Many people in SMART Recovery meetings report how hard it is, when they’re trying their best to stay away from drugs or alcohol, to maintain a social life within a community that seemingly revolves around pubs and clubs. Fridays and Saturdays tend to default to licensed premises for many people. Post-work drinks are a ritual enacted around the country. Old friends catch up over a beer or have fancy wines with dinner.

So for people seeking sobriety, or just to cut back, those pastimes, and the fundamentally human experience of having a good time in the company of good people.

Faye Lawrence saw this and decided to make a difference.

“you can have fun being sober, I refuse to accept that society says that you’re boring now that you don’t drink” she said in a recent interview with the ABC.

Her group, Untoxicated, started in Brisbane last year, but has quickly swollen in size, with over 1100 members. You can check them out here.

People who aren’t drinking can often feel like social outcasts, cut off from the world in which they previously found themselves. It’s not uncommon for people who may not have an addiction issue to want to avoid ilcensed venues for any number of reasons: they may be trying to save money, cut back on drinking for health reasons, or, want to avoid getting “hit on by drunk guys out at the pub”.

Groups like Untoxicated provide a welcome alternative to the misleading narrative of sobriety – that recovery and controlled substance consumption are negative, dreary experiences. You don’t have to be addicted to something to want less of it, nor to be aware of your own behaviour and the consequences thereof surrounding your consumption.

Recovery, and the simple act of being mindful of your alcohol consumption, can be fun, enlightening and liberating experiences. Getting out of your comfort zone and finding a support group is a great way to broaden your horizons and rethink your relationship with alcohol.