It’s now a year since we launched Club Soda. So I wanted to write this post to say a big thank you to all our founder members, and explain a bit more about what I want Club Soda to become in our second year.
I do feel a little self conscious about it. I know we are not quite where we want to be yet, and hope that you will stick with us, as we find ways to make the ideas we have and that you have given us this year into a reality.
I know that does not mean very much to you, unless I first share with you the ambitions we have for this club. What we hope it can do to support you and the mission, vision and values that drive us.
My idea for Club Soda was to create something for people like me. Those of us who drink too much and know something has to change, but who are also busy with work, family and the business of life – the things that both sustain us and probably aid our over drinking.
I wanted to create a space that felt friendly and comfortable. Where you could belong. Somewhere that does not ask you to stick any sort of labels on yourself, especially the word “alcoholic”, something that instead helps you harness your own natural skills to solve your problems. Where you can choose your own goals, and find the best support for you personally.
What does this mean in practice? Over this year we have experimented with workshops (both offline and online), socials and other events. We have written blogs and sent emails, and we have watched how you have responded. We have connected with other people in the field, from alcohol services professionals and therapists to yoga teachers and nutritionists, and have enjoyed collaborating with them, and sharing what we are doing. We have had lovely feedback from many of them, and help and guidance from others. And that’s the way we’d like to continue as well: working together with everyone. The issues we are dealing with are certainly big enough for there to be a place for many different approaches.
But all the different approaches, both by us and by others we’ve talked to, seem to me to lead to one single place. It’s about curating the best of what is available, and delivering it to you in one place, to inform and guide your own personal journey. Making information and support easy to find whatever your goal. Making it easy to connect with others like you. Allowing you to articulate what you are struggling with, and bringing new ideas, tools and resources to you.
Most of all, we know now that we can do this both online and face to face. Because we never want to lose connection with the thing that probably made us drink too much in the first a place – our desire to be social and enjoy spending time with others. You may have seen the slogan we sometimes use: “We get pissed together, so why should we have to get sober alone?”. It really seems to resonate with many people and sort of sums up the idea that what we do online is a catalyst for doing more offline.
Over the next year we hope to find funding that will help us realise these ambitions. So far, we’ve had bits and bobs of money to keep us going. With a bit of luck, and power to our elbows, we can raise the game and give you what you have asked for, and what we want to give to you. High quality practical advice, motivational digital tools, workshops that have an impact, and a marketplace of experts and perks rated by you.
Thank you for being with us this first year, and I look forward to being with you in 2016 too.