latest news from SITC HQ
COVD-19: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY - AND, WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE CHARITY. HINT: IT'S GOOD.
Hello, SITC family,
Well. Crikey. Howya' going?
Last time I updated 'latest news' it was to share our chocker-block AMAZING calendar for 2020 and the adventures Australia-wide we had in store sharing our charity and our positive message.
I was literally committed to travel non-stop in the coming months, and it was a mind-blowingly exciting thing for this little black sheep ... because we were about to see 4 years of work, risk, faith and commitment come to fruition.
Additionally, those speaker events were also to become our primary source of income back into the charity, along with my own first personal modest ''paid salary'' since 2014.
In 2 weeks, life as we know it has been tipped upside down. All our events, bookings, tours etc are cancelled, suspended, or in the Great White COVID-19 Unknown.
As I am sure everyone in Australia now understands or relates to, it's scary as hell. It's not just me or us here. All of us are impacted in ways that we cannot have imagined.
The financial and emotional cost to the charity (and me, personally) has been haaayuuuge. And on a candid note, as always, I will tell you point-blank that last week I curled up into a tight little ball and cried like I haven't cried for years almost every day. Big, fat, ugly hiccoughing sobs and ugly-splotchy-face crying that went on-and-off for days and had Fleabag staring at me from close by and sitting, standing, and on-guard more closely than usual. Tim, bless his socks, cooked and cleaned and did what he does which is to alternatively drive me crazy with manly-talk and make me love him more in equal measure.
Today, I am back at ''the desk'' for the first time in a proper capacity, and here is what a week of time out go seriously grieve, feel-the-feels (something sobriety taught me as an essential survival tool 5 years ago), process everything and think through has taught me.
And guess what?
It is all positive.
Here are the top 10 positive things coronavirus has revealed to me personally and what it has already revealed about why our charity is more important right now than it has ever been:
It occurred to me this week that I have literally been training my whole life for working, surviving, living, and finding solutions from challenging circumstances and in isolation. It's back to ''business as usual'' for me, in many ways. I am equipped for the job. Yay.
Our charity - as it turns out - is ahead of the game. We don't need to adapt and transition as we are 'already' online and creating connection and safety for over 600 rural professionals (via our private rural professionals group) and tens of thousands of others via our other main public social networks who've been learning from our unpolished, colloquial, real talk and virtually choosing health first for a couple of years.
Some of our oldest and fiercest critics who vehemently opposed SITC from day one and declared that ''face-to-face'' support is the ONLY way to cut back on grog or get (and stay) sober are now stepping up, graciously apologising and even reaching out to ask us how it's done - and they are finally understanding we can all be on the same side, no matter how we personally choose 'do' sobriety or less beers.
It is literally becoming easier by the nanosecond to prove Australia's desperate and frightening dependence on alcohol thanks to our very own government deciding to label the supply of booze as an ''essential service.'' **And yes, please know we get the ins-and-outs and complexities within this statement.. it is a BROAD statement only. Despite some assumptions to the contrary, we are not even saying or advocating that bottle-shops or delivery services be shut down - because we KNOW people aren't all problem drinkers and plenty will be safely enjoying a beer or wine in moderation. As is their right. SO, please: breathe! Remember we are not prohibitionists. We are, however, questioning why the impending inevitable disasters around alcohol + isolation for those who ARE in real trouble has not yet been raised or acknowledged by our own health ministers.
Philanthropists are reaching out to ''check in'' and let us know that they can recognise and see how now, more than ever, this type of initiative is imperative in the rural space especially. Thankfully, philanthropists are those who make change happen and take risks, and we are incredibly grateful to The Snow Foundation, The Arnott Family, Craig Heraghty, Roberts & Morrow Chartered Accountants, and Webb & Boland Solicitors Moree who have been risk-takers alongside us supporting and giving us a leg-up. Their contributions are all that will keep us below ''zero'' in the face of what COVD-19 wiped out in one week. So, we are lucky!
Agriculture and indeed the rural space and all of us who dwell, work, and live in and around it are being validated completely (finally) as the rest of the nation now understands (for the first time in their lives in so many instances) the unquestionable life-and-death truth that the minority of Australia feeds the majority ... so imagine when food supply is deemed as an ''essential service'' as alcohol already has been...
These facts in themselves further prove why our ministers, parliament, and leaders cannot possibly in good conscience continue to wilfully ignore this (and other alcohol awareness charities) and our collective ongoing attempts for collaboration and discussion. For SITC, these attempts have always been 100% focused on addressing sustainability, services, and support for those skilled men and women who get up and show up to feed and clothe the rest of Australia, no matter what.
Sober in the Country Ltd is no longer just a volunteer or even just a 'charity' - we are now a national voice with serious impact and reach. And we will continue to strive for a balanced voice that is always about people before profit.
We are daily establishing national alliances in media, health care, and a growing tribe of celebrities and influencers with massive voices.
Despite the challenges to me personally in the face of lost security - I am grateful beyond measure that my sobriety and commitment to being recovered is rock solid, and not once has that been threatened. (As we say, by the Grace of God, go I.)
So, yeah - I am back on deck, and I've come out swinging.
Stand by for a rebooted 2020.
We are down, but we are not out.
To ALL OF YOU in this, we send our love. TOGETHER WE CAN DO THIS.
Shan & the SITC tribe