A year ago today I sat nervously in front of my laptop and watched the very first members of Soberistas sign up to the brand new social network site that was there to offer peer support to women with alcohol dependency issues. I had no idea what would happen, or whether we would attract any interest at all. I didn’t know if anybody would want to discuss their booze problem online with a bunch of strangers. Or indeed if it really was just me who had no off-switch, a catalogue of past booze-related horrors and a desire to pass the message on that life without alcohol can, actually, be brilliant.
We had about a hundred people sign up during our launch night, and that first small clan of Soberistas hovered nervously around the site waiting for somebody to post something or to write their thoughts down in the Chat Room. It was a very special time filled with anticipation and hope, and the culmination of many weeks of hard work preparing Soberistas for public use.
Today is our first birthday. We now have approximately 15,800 members from across the world, some men, mostly women, all who have been affected negatively in some way by alcohol and all of whom wish to seek out a happier and healthier life. Soberistas has been featured in numerous publications and on TV on many occasions since our inception last year, largely because we offer a special approach to alcohol misuse problems that hasn’t existed previously. I put this ‘special approach’, which works so well for so many, down to our fantastic members who are supportive, inspirational, thoughtful, kind, responsible and, at times, very funny. When I read through the comments and blog posts on Soberistas I often cry, laugh, smile and nod my head in agreement. Many times I wish I could throw open my arms and give a collective hug to all those who are feeling so tender and vulnerable, and to find a way to make them see right there and then how life really does improve month on month just as soon as you take the leap to alcohol-free living.
At Soberistas HQ, we have worked very hard over the last twelve months, striving to improve the experience of the website for our members as well as to spread the word in order to reach even more people with this problem – something which, often, they have never discussed with anybody at all prior to signing up. I love Soberistas, it has become such a huge and important part of my life and I am so excited that as we celebrate our first birthday, we are caught up in preparations for our re-launch on January 2nd 2014. The new-look site will have many more helpful features (all of which you can read about on WordPress in our special Soberistas Re-launch Advent starting on December 1st), a brand new logo, and a great new layout which will make our members’ user-experience even better.
So this is a happy birthday to us, and to you, and a massive thank you to all who have supported us since we launched on November 26th 2012 and who have helped us reach where we are today.