps you work through prelapses if and when they occur

Providing an Outlet

One of the most difficult things for people struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse is finding a group of friends who participate in activities without drinking or using drugs. Sober support means that your friends or family will support you by participating in activities without requiring drugs or alcohol to be part of the equation.

For example, if you’d normally go to a bar and drink with a group of friends who normally get drunk or have too much, a sober support group may take you to a restaurant instead, so you can make other decisions without being forced to order from the in-house bar. On top of that, when everyone else is ordering things like water or soda, it’s easier to make the same choices.

group of girl friends having fun

Giving Support

Social anxiety and other concerns can make interacting harder without a drink or drugs to encourage you, but the truth is that drinking or taking drugs isn’t healthy in that circumstance, because you need to learn to interact without negative coping mechanisms. When you’re in a group of trusted friends or with a sober support community, everyone is doing the same thing. They’re all learning to interact or encouraging you to be part of a conversation without needing those substances. Because these individuals are familiar with your struggles, they’re more likely to work with you through situations where you may be uncomfortable instead of wondering what’s wrong or why you feel anxious.


Encouragement is key in any situation where you have a risk for relapse. For example, if you’re heading out to a bar or restaurant with alcohol for the first time since sobriety from drinking, having sober support can be of major assistance. The people with you will encourage you to stay on track without risking your sobriety; they may remind you that you made the decision to be sober, support you by making sure they don’t order something that would trigger a relapse, and won’t encourage you to try something in a limited quantity, since that could encourage a relapse later on.

Prelapse Support

Prelapsing is when you begin to think about how you’re going to start abusing a substance again. With drugs, for example, you may start thinking about how to get the drug of choice from your medical professional or from a dealer. This line of thinking can start off innocently, but it’s a warning sign that relapse may be eminent. When you have sober support, you can talk about your thoughts and receive the advice and encouragement you need to stop what you’re doing and to get back on track. Your sober support friends may encourage you to see a therapist, talk to a medical doctor, and help you cope with your situational trigger.

How Can I Learn More About Sober Support and Local Support Groups?

Sober support can be life changing for someone who struggles with sobriety. Having a solid group of friends or family members who are willing to take the same journey takes some of the pressure off you, so you can focus on your health and know that you’re not alone if you ever need help. If you’re ready to learn more about sober support or would like to find out about sober support groups in your area, you can call our helpful specialists by dialing 1-844-489-0836 to speak with someone who can help. If you’re interested in learning more about the sober-living options available in your area or want to find out more about drug and alcohol abuse, you can find us online at

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