She found sobriety, but lost some friends

Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

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DEAR AMY: As a young career woman, I formed close friendships with a group of women who became my bridesmaids, confidants and cheerleaders.

We raised our children together. We celebrated together -- a lot. Almost eight years ago, I gave up drinking with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. And though my friends initially cheered me on, they dropped me from their lives after I did not attend their annual Champagne brunch and ladies happy hours in my early years of sobriety. They are all smart women and once staged an intervention for another friend, so I thought they understood alcoholism as a disease that could not be taken lightly. I did not know how long it would take before the desire to drink would go away, and I did what it took to get there. I miss my friends desperately. True, I have new friends in sobriety, but they do not share the intimacy and history I miss. I call my old friends occasionally, invite them over for dessert or walks, but they never reciprocate. I enjoy going out to lunch, dinner and listening to live music -- and I miss the friendships. AA counsels restraint of pen and paper, so I've never told them how they hurt me. Is there anything I can do to reconnect?Sober in Nashville

DEAR SOBER: I agree with the dictum of restraint of pen and paper, but not if this restraint interferes with speaking your truth. You know from experience that your drinking had an effect on the people around you. So does your sobriety. In so many ways, you are not the person they knew -- and while this is very good for you, they may not be able to adjust.

They may feel self-conscious about their own drinking. It sounds as if you can tolerate being around alcohol now, so could you take the bold step of trying to pull your group of oldfriends together for dinner and live music -- something you might have enjoyed in the old days? Openly acknowledge the challenges and say you'd love to reconnect as fully as possible.