Why am I not getting invited to things in sobriety? Ohhh right, I haven’t communicated how I feel…

When I was first sober I remember that a lot of my friends and family were worried about inviting me certain places because they didn’t want to put me in a bad spot or make me feel uncomfortable. Because, at the time, I was just so good at communicating with them, I never asked why I wasn’t being invited anywhere and I decided to go with the tried and true method of assuming rather than actually asking. As you might imagine, this didn’t go over well. I started to hold a resentment and because of that reached out less and they of course had no idea what was going on because A) I wasn’t saying anything and B) I wasn’t reaching out. Hey! Way to go AJ!

I think a lot of my hesitation to reach out to friends and family about social events was that really, I was afraid of rejection, that they would say “no, we don’t want you here.” Rejection is such a scary thing to deal with whether you are just getting sober or not. What I have learned though is that regardless of the fear of rejection, I still want to be involved with other people especially those who matter to me most – friends and family. With a little help, I knew that I needed to start somewhere, I needed a baseline of trust with everyone in regards to venturing back out into the social world. After all, it was the summer and I wasn’t going to just sit inside all day by myself. For me, isolation has never really worked out and I needed to work on a solid tan. I decided to reach out to the friends that I felt truly closest to and therefore, most comfortable bringing this vulnerability to. I scheduled us getting together for some dinner and made it a 1v1 situation because I was way too scared to bring this conversation up to everyone at once. To be honest, I had no idea how to start the conversation but I knew that this person was someone who was caring, supportive and would hear what I had to say. I’m a big believer that you can’t fake being genuine and honest and if I stuck to those two principles, I knew I would be OK.

We got to dinner and I was like a 6-year-old getting a gift – there was no intro; just right into ripping apart the wrapping paper. “Why don’t you guys invite me anywhere?” was met with a perfectly good response – “I didn’t know how you felt about being around drinking and partying and I would never want to put you in a bad spot.” I felt a little dumb because it was such a thoughtful response and I knew that he had my best interest at heart. That help that I referred to earlier was my sister. She told me that I won’t get anything that I don’t ask for. With that in mind, I simply asked that going forward, if I could get included in plans and be given the option of whether or not to say no, it would be really helpful. I explained to him that my sobriety was first and foremost the most important thing to me and something that I did not want to jeopardize. Having said that, I was still me and I still wanted to be social and be in the mix. His response was perfect – “I didn’t know you felt that way and I am so happy you said something.”

I’ve learned that I don’t get anything that I don’t ask for, especially invitations to social events, hangouts, parties, etc. I didn’t get sober so that I could hide from the world. In fact, it was quite the opposite. I got sober so that I could enjoy the things and the people in my life. If I don’t communicate that to the people around me though, they’ll never know how I feel.


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AJ Diaz is a motivational speaker and inspirational speaker in the Long Island area, including Nassau County and Suffolk County, the New York City area, including Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan, and New York State. He speaks about alcohol and drug addiction, self-esteem issues, mental health issues, teen confidence, substance abuse problems, and parent-child communication.