Important stuff for women

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  I was waiting to work out how to pin this onto my topics of working full time, book reviews, e-books or research*. I was trying to work out how the subject area might particularly apply to freelancers, or researchers, or health. But then I thought: what do I do all this for? Helping people. And by talking about this subject, we might be able to help some people. So I’m going to write about it anyway.

Let me introduce you to Anita and Lucy. I came across them in a guest post they did on Alistair Campbell’s blog. He’s well known for being open and honest about – and campaigning about the treatment of – alcoholism and mental health issues. They’re the Soberistas. Alistair, Anita and Lucy have all struggled with alcohol abuse; all of them have kicked the habit; they’re talking about it, and they’re doing something about it, too. That’s the key.

Anita and Lucy have started off by talking about their own battles with alcoholism and are doing so in a straightforward, honest way, with not an ounce of self pity. That’s pretty brave, in my book. Let’s face it, we all know or knew someone who drinks too much; maybe we’ve even been there  ourselves. I know I had a dodgy phase in my 20s where I was in the pub most evenings with colleagues, trying to deal with a difficult work situation by drowning it in alcohol. Luckily I have always been too paranoid about only having myself to fall back on to slip into any addictions, but it’s so easily done. And, like the Soberistas say, there’s an acceptance of middle-class women knocking back bottles of good wine that is rather different to attitudes to a “typical” alcoholic with his bench and meths.

Having fought their own battles, these women then took a good, hard look at how they might have been helped. They were not keen on AA – and while I know that is a great help to many, why shouldn’t people have as many options as possible? And they’ve come up with the idea of the Soberistas website, which will be an online community, a bit like Mumsnet, to support women who are having issues with alcohol.

Soberistas proper will launch in November. I’d recommend following their blog, their Facebook page and/or their Twitter feed – and if you are able, in any way, to give them a bit of support, whether that’s talking about them, sharing this post, inviting them to do a guest blog post, pointing them to resources and resources to them, please do so. I’ve not been asked to do this; I’m certainly not being paid to, but like the other selected causes I support, I think this is a good one and worth a bit of our time and effort. Please join me in wishing the Soberistas well in their laudable campaign.

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*There is a tenuous link. I found out about these brave and inspiring women from an interview on Alistair Campbell’s blog. I wouldn’t have been subscribed to his blog had I not found out what a jolly decent chap he is when I reviewed his book, “The Happy Depressive”. Oh, and Iris Murdoch’s conception of the Good in her novels centres on being actively good and helping others. So it does tie into my main interests on this blog, really!

A quick note on Kiva

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As we all know by now, I like to be able to “give back”, whether that’s through sharing my experiences here, those of others on my Freelancer / Small Business interviews over on the Libroediting main blog, helping out at Social Media Surgeries or giving start-ups an hour or so of my time for free.

Another thing I like doing is giving people Kiva loans. Kiva is a charity that helps people to seed small businesses, mainly in developing countries. They work with organisations in the various countries who assess the people seeking money, and then basically crowdsource the funding to get the business going, or expanding. You can choose the type of people you want to give to (women, groups … ), the area of business they’re in and the country, and then browse through people to donate to.

The best thing is, it’s a loan. So your money does come back to you in instalments, and then you can lend it to someone else! We’re on our second and third loans now, so we know it works. It’s such a great idea and now Kiva have come up with a voucher so you can try it for free. I imagine it’s first come, first served, but here’s my voucher link – have a go! And do, please, let me know how you get on and if you go on to fund someone else.

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