Soberistas Futures – The New Charity

Soberistas has just launched its charity sister organisation, Soberistas Futures. The charity will be a busy little bee, with its main aims sitting in the realm of research and education in relation to alcohol misuse as well as the provision of other practical sources of support to help people struggling with alcohol dependency problems.

Although I’ve been running Soberistas for the last four years, I am a complete novice in the world of charities so this marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for me.

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Our first project will be in research and we are hoping to fund some important studies over the years that will lead to a greater understanding of why some people end up with alcohol problems and what will help them move on and become alcohol-free. These research studies will be carried out in partnership with certain UK universities. We will also be working on the provision of workshops and educational programmes, which we hope will raise awareness of alcohol-related harms and the benefits of alcohol-free living amongst different groups in society.

Soberistas Futures will, eventually, also be aiming to provide funding for individuals who need help financially to access the Soberistas website and/or other one-to-one sources of help for their alcohol dependency.

I want Soberistas Futures to reflect the ethos of Soberistas.com – that developing issues with booze is nothing to be ashamed of, it can happen to anyone, and if we all got our heads out of the sand and stopped attaching such stigma to the problem, we’d be able to make the world a better place much more quickly.

It’s a challenge, to build up a charity and make it a concept that people believe in enough to want to help fund, but I’m ready to take it on.

As time goes on, Soberistas Ltd. will be contributing increasing amounts to Soberistas Futures, although right now, as we emerge from the starting blocks and try and get ourselves established, we are looking for donations – small or not so small – from people who want to see a difference in the society we’re all a part of.

I’ll be running the Sheffield half-marathon next April and will be raising money for the Soberistas Futures charity in doing so, but if you would like to help me get the ball rolling before then by becoming one of our very first donors, please email me on lucy@soberistas.com and I will let you know the details for making a contribution.

You can follow the charity on @SoberFuturesCIO.

 

Thank you! Lucy x

A Free Christmas eBook, and…

Because it’s December and therefore a particularly challenging time of the year to avoid booze, I wanted to tell you about a couple of projects I’ve been working on over the last few weeks with Carrie Armstrong that may be of help to you in staying happily alcohol-free during the festive period. Carrie, for anyone who doesn’t know, presented a couple of the Soberistas webinars a few months ago, and is a tour de force of sobriety, and a whirlwind of ideas.

Together, we’ve written an eBook which is full of helpful hints and advice for staying sober during the festivities this Christmas. We’ve both experienced our fair share of horrific drunken moments throughout numerous Christmases and New Year’s Eves, and so to help you avoid doing the same, we’re giving you this eBook completely free. Please share amongst anyone who you think may benefit from it – it was written specifically to help people avoid alcohol during their work’s Christmas night out, but all the advice and information in it is relevant for staying sober wherever and whenever there is masses of booze on offer and loads of pressure to drink the stuff.

You can access the eBook by clicking below.

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And secondly, Carrie and I have made a little calendar for 2016. It’s a bit different to your regular calendar, as this one has been created as an aid to staying sober. And not just sober, but happily sober! Every month shows Carrie or me doing one of the many things we love to do now that we don’t drink alcohol, and there’s a message with each month explaining why that particular activity keeps us on our sober paths. And throughout the year, we’ve highlighted loads of fun, weird and occasionally bonkers National Days to give you ideas for how to spend all your sober free time!

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If you fancy a calendar to hang on your wall at home to help make 2016 your best sober year yet, please email us on either lucy@soberistas.com or lifeafterthechair@hotmail.com and we’ll let you know how to get your hands on one. From the sale of each calendar, we will be donating £1.50 to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust.

Soberistas31 Challenge 2015

Any sober person residing in a country that celebrates Christmas will be all too aware that from the beginning of December until January 1st, many, many people go slightly bonkers in the name of the festive season. From November onwards, the shops are packed with decorations and trees, glitter and lights, all attempting to draw in the crowds and fill up the tills; television adverts are mainly focused on gifts and products tenuously connected to Christmas for weeks prior to the ‘Big Day’; and of course, wherever there is mass celebration, there is sure to be mass drinking following closely behind.

Nothing highlights how consumerist Christmas has become better than the drinks industry, which has successfully hijacked the occasion and ensured everyone (or nearly everyone) falls into the trap of thinking they must have a drink in order to have fun. From the work’s festive night out to the kids’ Christmas play at school, people seem to be pushing booze in your direction and it can be difficult, to say the least, getting through December while sticking to your alcohol-free endeavours.

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And so, for the third year running, we are pleased to announce the Soberistas31 Challenge, which we hope will help both those trying to stay sober and the families who benefit from Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity’s much-needed services. The aim is simple; don’t drink for the whole of December and donate the money you would have spent on alcohol (or a proportion thereof) to RTCC.

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity supports around 2,000 families in England who have a child with a life-threatening or terminal illness. It’s the leading charity in England providing emotional and practical help direct to families who find themselves in this unthinkable situation. Their Family Support Workers care for the whole family, from their child’s diagnosis, during treatment and, if needed, through bereavement. The money raised through the Soberistas31 Challenge will enable the charity to provide additional support workers, thus helping even more families in need.

The Soberistas31 Challenge steps up the support you can already find on Soberistas. There is a special Forum category http://soberistas.com/forum/categories/soberistas31/listForCategory just for the members of the site who take part in this fund-raising month, plus regular motivational reminders about the vital work carried out by Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity to keep you focused on why you are committing to a month off alcohol at this, the booziest time of the year.

If you would like to take part, please email me on lucy@soberistas.com with your name and address, and you will be sent a welcome pack from Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity and Soberistas. The details of how to donate at the end of the month will be posted on Soberistas.com, and for any further questions, you can contact me on the above email address.

I hope we can smash through our previous totals by exceeding £1000. And as well as knowing you are helping this charity out and all the families that depend on their work, you will be able to greet 2016 with an alcohol-free month already in the bag, raring to go for a sober New Year.

Many thanks, and here’s to a happy and healthy December!

Looking For A Challenge? It’s Soberistas31 Time Again!

By the time I hit my teens, alcohol and rebellion were inextricably linked in my mind. Without a shadow of a doubt, I held fast to the notion that there was no better way to express my desire to shirk convention and rebuff authority than to drink excessive amounts as frequently as possible. This mental link between booze and my rebellious nature was to stay with me right up until my mid-thirties when, despite being a mother and living in a nice, respectable part of town where I quaffed expensive bottles of wine, I still regarded myself as possessing an insubordinate streak.

And when I decided to stop drinking altogether, a major quandary that arose was how I would manage to cling onto my wayward, headstrong personality minus the very obvious method of evidencing it that was drinking too much. It occurred to me that much of the way I expressed myself had always come in the shape of a bottle or glass, and I stalled for a while in knowing how I should act without such props.

Gradually, I began to really take on board how many people drink alcohol to excess; what a massive element of almost everyone’s life booze is, to some degree or another. Maybe they weren’t all getting hammered to the point of blacking out as I once was, but most were certainly unable to conceive of experiencing birthdays, Christmases, weddings, Friday nights, Saturday nights and holidays without the booze flowing fairly freely. As a non-drinker, I saw this excessive consumption with a heightened awareness and developed a growing understanding of the manipulative strength of the alcohol industry – an industry that spends millions trying to coax us all to drink yet more booze each year.

As time has gone on, I have rediscovered my ‘inner rebel’ as I now recognise that by not drinking, I am acting in an unconventional manner with far greater magnitude than I did previously. As a drinker, I was merely yet another person who regularly numbed her senses with alcohol. Now I stand out, I am different.

In a few days, the onslaught of Christmas parties will begin. For a whole month, people all over the Western world will drink huge amounts of booze in the name of ‘fun’ and will embarrass themselves, spend more money than they had hoped to, and wake up on January 1st a few pounds heavier and looking somewhat the worse for wear.

But there will be a small but significant minority who won’t engage in such behaviour.

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Those who don’t drink will focus on things other than booze during the Christmas period; family, good food, enjoying a rest from work, a little extra time to indulge in some of the things they love doing. They won’t be struggling to cope with debilitating hangovers at 5 am on Christmas Day whilst trying to stay upbeat for the kids. They won’t be desperately trying to recall the horrors they may have been involved in at a party, one that they have no memory of due to a blackout striking mid-evening. And when January rolls around, they won’t be committing to a restrictive detox diet in a bid to shed the extra weight they have gained through drinking too much wine over the festive period.

I take a lot of comfort from the knowledge that I am, in my mind at least, a little unconventional. It helped me enormously during the earlier days of my not drinking, providing me with an extra dose of motivation whenever a craving hit. And now when I see people loading their excessive booze purchases onto the supermarket conveyer belts, I ponder over what better things they could be spending their hard-earned money on than lining the pockets of the fat cats of the alcohol industry – the corporate giants who are simply rubbing their hands with glee, especially at this time of year.

If you would like to challenge the norm this year, why not commit to Soberistas31 (see the details here) and opt to NOT drink alcohol for the month of December? Donate the money you would have spent on booze to the very deserving charity Rainbow Trust on January 1st via our JustGiving page (details will be provided on Soberistas towards the end of December) and know that this year you will have spent your money wisely, looked after yourself, and given Christmas 2014 your all.

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Christmas is, for many, the most difficult time of the year for successfully banishing the Wine Witch. Good intentions can swiftly go out of the window as family members start pouring the Bucks Fizz on Christmas Morning before the breakfast dishes have even been cleared away.

At Soberistas, we want to provide you with an extra incentive to get you through the booze-soaked holidays, alcohol-free – and here it is.

By signing up to the Soberistas31 campaign, you’ll be committing to not drinking alcohol for the 31 days of December. At the end of the month, we’ll ask you to donate a percentage of what you would have spent on booze over the festive period to Rainbow Trust, a UK-based charity which does a huge amount of good.

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Rainbow Trust’s goal is simple: to help the parents and families of life-threatened or terminally ill children to cope with something so traumatic it is difficult to imagine. They do this by providing Family Support Workers who become a trusted part of the family.

The impact a Rainbow Trust Family Support Worker has on a family’s life is immeasurable. They are the difference between a mum, tired and exhausted with worry, crying herself to sleep alone and the friendly voice at the end of a phone line, understanding and reassuring. They are the difference between a three hour stressful journey with a sick child on public transport and a comfortable car journey with someone trusted to support you through the day.  They are the difference to a young sibling, angry and upset at their sister’s death; and a child, who understands why their sister was sick and knows that cancer isn’t going to get them too.

Soberistas31 gives you the opportunity to live alcohol-free for the 31 days of December whilst simultaneously raising money for this incredibly well-deserving charity. We have set up a ‘Just Giving’ page which can be accessed wherever you are in the world and which makes it incredibly simple to donate your chosen amount.

http://www.justgiving.com/Soberistas31

We have created a special Soberistas31 forum category on www.soberistas.com which is specifically for all those taking part in the campaign to share their journeys – we know there may be tough times ahead, so we will be keeping a close eye on this page and providing advice to help wherever we can to get you through to January 2014. We have also created a hash tag for all our Soberistas Twitter followers (#soberistas31) so you can keep track of the progress of other partakers and receive motivational tips. Who knows – by successfully completing the Soberistas31 challenge, you might just find the impetus you’ve been searching for to make the switch to alcohol-free living for good.

And you’ll be helping desperate families to find some comfort during their darkest hour.