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People struggling with their alcohol use now have a new online place where they can go to get help anonymously from others with similar experiences. Living Sober (www.livingsober.org.nz) was launched today and is built for people wanting to examine their drinking habits by joining an online community of like-minded people.

The Living Sober online community is moderated by Lotta Dann, self-described former "boozy housewife" and author of the best-selling recovery memoir Mrs D Is Going Without. Lotta has been participating in online recovery since she gave up drinking nearly three years ago and knows how powerful the online community can be for people wanting to get sober.

"You have to do the work yourself, but you can't do it alone", she says "you need like-minded people to share with and be boosted along by. That's why this site is so great. People know they're all in there together talking to each other in kind, supportive and non-judgmental ways."

The website is supported by the Health Promotion Agency, Matua Rai (Addiction Workforce Development) and the New Zealand Drug Foundation, who wanted to provide a new way to reach kiwis who suffer the ill-effects of alcohol, potentially with non-diagnosed alcohol use disorder, and don't present to traditional alcohol treatment services.

"There is a hidden population of drinkers that we've been wanting to help, but it's difficult to identify them unless they access some form of treatment," said Vanessa Caldwell, Matua Raki National Manager.

Ms Caldwell says Living Sober "will open up the discussion about alcohol use, particularly for those that drink regularly at home and have a niggling concern that they are drinking more than they should."

The demand for this website is already breaking expectations, with over 400 members joining in the past 5 days. User feedback has been very positive:

  • "You people are amazing. I couldn't even get through one week sober. Am living a life of shame, fear, hangovers and misery. Reading your comments inspires me to try, try, try again. Big thanks for this site." – Anonymous feedback
  • "Mrs. D, I am so grateful to have this site and your blog. I never knew cyber company could be so understanding, forgiving, nonjudgmental and warm. Here's to a good week for us all x." – Anonymous feedback
  • "When I tried getting sober before I didn't change my life style at all and just hung around pubs to keep the peace and go along with everyone else. We need to support each other and the great thing is we have Living Sober which is so helpful to me, stay strong and good luck. Xx" – Anonymous feedback

The Living Sober online community is free to access, and membership is anonymous. Visit the website at www.livingsober.org.nz.

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