We like supporting and helping others when they have had a blip.
We are an amazing bunch of individuals in Club Soda. We have interesting jobs, hobbies and families. Our backgrounds and experiences vary. It is no surprise that each of us has a different route to changing our drinking habits.
There is no direct route to changing your alcohol use. It is not as simple as saying ‘I am moderating’ or ‘I am stopping’ and then it just happens. Before you even got to Club Soda you may have tried various attempts to change. Read books and blogs, set yourself goals, blipped and re-blipped.
Once you are on the road to feeling more confident about your drinking and feel the tug of booze less and less, we can forget what those first few months were like. Things that we found easy at the start are also harder for others, and vice versa.
But one thing that remains true is that supporting others, both practically and emotionally, to achieve a similar goal to you not only helps you achieve your own goal, but also helps you maintain that goal when you’ve reached it. Here are some ways of supporting and helping others, in particular when they’ve had a blip on their journey.
7 ways to support someone who has blipped
You don’t have to be perfect or fixed to help others. In fact, a variety of advice from a range of people at different stages in their journey can really help. It is all about shared learning.
The speed at which we pick up our goals again is crucial. So when responding to others, focus on what they need to get started again. It is a fine balancing act. We don’t want to sound like having a blip is okay (and in so doing give people permission to do it again), but we certainly want people to focus on picking themselves up and getting re-started as soon as possible, and treating themselves with compassion rather than anger.
Put yourself in their shoes. It is easy just to trot out the same old ‘well that did not work for me’. Really reading their post, thinking through what you know about their situation, and asking questions about their life and the challenges for them may help you tailor your experience to their needs – or even better, discover something about your own journey that you may have seen as insignificant, but that could be of a great help to someone else.
Ask questions. The best way to feel that we are being constructive rather than offering platitudes is to ask questions. They can help people think through what went wrong, and what the next steps are. Here are some suggestions:
What was your trigger?
How could you avoid or manage this in the future?
What will you achieve by quitting/cutting down?
What is your biggest achievement since you set your goal?
What is your biggest challenge ahead?
What is the next thing you will do?
How committed are you?
How confident are you?
Get them to do a WOOP. Encourage them to share their wish, outcome, obstacle and plan with the rest of the community for added commitment and accountability.
Signpost them to articles and things that helped you. You may not have the answer, but someone may have written about it on our website. Use the search box to find useful tips. Or you may have found a blog elsewhere. Be generous in sharing your drink suggestions and other little tips.
Our online courses may help. Club Soda offers much more than a Facebook group, and our courses and workshops are designed to support people through the first three months, or even their first Christmas with their new drinking habits.
And remember: by helping others you are also helping yourself.