6 things I learned from a WhatsApp Group melt-down

It all started innocently enough with a little trip to the cinema and a phone on silent for a few hours.  Then returning home to find 120+ messages on our Tribe Sober WhatsApp group.  It is a busy group but this was crazy….sure enough there had been a serious disagreement on there.  Precipated by someone clearly “under the influence”.  Several people left the group in disgust and one lady described the whole thing as a “debacle”.  Worst of all there were some brand new members on there who were clearly not finding the “safe and supportive” space they had been promised when they subscribed!

When people have a “slip up” on the road to sobriety I ask them to reflect on what happened and consider what they can learn from the experience.  So I am applying my own medicine – what did I learn from our “debacle”..

I learned that this Tribe Sober WhatsApp group is very important to me.  I set it up in November 2015 to support the people who came along to that very first workshop.  Since then we have run 30 more workshops and started a subscription membership programme so the group has grown.  We have a mix of people on the group.  Some who have successfully got sober, others who are just starting out and many in between  –  and it (usually) it works very well.  It is the “heart” of our community.

I learned that one person can do a lot of damage to a community and that it was tough (but obvious) that I had to block that person for the good of the group.

I learned that many of us who read the messages got a nasty reminder to that unhappy and repetetive cycle of drinking, bad behaviour, anxiety, apology.  An unwelcome reminder that alcohol can change our personality – bringing out our “dark” side.

I learned that there is a lot of love and compassion on the group – many people private messaged me to see how I was dealing with the fall out

I learned that we have an awesome Membership Co-ordinator who sprung into damage limitation mode while I was still in shock – thank you Sue ;-)

I learned that I still don’t want WhatsApp Group “rules”!

So just few days after the debacle and normal WhatsApp service is resumed – in fact I think the incident brought us even closer…

Janet x


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