Aug 26, 2020
I will never forget the first time I joined an alcohol-free Facebook group. The first post I read was by a member who was on her 511th day alcohol free. She was so proud of herself, because she had travelled through an airport and completed a plane ride without drinking.
I remember at the time thinking, "How on Earth has she made it to day 511? I can't even make it to day 11!")
This post really resonated with me at the time - I had been a Canadian expat living in the Middle East for four years, and so over the years, I'd spent a LOT of time in airports. Having a pint of beer or a glass of wine in the airport (along with an instagram story with my passport laying beside said beverage) was a ritual. On top of this, I was living in a country for two years where alcohol was banned (Kuwait), and I looked SO forward to my flight out of the country whenever I escaped for that first real, cold, beer as the plane took off. And vacations just always connected with booze in my head. I didn't know how I'd get through an airport or a plane ride without an alcoholic beverage.
Reading this woman's story really, really inspired me, and became massively part of my story. Every time I was in an airport, I'd think of her.
Reading other people's stories of what you're going through - especially those who have survived it - can help inspire you and help you feel less alone. I think finding your virtual community is really, really important - especially if your family, partner or friend group is very drinking oriented (as many of ours quitting alcohol are!)
There are a number of awesome alcohol-free Facebook groups online these days. Even if you're not a massive Facebook user (I wasn't before I joined my first group!) the beauty of these groups is that they provide a private, safe space, for individuals to share their journeys and support one another. I highly recommend checking some of them out (even if you're just a fly on the wall, reading other people's posts!)
Firstly, I have to start with my own group: Sober Girls Yoga! We are just getting started and only have 60 ish members at the moment. This group is for women on the alcohol free path that are also on the path of yoga.
Before that, the first group I joined 501 days ago was One Year No Beer. I absolutely loved this group while I was part of it and made many, many friends on the group during my 500 days I was a member. At the time, I didn't know how many free facebook groups existed, so I paid to be a member of this one and this was the only group I was part of for a long time. Looking back now, it seems obvious that there would be more than one group - there are support groups for literally everything on Facebook! I just didn't realize it at the time.
I'm no longer part of One Year No Beer (and I won't tell the story why, as I highly doubt I can tell an unbiased version of what went down!) But I am very grateful for the time I was part of this community and have no hard feelings. This group started me on my path to sobriety, and without them, I wouldn't be here today. So thank you OYNB :)
The thing about this group is though, it is not free - you have to pay to join. There is an alternative group that has jumped ship from One Year No Beer called Sober Inspired Pirates. (Formerly called One Year No Beer Pirates). This group was started by an expat in Thailand named Daniel and has nearly 5,000 members. It is one of the smaller and more intimate groups I am part of. Daniel, among many other OYNB participants, believed that joining a sober Facebook community should be free, and created his alternative group as an off-shoot to OYNB. This group is welcoming to all and has small, sub-groups of pirates with similar interests (like educators, photographers, etc). I highly recommend checking it out! Here is a link to their website for more information.
The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober. This is a fan-created group for the popular book, The Unexpected Joys of being sober, and has no affiliation to the author of the book, Catherine Gray (I didn't realize this at first when I joined - I thought it was the official group.) This group has nearly 20,000 members and is huge! If you're looking for a large virtual community from all around the world, this is your place!
Sober Sisters: This is another small group, with just about 4 thousand members. This group is for women exclusively. It was created by Cath Knowlden, who is another sober coach like myself, based in the UK. Here is a link to her website.
I am also part of The Alcohol Experiment which is a 20, 000 member group created by Annie Grace, author of popular book This Naked Mind. I highly recommend signing up for her alcohol experiment - it's free and very much based on scientific facts around going alcohol free. While I am less of a science girl and more of a spiritual girl, I know many of my clients have found her work useful and I think gathering in as many tools as possible to help you succeed is important in sobriety. Here's a link to her website for more information.
The last group I want to mention is an amazing group created by my friend Sarah, who I met on One Year No Beer! She is developing her own course to quit alcohol (GO SARAH!) and is launching it this September. Her Group is called "Live and Let Learn: Drink Less, Live More." This group is for women and is not about full alcohol abstaining, but just setting a goal to drink less. I highly recommend checking this out - she has amazing videos she posts with mocktail recommendations, too!
What alcohol free groups are you part of on Facebook? What would you recommend? Comment below!