There are a lot of online support groups out there to help you stop drinking. And the most important word in that sentence is GROUP!
If you’re a regular reader of my blog you will know that it took me about 12-18 months to finally quit drinking successfully. And during that time I knew deep down that I didn’t have a healthy relationship with alcohol and it was taking up a lot more of my mind than it should have been. Any free time I had would be spent googling about cutting down, quitting all together, how much is too much? And my favourite – quitting alcohol success stories and transformation pictures (which I still love to read!) I can honestly remember being sat at my girls tennis lessons on a Monday evening, after feeling rubbish all day with a weekend hangover, googling over and over again, feeling so desperate to change the pattern of self destruct that I was repeating weekend after weekend.
I’ve got to be honest, I did feel very alone, I didn’t discuss my drinking with anyone. My main reason for stopping drinking was how bad it was making me feel physically and the guilt I felt because I couldn’t stop or cut down, it wasn’t really something I wanted to admit to friends and family. I didn’t have the courage to join any online groups because I didn’t feel like one of those people, I didn’t believe I could ever stop drinking. I felt like I was the only person who felt this way. The first online blog I started reading was Clare Pooley – Mummy Was A Secret Drinker. I could certainly relate to her story and it felt amazing to know there are other people out there who aren’t necessarily alcoholics but know that they have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
After a particularly boozy weekend, I emailed Clare on second day of not drinking and she replied within an hour. I still think if she hadn’t had replied I wouldn’t be where I am today, nearly 21 months sober. I started to read her blog from day one and read the comments and even commented on some posts myself and I suddenly felt part of a group, a support system, a safe place where I could be honest about my drinking and people understood because they felt the same.
I would advise anyone trying to stop drinking to look online and find a group they feel comfortable with, and you know what you shouldn’t have to pay anything to join. There are lots of free, helpful groups out there.
Other ones I have joined are Living Sober and a Facebook group called The Unexpected Joy Of Being Sober (after the book by Catherine Gray). I have also found so many new friends on the same sober journey, through my Instagram page and blog. Its been amazing how many people have contacted me for help and advice, and sometimes you just need someone to listen who isn’t going to judge, and I think online support provides that because we are all going through the same thing. The people who follow me, motivate and inspire me just like I hopefully do for them. It’s a two-way thing and there is no negativity, no nasty comments, unlike in the real world where I have had quite a few.
In real life yes you do have your family and friends who support you. But let me just put things into perspective, I only actually physically know two actual people who have stopped drinking. One is a neighbour who is also a customer of mine and I recently discovered a school mum from my eldest daughters class has also been sober since Janury. So you can see its much easier to find the sober support you’re looking for online!
Being anonymous (if you choose to be) online also gives you more confidence when it comes to talking about your drinking habits, as a lot of people keep their drinking habits a secret if they know they are developing a problem. Being anonymous was a huge thing for me in the early days, it allowed me to open up about my relationship with alcohol to those who were feeling exactly the same. I’ve gradually introduced my blog and Instagram page to close family and friends, but I am waiting for my 2 year soberversary before I shout it out to the big wide world of Facebook! I am hopefully looking at starting up a closed Facebook Lifting Weights Not Wine Group in the not too distant future so I will keep you posted.
In the meantime if you haven’t already, then please take a look at the support groups and blogs I have mentioned. If you’re at the stage that I was at, hovering on google because I was too scared and had zero confidence in myself to stop drinking, don’t wait any longer just reach out for help and that one reply may be all you need to kick-start your sober journey!
Have any of you joined any other good online support groups or blogs that you could recommend for others? I will be starting another 100 day of exercise challenge at the beginning of September so I will keep you all updated in that too!