Club rules

We want Club Soda to be a nice supportive place to be. To make sure this is the case, please follow these Club Rules everywhere – in our online community spaces (like Facebook) and at any socials or other events organised by Club Soda.

Our full Terms and Conditions should be read by every member (you are bound by them even if you haven’t read them!). They cover everything about being a member of Club Soda, including these rules, an End User Licence Agreement for the use of our Apple mobile app and our General Terms and Conditions. That’s a lot to read, so we’ve included the Club Rules below for your convenience.

1. The basics

Always remember that Club Soda is not meant to be, and does not replace medical advice! This website’s content, or content on any other website linked to from here, is never a substitute for qualified professional medical care. The advice given by fellow members is also never a substitute for qualified professional medical care.

We have a zero-tolerance policy on harassment, bullying, hate speech and malicious stereotyping. This includes sexism, racism and slurs against an individual’s age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnic background, nationality, and other such personal characteristics.

2. Volunteer group admins and reporting posts

The admins of our online community are all volunteers. They do the best they can and they have a handbook we have written to guide them. They deal with reports of objectionable and offensive content, so if you see something that you feel shouldn’t be in the Club Soda community, please report it.

Our decision about how to handle reported content is final. If you have any concerns you should get in touch.

3. Protecting your own privacy

We encourage you to be open and honest in our online community spaces, and you should feel free to use your real name. Other Club Soda members have a responsibility to respect your privacy. But it’s also important to understand that any information or experiences you do share can carry the risk of revealing more about yourself than you intend.

You should, therefore, understand how our data sharing relationships work, and what information is shared with our partners and other organisations. We have set out further information about this in our Privacy Statement, which we strongly encourage you to read. To view our Privacy Statement click here.

On Facebook: You need to to take responsibility for yourself. If you are a part of Club Soda group on Facebook, you are bound by Facebook’s terms and conditions too. So do check out the privacy settings (more on this below). Many members have created Facebook profiles specifically to use with Club Soda groups, and this is one way to make sure your membership of the Facebook group stays private.

4. Respect the privacy of others

Do not tell anyone else that someone is a Club Soda member unless they explicitly tell you it’s ok to do so. If you have met them or know who they are in the real world, please remember that they may not have told their friends that they are changing their drinking habits, for example. Respect their right to make those decisions.

Don’t give away details of one-to-one conversations you have had with other members online or at socials and events.

If you are a journalist looking for a story, we ask you not to approach members directly. Our members are here for themselves and to get support. Not for you. If you want to talk to us please email jo@joinclubsoda.co.uk – we are very happy to talk and will find case studies for you if you need them.

5. Be nice!

Do not see friendship through a group as a signal that someone wants more than that. Sending sexual private messages or photos is not acceptable.

You may have had a bad day, or you may come online a bit pissed. Even so, please respect all members and guests at all times. Club Soda is not a forum to create negative feedback. In our online community spaces and at our socials, workshops and other events, you are encouraged to ask for support, to make decisions for yourself, and to let other members know what you find helpful. But there are no magic wands, so don’t get angry with others if their experiences do not apply to you.

Here are some common situations that can occur:

  • Someone has written something that creates a negative reaction in you or makes you angry or upset

First of all stop and think before you type. How you perceive someone else’s post may be as a result of how you are feeling or something else going on in your life. It may have hit a nerve. Do you need to respond right now?

Sometimes it is the most subtle wording that people misconstrue – this can lead to posts escalating out of control quickly as other members try to be helpful and clarify or follow the interpretation.

Try and always give the poster the benefit of the doubt, and look at the intention of their post rather than picking on nuances. If you are unsure then help the whole group (and the poster) by asking them to clarify what they mean.

  • You don’t like the advice you are offered or are getting too much advice

Everyone has their own experience of changing their drinking. They can only share their own experience. So advice offered by others is there for you to pick and choose. They are not orders. But it is worth taking note of those that are a bit further along the line than you.

If someone is persistent about repeating the same advice, thank them nicely and let them know that you will consider it, along with all the other advice you have had. If this gets too much let one of the admins know.

  • Someone has been rude or offended you 

In the first instance, we would like it if you could tell them so yourself. That way people know if their posts have been misinterpreted or taken in a negative way. If you are the ‘offender’ please consider a simple apology. Online communication can easily be misinterpreted, so even if you did not mean to be rude just say sorry.

  • What to do if you are unhappy about something you posted

You are responsible for your actions and what you share. You can always remove online posts and/or apologise, and we encourage you to do so if you find you have posted or said something you later regret.

You can delete a post by pressing the top right-hand arrow and clicking delete.

  • You are worried about a post or fellow member

Occasionally people write a worrying post. If it is someone you know you can try and contact them through direct messaging. But you can also report the post (press the top right-hand arrow) and that will alert the admins.

We will then try and get into contact with the person. We may also remove the post as often these can distress group members when we feel unable to help someone in need. But we never do this without trying to make contact with the person and letting the group know this is what we have done.

If you are worried that someone has ‘gone missing’ and you just want us to know – then tell one of the admins.

6. Support others

Listen, respond and share. The more everyone puts in, the more information there will be that will help everyone. Ask questions, offer useful feedback. You don’t need to offer advice. We each have to make up our own minds about what is best for us. Your experiences and friendliness are enough.

If you are worried about someone else’s behaviour, either something they may do to themselves or stuff they are posting on the site please get in touch.

7. Make sure socials and events are fun

Club Soda treats you like an adult, so it’s up to you to make friends, swap phone numbers, and find new drinking buddies if you like. But we also want Club Soda to be a safe place for everyone. In short, that means we will not tolerate behaviour that discriminates or is abusive or harassment. There is more about this in our terms and conditions.

8. Contacting other Club Soda members

Facebook gives you the option to send direct messages and friend requests to other Club Soda members. But they don’t have to accept these. If someone says no to either of these approaches don’t take it personally and accept that response as final.

You do not have to tolerate any unwanted, harassing, worrying, upsetting, or repetitive approaches from someone in the group. If you feel you can, say so to the person sending you inappropriate messages. You are also always welcome to message any of the admins, or get in touch. Your message will be treated with full confidence, and we will take you seriously, and do what we can to help.

9. Removing people from Club Soda

We don’t do this very often, but if you break these rules we will let you know and ask that you change your approach. If you continue to break these rules then we may remove you from Club Soda.

10. Facebook privacy

All our Facebook groups are closed groups. This does not mean complete secrecy – we can’t change Facebook settings, and they also change from time to time. This is what we understand them to be at the moment:

  • Only members who have joined the group can see your posts and comments. Anything you post in the group will appear on your own timeline but is only be visible to you and other members of the group – not all of your friends.
  • Your friends can only see you are a member if they find the group and click on it and look at the list of members. They would have to join the Club Soda group themselves to find the group or have clicked on our Facebook page and then clicked through to one of the private groups with an interest in joining themselves.
  • Club Soda groups are not publicly listed, but we think it may sometimes come up on your friends’ “suggested groups”. This is new, and was not the case when we started the first group (Facebook keeps changing how it works all the time, without telling anyone about it…).

You can read a little more about Facebook here. Being on Facebook has its ups and downs, but we think it’s a great way of meeting people where they are, and giving people easy access to information, advice and support from others. So unless something drastic changes, about the way we work or the way Facebook works, our groups will always be there. We hope at some point to build a fully secure and private online discussion space within our own Club Soda website for members who support us financially, and in the meantime, we will keep using Facebook in the most secure way possible.

11. Talking to other people and organisations that we recommend

If you have found a person or organisation via Club Soda that we’ve recommended, and that you feel may be able to support you, then it is up to you to make contact with them. The relationship is then between you and them. You are covered by their terms and conditions, and you should expect your reasonable and normal expectations about client relationships to be met by them. They will tell you more about how they work.

We recommend that you always have an exploratory phone or Skype call with the expert before you decide to interact with them further. That way you can be more confident that they are providing the right service for you to try.

If you feel that someone we’ve recommended has acted inappropriately, either on Club Soda or in their subsequent relationship with you, then please get in touch to let us know immediately. We will take all such messages very seriously.