It’s been a memorable start to the New Year for Lucy Rocca.
After launching the Soberistas website to help people with a drinking problem just over a year ago, she has seen two of her publications go into the bookshops - with a third on the way.
Meanwhile, the website, which now has more than 19,000 members, has been revamped to give more information, advice and support.
With Lucy a busy mother-of-two, she might have been tempted to reach for a bottle to help get her through the stress of Christmas and New Year.
But that’s the point.
After calling time on a 20-year episode of binge drinking, the 38-year-old, who lives in Greystones, says she doesn’t need alcohol any more.
“I didn’t feel the pressure. For me it was all or nothing. It got to the point where every time I drank there were negative repercussions.
“I didn’t miss the endless circle of regrets. It was a massively freeing feeling. I felt as I though I had escaped from prison. It was a time to focus on family and friends and concentrate on what matters instead of getting drunk.”
Charity Alcohol Concern has designated this month Dry January, highlighting the benefits to drinkers’ livers and general health.
Soberistas brings together people who are trying to tackle problematic drinking and those who have successfully kicked the booze, putting them in touch with each other. It’s about inspiration and motivation - and it’s a relatively informal approach that Lucy says has paid off in many instances.
“It was what we were hoping for, although it’s bitter sweet. It’s shown there is a massive problem, but the website is helping them get on top of their drinking problem.”
Lucy has been at the forefront, appearing on national TV and radio and taking the message across the world. She has featured in Vogue Australia and is about to appear in Vogue Canada.
Her commitment has turned into a full-time job, working alongside sister Claire Blank (Director of Social Media) and partner Sean Kilbane (Director of Technology), and stepping down from a part-time position with Sheffield Hallam University.
The vast majority of website visitors are women, typically aged 30 to 50, some of whom are tempted to reach for a glass at the end of a long, hard day. The time has been referred to as Wine O’Clock, which forms part of the subtitle of Lucy’s book, The Sober Revolution.
The other publication now in the bookshops (both have been available on Amazon, now on Accent Press) is Your Six Week Plan. A book based on Lucy’s blog is due in March.
Soberistas has come a long way over 14 months.
“It has grown gradually, but with large spikes from a couple of TV appearances. When we started we weren’t sure what the response would be, but as you read the stories, talk to people and meet the experts it’s clear this is a hidden epidemic.”