Why you need your sober gang

I am a very independent person, I always have been. Even as a child I preferred my own company. If my Dad ever tried to ground me he knew it was futile as I was actually relieved, it meant that I could play happily with my dolls alone. Growing up, I did have close friends and I did socialise but I was never worried about being in my own company.

As I have got older I do have friends but it is very rare that I would actually reach out if I was upset or something was wrong, I think I am like most women, we don’t like to bother others, so we share with our partners or if our upset is about them, then we just hold on to it.

It is strange though as when I decided to quit alcohol, I craved company. But a special kind of company, I wanted to be a part of a group that understood why I needed to stop drinking and never questioned that.

I was pretty unsure of where to go when I first became sober. The only real way that I knew you could become sober was to go to AA. This was my first experience of ‘sober people’ and the understanding and support was quite a shock to me. I didn’t like every meeting I went to, which is how life is I guess, not everything works for everyone! I settled on two meetings which I attended regularly. I did manage to stay sober for ten months doing this. My main issue was that I felt like a fraud going there. Some of the stories that I heard were so heartbreaking and I felt like I was taking a seat from someone who needed it much more than me. I also found the in person setting of the meetings hard. I rarely spoke up and I think as I am actually really shy until I get to know people I just found it a tad overwhelming. But I did see some lovely friendship groups that had developed and I did meet some lovely people, it just wasn’t for me.

Secret habit

When you have a secret habit, it can feel really lonely, sure you can joke with your friends about your crazy antics, you can talk about your horrific hangovers and how you are, “never drinking again” but it is hard to say to someone who doesn’t understand, that you are actually worried or struggling. Even people who are close to you can’t really understand and often the prospect of admitting that your drinking is a worry, makes them look at their own drinking and that can be uncomfortable. So it can be easy to dismiss your worries and close down the conversation.

Finding my gang

I knew that part of the reason after 10 months I had gone back to drinking alcohol was because I was not attending meetings anymore and was doing it by myself. I began to feel bored and resentful and I had no one to talk to about it rationally. I managed to convince myself that I had just been dramatic and could moderate or just stop now if needed and off I went again. I immediately regretted it, but I had been warned when I had attended AA that once you relapse it is even harder to stop and they were so right. It was two years before I could seriously get sober again.

I tried various online groups but I found that they were too big for me, so many people talking and huge amounts of participants, so it felt impersonal and I would never have dared to speak. I also tried facebook groups, which were great but again there was absolutely no connection there.

Connection

One of my ‘gang’ uses the word connection a lot. At first I really didn’t understand what she meant but I do now. To find your gang or group or whatever you call it, you must feel comfortable and you must feel a connection to the other members. This is what I was craving.

I found my gang totally by accident, I actually was googling a site with a similar name and came across them. I immediately felt like they could help me and emailed the founder. I was surprised when she emailed me back and put me in touch with another lovely lady and we began chatting.

What was different and what I like about my group is that is female only, I am aware this may sound controversial but I am much more comfortable in a female space talking about this. Not just because we share an issue with alcohol, but we share many different life experiences too. I particularly like that we have a really diverse age range and the group members come from all over the world ( sometimes my northern sayings and accent has caused a few issues !! )

Finding my gang has seriously been what has helped me to stay sober, but more importantly be happy and grateful for it. My gang has zoom meetings which means I can fit it around my life right now. We have chat groups where we can and do talk about anything and everything. I love my gang and I would feel as upset letting them down as I would feel letting myself down. And this is the connection we are talking about. It is so nice to have these women that not only know what we are going through, but have been there themselves. They genuinely want the best for you, for all of the members, they offer support and advice and share their experiences so that you know you are not alone.

I remember reaching out in my very early sobriety to one of the ladies, I thought I was going mad as I was so low, she managed to talk me down and let me know that it is normal in early sobriety. In the past this feeling could have triggered me to relapse, but not this time. And it isn’t all talk about addiction and harrowing topics , we also talk about the most silly things and have a really good laugh. You need that sometimes as well as the support for the tough times.

There are a lot of options out there, some are free, some are not, but I honestly believe that if you can find your gang, you are at least giving yourself a chance to make this sober thing stick. I would love to hear about your gangs and your experiences..

Much love,

B xx

https://holasober.com/

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