If you’ve been a member of our Facebook group for any length of time, I hope that doesn’t need too much of an answer 😉 but some background may help.
I stopped drinking back in 2004, and in 2006 I started helping people when we launched The Alcohol-Free Shop – the WORLD’S FIRST shop dedicated to alcohol-free wines, spirits, beers, cocktails and other alternatives to alcohol.
Yes, it’s a shop, and yes, we sell alcohol-free drinks, but I couldn’t begin to count how many people I’ve spoken to over the years – by email, messenger, telephone, video, and even in person – who’ve come to me for advice. And sometimes that advice has included “Don’t buy our drinks”, because the person asking isn’t mentally ready for them. The health of people has always come before anything else.
I’ve received SO many emails, letters and even postcards over the last 16 years telling me that the shop and our advice has “saved their lives”. I can’t describe just what an amazing thing it is for someone to say that to you. But I’ve always thanked them and said that THEY saved their own life, but we’re glad we helped. But still, it’s wonderful they think that and take the time to tell us.
And then in 2020 as the first lockdown started in the UK, we launched the Community. And look at us all now! Just 2 years later, we have – what many people say a lot – possibly the nicest, friendliest, alcohol support group on the internet! A lot of that has been driven by our core philosophy of “no judgement”. Of course, no judgment doesn’t mean an easy pass – as some people have found out when they’ve had a gentle kick up the arse now and again 😉
It’s one of the highlights of my life that we’ve built up this amazing Community over the last 2 years, starting with 0 members and now at nearly 3,000. And that number would be MUCH higher if we didn’t turn down a lot of people because they simply don’t answer any of the member’s questions. But we’re very careful about the quality of the group, unlike many others we’ve all seen. That’s probably why it’s such a lovely place – you’re lovely members!
And regardless of my own personal experience, the membership isn’t just about me. As a paid Community, we’ll be able to afford to invest in other people who can help in ways that I simply can’t. And THAT is particularly exciting!