A SHEFFIELD based social network site is helping women across the world to confront their problems with alcohol.
“We have nearly 1,300 members in seven weeks,” said Lucy Rocca, co-founder of Soberistas. “We are pretty pleased with that.”
The new year has seen a spike in the numbers of women trying to give up drink, and turning to the website that encourages people to talk to each other, with a chat room and forum for posting comments.
“We have definitely seen an increase in hits,” said Lucy, aged 37, a university recruitment officer, who lives in Greystones with her fiancé and two children.
About 70% of members are from the UK, 20% from America and the rest from Europe and Australia and New Zealand.
Lucy said: “The general impression from reading the comments is that a lot of people have stopped drinking because of the website. A lot of people were sitting on the fence about giving up but they have taken the plunge. It has been really positive.”
Soberistas was set up by Lucy and her friend of nearly 20 years, Anita Herbert, aged 41, who lives in Broomhill with her husband and three children. Anita has since stepped back because of family commitments.
The aim of the website is to offer “a refreshing take on tackling the booze problem faced by hundreds of thousands of women” – many of whom are middle income, middle aged women who are turning to drink to relieve stress.
Too many glasses of wine were taking their toll on Lucy and Anita. They weren’t physically addicted to alcohol, but were drinking well over the number of recommended units, and they recognised the danger signs.
Their approach was to help each other, and it worked so well that they decided to help others to adopt a healthier and happier lifestyle.
The website features information about diet, exercise, research into alcohol-related issues, personal stories written by women who have successfully conquered their booze crises and book reviews about addiction, healthy lifestyle, self-help, yoga and spirituality.
People using the website tend to fall into one of two groups – those who had given up and wanted to share the experience and advice, and those wanting to stop drinking and did not want to turn to organisations such as AA.
Now the focus is on increasing awareness of the help that is being offered, and working more closely with the NHS and other organisations.
One contributor says: “Hi, its so hard isn’t it? Trouble is pouring a glass of wine doesn’t actually relax you as you just feel disappointed with yourself for doing it and as we all know its rarely just ‘a glass’. Just try again today.”
Lucy said: “We have been getting amazing comments – that we have been struggling for up to 30 years, and now we are getting on top of it.”