SPECIFICALLY FOR RURAL AUSTRALIANS
SITC isn't reinventing the wheel; but we are recalibrating the wheel for bush conditions - because the normal recommendations from specialists or GP's that we seek help via a century-old and city-based anonymous face-to-face support group as ''the only way'' for coming through alcohol abuse or addiction is both outdated and ineffective in rural Australia - where anonymity doesn't exist.
Peer support (we call this mates helping mates) is one of the non-negotiable cornerstones of recovery, so we're just taking it online, to ensure rural people overcoming addiction in permanent ''ISO'' have a safe place to connect, too.
The SITC Bush Tribe is our online platform for those who:
a) recognise and acknowledge that they need to cut back or quit using alcohol
b) are willing and prepared to be engaged, proactive, and help themselves
c) appreciate a non-judgemental space to chat with like-minded peers
d) don't have the time or money to leave their lives / jobs / farms to travel to services
We have an unapologetically laser-focused demographic and strict point of ID, simply because this is the invisible group of Australians that's being overlooked again, and again, and again. And because we believe a sustainable rural Australia cannot exist without sustainable rural Australians.
Melissa: ''Being a part of this group has given me a strong sense of connection with others that are feeling the same way and gives me a reason to keep going.''
Milly: ''When you're isolated and alone it’s a place you can go, that’s always at your fingertips, where you’ll be offered love, wisdom and acceptance.''
Mick: ''I was working full time on-farm but falling apart. SITC was the only place I could 'go' that made any sense to a bloke like me in my situation. It's just real talk. The work was up to me, but starting here gave me my life and my family back.''
Jackie: ''No longer alone and isolated, uniting to fight the same fight to stay sober in the country.''
Meegan: ''a group of peers that are from the bush. That understand what isolation is, how hard it is to ask for and find help when you're from a small rural community. No judgment, just love and support.
Leah: ''If I wanna' say No I know I don’t have to feel like I’ve got 2 heads … & is OK to say No!!
Sally : ''For me this place has given me the back bone I didn’t have against alcohol....
It’s given me a none judgemental attitude towards alcohol and towards the people that still enjoy it sensibly.''
Charity: ''It’s like talking to long-lost friends. All very like-minded people with lots of the same values and goals. We are all just wanting to be better people for our family and friends. That’s what I love about this group.''
Amy: ''A remedy for the social expectation and loneliness of recovery in the country. The group takes on the added obstacles of distance and lack of anonymity and in turn that is what creates the community of individuals supporting one another in a safe place.''
Maree: ''No real words .... other than it ‘just works’ ..... in isolation, we are together.''
Cate: ''This is a safe place that helps isolated people to find what they need to get and stay sober in a world that doesn’t yet support or understand that choice. This group saves lives.
Nigel: ''SiTC works for me - it's an amazing group of people with the common goal to be AF and beat the demon of addiction. It's there 24/7 it really works when you need it - there is always someone to listen when the triggers are there in a safe nonjudgemental supportive space. Thanks Shanna and all in the group, it supported me to change my life.''
Jenny: ''This amazing group is my new sober family and I reach out each day to read people's stories and comments and know that I am not alone in my new journey of sobriety.''
Adrienne: ''Once I was lost, now I am found sums up how I feel about this amazing group of rural folk. No more loneliness, no more struggling in the dark not knowing where to turn for connection. My heart and mind overflow with gratitude every day.''
Lindy: ''A non-judgemental community of supportive kind and respectful people who 'get you' living in similar environments and understanding the particular challenges that we face.''
Paul: ''As a rural professional my life revolves around grog. Well, it used to. Now I go to the gym and I've learned how to say no - and my mates are starting to accept that no means no.''
Sally: ''SITC offers Camaraderie Support and a comfortable place to stay.
Sally: ''It’s very hard to work our sobriety in small towns that don’t have an AA meeting. And even if they do - nobody is anonymous. This is a network of like minded people who support each other online, it’s great!''
Belinda: ''I am never, ever alone when I can reach out, or just read other's posts''.
Sam: ''SITC is to me like a friend who gets me.''
Vicki: ''I joined SITC out of curiosity and found sobriety, I also found a group of like minded rural Australian professionals who understood the drinking culture of Australia and how hard it is to moderate your drinking or get help for a drinking problem in the country.''
Kirra: ''It has made being alcohol-free something to aspire to... after missing the so called camaraderie of the drinking culture, I found it here! It made me feel normal....and though I don't post much, reading other REAL human beings struggles and journeys gives me fortitude. You are ALL amazing.''
Stacey: ''SiTC is a place of complete non-judgemental support and understanding for the trials and tribulations of going sober in a small rural or remote community.''
Lesley: ''Before I found SITC, I was feeling like I must be just about the only person in rural Australia not drinking. Since finding Shan and this group I have a sense of belonging to the conversation and movement. Reaching out and connecting with peers is a strong antidote against loneliness and isolation. (Which I would have been drinking over in my past).''
Katherine: ''There is no judgment and no telling. Just support.''
Matthew: ''SITC allows for the formation of the village mentality despite the distance , in this place people are supportive , encouraging but promote the individuals ability to look at their own life . A place where sharing allows for ownership .''
Vicki: ''What was it I woke from a dream once with “It takes a being lonely to be an alcoholic, but it takes a village to get sober”. This is my village.''
Kel: ''It saved my life just knowing I’m not the only one''.
Donna: ''Support knowing I’m not alone.''
JE: ''You can just log on and chat 24/7, anytime, anywhere. Somebody always answers your call of help by the way of words. Honest support from professional people with the same aim.''
James: ''SITC showed me that being sober is its own reward.''
Lisa: ''It has just occurred to me that the local 'watering hole' (aka pub) is the only community hub for so many who are rural. It’s where people gather to catch up, talk about farming, have a good laugh, support each other..there’s all sorts of reasons. Yet a pub only seems to cater for those drinking a lot of alcohol - which makes for those of us stepping away from the drinking environment so very isolating and difficult. This group, this SITC family, is educating Australia and filling that void. Shanna & her amazing crew have created a virtual community meeting place for those of us who can drop in any time of the day or night, where you feel safe, understood, loved and accepted, there is no judgment and no questions asked. My life is worth living sober due to this incredible family who are Sober in The Country. Thank you every single one of you!''
Veronica: ''Being connected is so important when your illness tells you you are worthless. When you are connected to like minded people the effect is healing and gives you the strength to fight.''
Jessica: ''I finally started living when I ditched alcohol. I was merely existing and barely surviving when I was drinking, but now I have found a huge sense of gratitude and excitement for life!''
Meredith: ''I have been fairly quiet in the group and haven’t really shared my story yet, but the encouragement from reading everyone’s stories, not just how good everyone is doing but also the stories that prove we are all human have helped me be truthful to myself about my alcohol intake. This group has helped me realise its ok to say no.. hard but ok and the longer we do it for the easier it gets. ''
Sam: ''SITC gives me comfort that recovery is possible .. the power of like minds connecting is a beautiful thing! Thanks Shanna xx ''
Kellie: ''Unconditional support and love, a unique feeling like you do matter and belong. Thank you SITC family.''
Christie: ''This page offers a safe space for both the recovering and the recovered which is so important as someone’s personal story of struggle, and triumph in beating their addiction becomes others survival guide.''
Brad T: ''Pleased I'm sober during this pandemic, would make it ten times worse for me and everyone around me if I wasn't.''
Luke: ''In the absence of any state or federal Government giving a f*k whether country people live or die SITC is all we have. It feels like that because it is like that. Our suicide rate is out of control. For every 100,000 people in Australia 15 commit suicide each year. For every person that takes their life 30 others attempt to. If you live in a rural/remote area you are twice as likely to kill your self.T his has been the health crisis Australia doesn’t engage. SITC is keeping people alive.''
Pat: ''I only joined 1 week ago. I read posts, realise that I am not alone. AA does not appeal to me. Local councillors are my work colleagues. My doctor and this group are amazing support. I feel confident that I can stay sober.''
Pip: ''I felt alone, unsure at first but quickly totally hugged and held up by others. I started this journey looking at a dry sparse paddock, but the support taught me how to grow this into a lush green forest, full of choices and activities to burn.''
Angela: ''This space has been a major part of my recovery. Real people who understand the challenges of being rural/remote. We all share our achievements as well as our struggles. Connection saves lives and that is exactly what SITC does. SITC plays a big role in keeping people in recovery and supports those who are navigating their way to recovery or a better relationship with alcohol.''
Andrea: ''It's a safe, diverse group where I identify with so much of others - between all of us I'd say there isn't a problem, feeling or experience that other members can't find also relate to and can offer, if not advice, then a supportive comment.''
Vicki: ''It’s all really well-mediated. Thanks boss lady and sidekick!''
BJ: ''Reading strangers' stories made me believe that life without alcohol was going to be not only ok but it was going to be fulfilling and honest and amazing. These people, whom i have never met and most likely will never meet, have my back and I have theirs - it feels like we are members of an exclusive club that is wholly inclusive.''
Lizzie: ''I’ve been given a sense of belonging and comfort in the knowledge that a ‘lifeline’ is always at the ready should I need it.''
Ziggy: ''This space has saved my life. It is the support and trust that gave me the safe place to reach out and feel not alone I am now 15 weeks sober and living the dream thanks to this wonderful group.''
Andrea: ''On the whole I think country people work, play, think and drink differently to our city mates. Having a group like SITC has been a life saver for me because I understand these people and I am comforted and challenged by their knowledge''.
Andrew: ''SITC offers me support, confidence I’m not alone and reassurance that it’s normal and ok not to drink alcohol. Thank you.''
Ren: ''In 20 years this is finally a place that truly “gets it”, the rural isolation, the drinking culture, the drinking pressure in outback Australia that’s killing us - and is truly here to change what has becomes a deadly social norm...that as one person we can’t change but as a tribe we can!''
Ralph: ''SOBER IN THE COUNTRY , where hope and happiness begins!''