Monday, 4 January 2016

Identifying Your Tribe - Action Notes for the Newly Sober.

You have a shit load of....well, shit to think about when you first become sober.
  •  Strategies and activities to banish the Wine Witch at five o'clock,
  •  New shopping routes to buy NA beverages rather than the liquor store or the booze aisle,
  •  New sleep patterns
  • Strange "healthy" feelings from a newly hydrated body
  • No morning scramble to delete embarrassing social media posts from the night before
  • No faking knowledge about the new episode of Game of Thrones because you can't remember watching it...
Lots. Of. New. Shit.

But it's mostly good. In fact, as time goes on, it's the small things that start to make you feel bloody marvelous, and you start to believe that YES, this SOBER SHIT IS AWESOME!!

Until........PEOPLE....start to FUCK.IT.UP.

Yes, "people", all kinds of people in your life, that you thought you knew will start to behave in all kinds of bewildering ways, and if you're not careful, will have you second guessing all the hard work you have put into this new awesome lifestyle.

So to help is a brief guide, with ACTION help you navigate your way through the sea of false friends and assholes, and identify the your NEW LOVING SUPPORTIVE TRIBE......


These are people that you know slightly, that previously you used to ignore. This is because when you used to offer them wine in the afternoon (to legitimize your own drinking) they used to say things like

"Wine? Gosh, what are we celebrating?" or
"Wine? No thanks, just tea for me"

They also used to do strange things like not finishing a glass of wine. Leaving a half-finished bottle of wine on the table. Spend their weekends doing "non-drinking activities" like hiking, or outdoor sports, or anything tended that compromise your drinking you didn't take part, even when invited.

In short, these people CONFUSED THE CRAP out of you.

These people, over time will become part of your new tribe. At first they will be wary of you (because they are used to being ignored), but eventually, you'll be invited to all kinds of social events that will be fun. They won't make you feel uncomfortable because you're not drinking - because they rarely drink themselves!


These are your true friends that you abandoned because of their annoying habit of  Calling You On Your Bullshit.
Yes, the friends that used to say "I'm getting a bit worried about you, you texted me last night, were you drunk again?"
You ditched them, because they were FUNBUSTERS (or so you told yourself) and gradually they disappeared from your life, because you were rude, obnoxious, and self absorbed.

Start eating humble pie. Phone, text and email and APOLOGIZE for being a jerk. These people will be supportive and loving if you let them.
They will meet you for tea or coffee. They will check in and see how you are doing - they will be the CHEERLEADERS in your life, as you start to flourish and achieve things....without booze.


These people are basically annoying but harmless. They drink copious amounts, and say stuff to you like "Oh shit, are you still on the wagon?". But basically they don't care if you drink or don't drink. Because they are too drunk to give a shit.

Basically do nothing. Just observe. That used to be you. Not pretty is it?


These people are stealthy. They come disguised as friends. At first they will feign concern "Oh poor you, do you really have to give up FOR GOOD?".
They will try to test you 
"Oh go on, just one won't hurt"
Then they will openly try to sabotage you......"Oh, you won't last....remember when you tried to give up chocolate, that only lasted a week, just have a drink for God's sake, don't be so fucking uptight, have some fun...."
These people have some power, IF YOU LET THEM....because they are often family members or people you regarded as friends. So it's hurtful.
There are many reasons why they behave this way:
  • You shine a light on their own dysfunctional drinking
  • You have stopped playing the "role" that they expect you to play
  • They suffer from JEALOUSY, and dragging you back down makes them feel better
DO NOT try to explain yourself.  Do not try to "save" or "help" them. DO NOT play their games. Minimize CONTACT if they are family members, or better still ELIMINATE EFA's from your life COMPLETELY......

Very soon, you'll establish a new tribe. A new circle of positive people who love being sober and will help you love this life too. In fact, you've just started - welcome to Sober CyberWorld....

WB xx


  1. I love your description of "normals", it made me giggle. I used to check out new aquaintances for their potential as proper drinking buddies by doing things like testing willingness to drink during the day. Jeez, that should have been a warning to me right there. This is a very useful list, I'll be interested to see where the chips fall in my circle over the next few months. Red xx

    1. What is even more interesting, is when you meet new people who drink and THEY start to test'll see the disappointment in their eyes when you say, Oh, just tea for me please....but don't be sad, because they is hope for everyone, even the EFAs :)

    2. I think I might perversely enjoy that moment - the tester becomes the testee? Or is that something else entirely ;-) I am actually ashamed I used to form such hasty opinions of people. It's all very interesting..

    3. I know. I used to cast people aside if they didn't "fit" into my drinking life. But I'm making up for it now. And I am pleased to say that I have a lovely tribe, including everyone here in sober cyberworld xx

  2. True. All true. I think there is one more group. People who you used to drink with, who still drink, they wish you did to, but are trying to be supportive. The your-sobriety-is-my-cross-to-bearers, I guess.

    Great post!

    Wendy P

    1. You are so right! I had forgotten this group!

    2. This is so absolutely insightful.
      I love your actions.

  3. Oops. I replied

    I just want to say those drinking friends who pretend to be supportive, but still stink and think of you as a cross to bear should be considered EFA s. Avoid them in the short term, if possible.

    Give it some time and reevaluate.

    1. In the short term, I think you have to surround yourself with supportive people. I felt quite vulnerable, and if I had hung out with EFA's, I'm not sure how I would have reacted. Now, I can have some compassion - after all everyone has their own story - but I know it's not up to me to try and fix everyone, or explain myself. I have better boundaries now.

  4. Jackie,
    I have some wonderful friends and I am a very lucky person.
    I love how you wrote up each group!!

    1. Me too Wendy, I have a fantastic tribe x

  5. Brilliant post, WB, just brilliant. SM

  6. Thanks so much! Never thought of it this way. Plus an action plan. Great ideas!

  7. EFA's and a shit load of shit. You are ON FIRE today. love it!! All true:)