They can cause hidden anxieties or cause unexpected emotions. Interpersonal interactions can become extremely intense when you're sober. Let them know what they can do to help. Maybe I'd appreciate having a sober friend or someone else stay sober with you when you go out or help you resist the urge to drink.
Or maybe you would still like to go out together, but not in bars. They may still want to do the same things, such as playing cards or watching movies together, but without alcohol. Hanging out with friends who drink alcohol in large quantities can increase the likelihood that you'll also feel pressured to drink. Consider taking a break from your friends, whether they want to or not, to make you feel pressured to drink socially.