Building your social support network

Taking stock of your social support network  expanding it

Perhaps the most important part to remember about living alcohol-free is that we simply cannot do it alone. Having a strong social support network ensures that you have support, accountability, and a friend to turn to when you need it most. Today, let’s consider our support network, how we can nurture it, and how we can help our people show up for us the way that best supports our alcohol-free life.

Social connections are important in living alcohol-free because they:

  • Decrease loneliness and isolation, which are potent triggers for alcohol use

  • Can be a great sounding board when we’re feeling stressed, anxious, or experiencing cravings

  • Offer a sense of belongingness and help us fight shame

  • Provide a feeling of safety and security

In this new phase of life, your social network will likely consist of a variety of people. Consider who is part of your squad in these categories:

  • Family

  • Friends

  • Alcohol-free peers

  • Mentors + teachers

  • Medical + mental health professionals

In some cases, we may know people who fall into these categories who are not supportive of our choice to remove alcohol, or they may be people with whom we associate past alcohol use. It’s important to be aware of these relationships, to establish firm boundaries with them, and to build other, more supportive relationships. These people can certainly be part of our network, but they may not provide the support we need in this phase of life.