Discover more from Beyond Liquid Courage
How to Make Sober Mom Friends
In a world of “mommy wine,” you can still rock
Welcome! I’m Tawny, an advice columnist better known as “The Sober Sexpert” and author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze. I’m here to empower you to find your *intrinsic* courage without booze—regardless of your relationship status—one date at a time.
My book comes out in TWO WEEKS from today! Ahhhhh! I’m also excited to share that The Dry Humping Start Guide is officially ready! Submit your preorder receipt here to receive your PDF filled with the following:
sober socializing tips
queer and sober 101
This bonus issue is all about friendships. While the reader-submitted question is about friendships in motherhood, my advice is applicable to most friendship dynamics.
I have a friendship and booze question for you. I’m a mom to a rambunctious 2-year-old and a 5-year-old who’s about to start Pre-K. I’m also recently sober but, other than my intimate family, I haven’t “come out” (so to speak) to anyone in my friend group—including some of the moms that my oldest will be at school with soon.
Here’s the thing: I’m a little bit unsure of how to proceed. I’m part of a book club for moms who love to read romance, and there’s always wine floating about. I’ve also heard that many of the fundraising events put on by the school’s PTA are alcohol-based, like a wine and spirits tasting coming up soon..
I feel really good not drinking but I’m afraid of how my fellow mom friends will react. We used to joke about “mommy juice” a lot and, although that has died down, I don’t really feel super comfortable hanging out where there’s a lot of alcohol. But I also don’t want to miss out—and really don’t want my children to miss out—on some of the connections we’ve made with other families. How do I keep up with all my parent friends and acquaintances now that booze is off the table for me?
- Newly Sober Mama
Hey Sober Mama! First of all, I’m so glad you asked a friendship question. I typically write about romantic and sexual relationships for the advice column, but there’s so much crossover when it comes to interpersonal relationships. Here’s a secret: A lot of my relationship advice can apply to family dynamics and colleagues, too! Second, I’m so grateful that my iconic managing editor Irina Gonzalez is a mom! She’ll balance out my sober relationships perspective with some personal experience and research.
For those uninitiated, Mommy Wine culture is A Thing. Ironically, your question reminds me of being a child, eager to want everyone to like me, heartbroken when someone didn’t want to be my friend for whatever reason. Back then, I read true crime and memoirs instead of YA or middle grade. I’m sure they thought I was weird.
Remembering why you’re sober is what’s going to get you through those tough moments.
Changing Friendships After You Give Up Alcohol
I’m also reminded of my own early sobriety when I dealt with the terribly painful growing pains that we experienced when we quit drinking. It’s wild how removing one thing (alcohol) from our lives can teach us so much about ourselves—especially who our real friends are.
I’m not going to sugar coat it for you: choosing to live without social lubricant is fucking hard. That’s why I call this newsletter Beyond Liquid Courage, to show readers that they can truly find a healthier, happier life without relying on the bottle. I’m being candid with you because I wish someone told me that all of my relationships would change when I quit drinking.
So I’ll tell you what my mom told me, which I then told to newly sober me, which I’m sure you’ll tell your kiddos one day: If they don’t like you the way you are, they don’t really want to be your friend. And it sucks.
Remembering *Why* You’re Sober is the Key
But hey, you can do hard things. You had two babies! That’s some Super Hero shit right there. And you choose to be sober in a world that is high-key drenched in booze. Talk about confidence. Girl, you have it!
Why did you get sober? I’m sure some part of your reason is to make a healthier, happier life for yourself and your family. So that’s something to keep in mind next time Madison passes you a mimosa after mommy-and-me-yoga. And then later when she asks if you’d like to hear about her once-in-a-lifetime exciting business opportunity!!!! Remembering why you’re sober is what’s going to get you through those tough moments.
I know that I wouldn’t be sober or remotely healthy without therapy or peer support groups. Here are some good places to start:
This article I wrote about friendships in sobriety
FOMO & New Friendships in Sobriety
Hi y’all! This is Irina Gonzalez, managing editor of Beyond Liquid Courage and author of Raising Gen Alpha here on Substack, chiming in to tackle two biggies that can happen when a parent gives up alcohol: FOMO and no clue as to how to find new friends. .
FOMO: One of the hardest parts about giving up booze is fear of missing out. This comes from the fact that alcohol is so damn ingrained in our society that, as you pointed out, even school fundraising events include liquor. As a fellow sober mom, I totally get it—especially that fear of not wanting your kids to miss out because of the choices you made. This feeling is real, and this feeling is normal.
Here is what I remind myself of daily: My son would be “missing out” on a lot more if his mommy was still drinking. So, sure, he might not be able to have a playdate with a kid whose mom insists we have wine while watching them play. Or he might miss out on going to a school function with his friends because I’m uncomfortable with the amount of alcohol that will be served there. But he’s getting so much more than you can imagine because his mom is fully present and a loving force in his life—and this would not be the case if I was drinking.
FRIENDSHIPS: Making friends after getting sober is a bit of a shit show, I admit. I also admit that most of my sober friends (including sober moms) arose from interacting online. And that’s definitely an option! Nothing wrong with having close friendships with people you’ve never met IRL. That doesn’t make those relationships any less valid or meaningful. (Scroll back up for some of the resources Tawny mentioned—including a free weekly meeting with Sober Mom Squad.)
But for making friends in person, here’s my advice: Plan to have a playdate at your house, where you can control the environment and situation. Then, as the mom and I get to know each other, I will often casually slip in an “Oh, we don’t drink” during our chat.
Another great way to make sober friends is by getting out there and trying new things. Always wanted to take a pottery class? Well, maybe your local community center has some! Want to finally learn how to make French macarons? A local kitchen store (like Sur La Table) will often have classes, and they fill up! You can also look up sober spaces in your town; I recently went to a dance party at my local The Phoenix.
Oh, and if you’re out and about and see a mom with a kiddo around your child’s age… Why not say or do something nice? Sometimes that’s all it takes to strike up a conversation that leads to a friend. I actually met one of my besties when she complimented my sparkly red boots in a coffee shop last fall. I was working on some writing but she had a toddler with her, so we started talking. Usually a simple “How old is your kid?” will do the trick! Now, our boys (who were born 5 days apart!) play for hours while their daddies bowl in a league. Yup, they became friends, too. This couple isn’t sober but, since I introduced them to our sobriety early on, it’s never been an issue.
P.S. Subscribe to my Substack, Raising Gen Alpha, if your kiddos were born between 2010-2024. I won’t always write about being a sober mom but it’ll definitely be there, don’t worry. XOXO
See y’all tomorrow with the regular Hump Day issue of Beyond Liquid Courage. Tomorrow’s issue includes insight from a celeb whose prolific work you’re most likely familiar with 😉. Subscribe here so you don’t miss out!
Tawny & Irina