Community is Key
There are four different ways to connect to community within Sobriety School:
Secret Facebook Group
Lab calls (intimate, peer-processing sessions)
Office Hours with Holly + guest teachers (expert-lead Q&A calls)
In real life events (coming in fall 2019)
You can take part in as many (or as little) of these as you’d like.
Secret Facebook Group
Our 24/7 community where you can share wins, make friends, ask for help, and build a dynamic community of support. If you need support on joining the Facebook group, please email email@example.com
Daily video processing sessions with peers facilitated by Teaching Assistants. Typical Labs have 6-10 participants and are focused either on a topic or on the personal needs of the group.
3. Weekly Q&A Calls.
Weekly video calls (office hours) where you can get your questions answered by Holly and our experts. The real benefit can be found in the chat room where students make connections over topics, learn about resources, and get peer support.
4. In-Real-Life Events
We currently have real-life community events in various locations; you can join our waiting list here or lead events in your community.
Holly’s Community Guidelines
The guidelines, which were originally developed for our Facebook community, extend to our Labs, Q&A calls, and any other Tempest facilitated community space.
We’ve spent years refining these guidelines; they are our secret sauce and the reason our community is like no other place on the internet (or the planet). Before engaging with other students please watch the video and/or refer to the written guidelines. We collectively make this a safe and magical place and it starts with all of us knowing and upholding these guidelines.
Our online community is arguably one of the best parts of the course. It’s where you’ll make friends and connections, receive and support and encouragement and virtual hugs when shit gets tough, where you’ll celebrate milestones and wins and learn, always, that you’re never the only one experiencing something. And it’s here for you 24/7.
But first, on Facebook. We currently use Facebook because nothing parallels it in terms of fostering connection.
We have implemented a number of features to make Facebook more “user friendly” (see the FAQs here - they offer how-to tips such as how to disable your newsfeed, turn off notifications, and more). Make sure and check these tips out. If you don't have a Facebook account, we do recommend that you create an anonymous profile for the purpose of this course. Once you have created that account (or if you need help), email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make sure we have the email address you used.
Other people are terrifying.
A number of us will be completely put off by the idea of engaging with other people (like Holly who prefers cats and trees); we might write and rewrite our intros and do all sorts of things based on the idea that we are different and people are scary and we’re going to be judged, etc. It’s important to remember that almost all of us feel that way to a degree. This is why it’s so important to join community; these are your people.
The Facebook group is a secret group.
This means that no one can see you are part of the group, what you post to it will not show up in your friend’s feeds, if you are tagged in a post in the Secret Group it will not show up anywhere outside the group, and if you accidentally tag someone from your Facebook friend list, they will not be notified they were tagged. While it appears you can add people to the group, only your TA and the Admins are authorized to add individuals to the group.
We split into cohorts of about 45-60.
Cohorts are grouped by time zone and sometimes by underrepresented populations (we know that being in community with others who share identities and lived experience can be of extreme importance; we are still trying to figure this part out but we do have this design intention where it is possible).
Each group is administered by a Teaching Assistant (“TA”). The group size is strategic for optimal interaction: 50ish people in one group is enough so that there is interaction but not so much you get lost—this is the sweet spot between chaos and a ghost town. Your TA is responsible for answering all your questions, making sure the community guidelines are adhered to, and running Labs (small group video calls held via Zoom, to process material and experiences ). Your TA will be your main point of contact; they are responsible for making sure your needs are met, you are heard, and any questions you have get answered.
The space is sacred.
The Secret Facebook Group is meant to be a place for you all to come to know one another and support one another as we are moving through these 8 weeks together. As you are comfortable, please introduce yourself and maybe share a picture (pictures make a world of difference). If you don’t want to say hi just yet (or ever), that's fine, too. You can talk about your struggles, you can ask questions about the school, you can ask for support, you can share wins, you can share tools. It is yours for whatever you want, need, and only you get to decide how you use it. This is your tool to use and there is no right or wrong way.
Diversity and inclusiveness is paramount.
We have an increasingly diverse population—different sexual orientations and gender identities, races, sizes, abilities, ages . We have army veterans and people who live in different countries. We have those with lots of economic privilege and those with less. We have Republicans and Democrats! Basically there are all kinds of perspectives and experiences here, and we need to all do our best to make this space welcoming and safe for everyone.
Because Holly created this program from her own experience, it will still reflect--in some parts at least--the life of someone that looks like her. Please don't let that affect your idea of who is in here. If you feel like you are the only person who doesn't identify with that life, please know you are not. Conversely, if you identify Holly and her life, please remember that not everyone does. Specifically to those of you who feel like you aren't represented here, please know that we are working hard to make sure that you are, and that the only way we can truly create an inclusive program is to have stories like yours in the narrative. This means we ask you to tell us if you feel excluded, what we can do to make you feel more included, and also that you help us make this something you can stick with so that the next generation of people who come through this program have representation.
Keep in mind a few simple rules.
The first rule is tolerance. There are a lot of us here at different points on these unique and beautiful paths, and there is no wrong way, and there is no right way. There is your way. We have a no-shaming policy which just means refraining from saying anyone's path is wrong or they are doing it the wrong way—only support and love please. A good rule here of thumb here is to speak only of your own experience and lens and what is right for you, vs. what everyone else should be doing. Phrasing it with statements like “In my experience” or “For me, …” is the way to go.
The second rule is confidentiality. What is said in this space and who is in this space stays in this space, with no exceptions, ever. Confidentiality extends to Holly and the TAs and other service providers—we share private things, too.
The third rule used to be “no politics,” but that has changed a bit. You are welcome to discuss politics as it affects you personally and impacts your recovery. The rule evolved because racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, ableism, and so on are often written off as politics, or “identity politics,” rather than personal experiences that are lived and contribute to addiction. Here is what we ask: that you remember the primary goal of the group is recovery, that things are discussed in terms of how they affect you. This isn’t a forum for political debate, ever. This is a forum for supporting each other and hearing what each other has to say and where their pain comes from, sometimes even when it is in direct conflict with our own beliefs.
Fourth, no posting pictures of alcohol or drugs. This can be a huge trigger to some and there is plenty of it everywhere else. There have been a few exceptions to this—pictures where someone is throwing out their old wine bottles, articles that are incredible resources that unfortunately have pictures of alcohol. Use your discretion—it should be exceptional if you must absolutely share it and the words "trigger warning" must be written above any picture that includes alcohol, drinking, or drugs.
Fifth, no indication of intent to harm to others or intent to harm self. Remember the Facebook group is not meant to serve as acute crisis support. Your friends are not trained as crisis counselors, and talking about suicide ideation, or intent to harm self or others puts the community in a situation they aren't capable of handling. Any explicit statements about intent to harm self or others will be removed, we'll reach out to you directly to support you and help you find the right resources.
It will take time to get to know one another, to understand cadence and get comfortable, and that is okay.
People may say things that make you uncomfortable or annoyed or freaked out—that's okay. It will DEFINITELY happen. The best way to deal with something that you don't know how to respond to or don't want to engage in is to not respond at all.
You don’t have to say the perfect thing.
If someone posts something and your words feel inadequate or not enough, remember you don't have to say anything perfect (or anything at all). Please hear us on this: Simply saying "I hear you, you are heard" is more than enough. Liking a comment is more than enough. Just READING someone's words is more than enough. (One of our favorite resources on empathy that we have used to help guide how we respond is this Brené Brown video.) Likewise, don't expect people to say the perfect thing to you, either.We never know who reads our words, who processed it, who sent us love, who is holding us, who is finding comfort in sharing an experience with us. We're here to love and support each other and that's never quantifiable, and every word we drop into any community space is sacred and important.
Your safety lies in your defenselessness.
This is a concept we talk about a lot in the relationships section during Week 5. The idea is that our safety comes from not engaging or defending - our power comes from removing ourselves from situations. There may be some posts that you don't like, or that confuse you or make you annoyed or a whole host of things. The best action is no action. Move on to something that you connect with—spend your precious energy wisely.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMETHING FEELS INAPPROPRIATE OR HARMFUL.
If anything is ever said that you feel is inappropriate or harmful, please email us immediately and let us know. In the history of the school we’ve only had to remove a handful of posts. For the most part people use good judgment! (But not always because we are, after all, people.) You can email your TA, or email@example.com. If your TA, Holly or any employee says something inappropriate and harmful, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org; this is an inbox for reporting harmful behavior by staff of Tempest to our Diversity, Inclusion and Equity department (managed by Justice Waidner-Smith); service providers (TAs, coaches, Holly, other subject matter experts) don't have access to it so you can submit anonymous claims.
YOU ARE SO VERY IMPORTANT.
Sometimes Facebook groups can give you this feeling like “it’s all happening without me,” or that you’re on the outside of something that it isn't yours, or that your words are silly, or myriad other kinds of self-doubt. This is one of the most common things that we feel in big groups. If you feel your words aren't important, or you’re problems are too much, or your problems are too little, or you wrote too much, or you feel too much, or you are too much—please know everyone else feels that way, too. Your words—no matter what they are—are valued. This is your home, even when you haven't spoken, even if it takes you awhile to speak. Never forget you are so very important - just as special as everyone else, and your words matter exactly as much.
THE WHOLE RAINBOW IS NEEDED.
Whatever it is you are going through—from celebrating days of sobriety, to feeling completely defeated, to drinking when you didn't mean to, to having the best day of your life, to having the worst day of your life—people need to hear it. EVERYONE is at a different spot here and there is always someone that needs to hear where you're at. Most importantly: if you drink when you didn’t mean to, or feel you’re “behind” and everyone else is sober, you will typically not want to post that. You are NEVER alone in this experience, and when you post these vulnerable, scary, experiences, you’ll find so much connection and affirmation, and help others who are experiencing the same thing.
13. WE LOVE YOU.
We are so glad you are here. Your safety and your comfort and success are our primary concern. We can't say this enough.
of Addiction is Connection
Johan Hari famously said, “The opposite of addiction is connection,” and in his book Social Matthew Lieberman says “having a poor social network is literally as bad for your health as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day.” (Wha?). Either way, having a network is vital to recovery. People need people and this is a basic human need.
Meet our team below; they’re here to help facilitate the community and are focused on the most impactful ways to connect people with people.
DL, Teaching Assistant
DL is a Teaching Assistant and HSS Alum. They are a dork, a boundary aficionado, a powerful crybaby, and can be found listening to early 2000’s Emo music in their bright red Toyota Corolla. DL is a queer, gender-nonconforming, chronic pain babe of Germanic, Irish, and African descent. They are invigorated by fighting for a future that moves us away from destructive ways of relating to ourselves, others, and the world. They hope to assist students in breaking binaries & confronting old narratives as barriers to trusting their intuition, standing in their power, and accessing their joy.
Max, Lead Teaching Assistant
Max is a Teaching Assistant and HSS Alum. They are gender non-binary, queer, and survived both alcohol and academia. They are slowly coming to terms with their Scorpio and 4w3 enneagram combo. When not geocaching with their rescue pup Remington, they can be found collecting vinyl, playing video games, and discussing Twin Peaks theories. Despite their biggest fears, they’re still punk AF in sobriety and want to tell you all about it.
Heidi, TA Manager (the Supporter’s Supporter)
Heidi is the TA Manager and an HSS alumni. She is the mother of two precocious nymphs who are her life's greatest teachers. She is a retired military medical technician turned sober warrior who believes that every moment of your path has led you exactly here-- and here is where you belong. When Heidi isn't crying at the drop of a hat (double water sign and all), she is diving into a book, dabbling in woo, or giving Mama Bear hugs.
AFTON, OPERATIONS SYSTEM MANAGER
Afton is our Operations System Manager, as well as a former Teaching Assistant. She is a Sobriety School alumna and comes from a background in Health & Wellness, specifically working as an onsite corporate wellness educator. She has a passion for helping others navigate their way through recovery.
Sydney, Teaching Assistant
Syd is a Teaching Assistant and HSS alum. She did her first round in the Winter of 2018 and never looked back. She is a married mother of 2 who comes from the Health and Wellness industry. She is a teetotaler and nutrition nerd who embraces the holistic modality wholeheartedly. She believes strongly in individuals finding their truth without the mask of alcohol and other forms of escapism, and she is here to help you walk yourself home.
CHRISTINA, TEACHING ASSISTANT
Christina is a Teaching Assistant and Sobriety School Alum. She dreams of healing multi-generational pain and substance use by showing up exactly as she is and where she is without the need to escape. She has spent the past 5 years fighting to be free from the need for alcohol, and has found her personal freedom by showing up over and over again and having what has felt like 5,000 day ones. She hopes to help create a safe space for others in Tempest Sobriety School to lean into their own desire to show up for life in a bigger way. She has two incredible children and a furry dog-child who all constantly remind and push her to be fully present and awake for the wonder of it all.
Lisa, Community Manager
Lisa is a Teaching Assistant and Hip Sobriety School alum, who completed her first school in Winter 2018. Her pronouns are she/her/hers. Lisa's background is in the healthcare and legal fields, where she specializes in case management. She is a proud queer teetotaler, who is passionate about helping students build connection while reclaiming their story.
Join the Community
Our secret Facebook group is one of the best parts of the school. If you have hang ups about it, click here. Otherwise, email email@example.com if you haven’t received your invite to join. (And don’t forget to watch the Community Guidelines video before you post.)
In order to join the secret Facebook group, we’ll need to send you an email invite. Invites are sent 48 hours before school begins, so don’t worry if you don’t receive it right away. Please also note that this email invite will ask you to send a friend request to Afton Helen (our Operations System Manager). It may seem odd, but this keeps the Facebook group private and secret.
how to get your invite
To get your email invite, click on the button below. This will take you back to your student dashboard. The first button on your dashboard screen says “Take the Questionnaire.” Click to complete your initial intake survey. After you’ve finished your survey, we’ll automatically send you the email invite.
Visit our Platform Tutorial for a video walkthrough of the questionnaire.
still Haven’t received your invite?
The email will have been sent to the address which you used to register for Tempest. If you haven’t received it, first check your junk mail, and if it’s not there please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t have a Facebook account or prefer not to join?
That’s cool, you can always join later. If you could let us know why, it will help shape our community in the future.
If you’ve got questions about the Tempest Sobriety School community, we’ve got answers. (But if you don’t see yours below, please reach out to email@example.com).
I haven’t received an invite to the Secret Facebook Group yet. How can I join?
Make sure to check your spam and promotional folders as the invite can often be flagged as either.
Still haven’t received it? Email us.
If you're interested in joining under an anonymous account, there are instructions to help you below! Once you've created your anonymous account, make sure to complete the survey with that info or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How private is the Facebook Group?
Secret Facebook Groups (SFGs) are closed groups created by an administrator, in this case TempestHip Sobriety, where you have to be invited in order to find and participate in the group.
The following additional privacy settings also apply:
The group’s name is only visible to current and former members —it's not searchable.
Only those who are in the group can see who is an active member in the group.
Only current active members can see what you post or what others post within the group.
Anything that shows up in your newsfeed is only visible to you. These posts are notifications for you; they are not public to your friends and family.
See below for how to manage notifications.
How do I create an anonymous Facebook account?
If you would like to join the Facebook community anonymously, you can do so by creating a new Facebook account under a pseudonym or nickname.
WHAT YOU NEED
Email address. If you already have a Facebook account it will need to be a different email than the one you already use.
Name of choice. A word of caution: Facebook will occasionally shut down accounts under false names. This is meant to be a protective measure to save their users from being scammed. However, it does come as an inconvenience for our purposes. We recommend you do not choose the name of a fictional character from a movie or a book. It’s best to go with a nickname and your middle name if you can.
STEPS TO JOIN
If you don’t have a second email already, you’ll need to create one. Feel free to use your preferred email server, e.g., Google, Yahoo.
Once you have your new email you can sign-up here on the Facebook home page. Follow their procedures for registration.
Once you've created your new profile, make sure to email send us an email at email@example.com with the email address associated with your account so we can invite you to the Secret Facebook Group.
I'm getting a lot of posts from the group HSS in my newsfeed. Can I turn this off?
Yes, you can manage the notifications you receive on your newsfeed within the group page itself. Follow the below steps:
Open the HSS Secret Facebook Group.
Look for the "Notifications" button on the Hip Sobriety School Banner.
When you click Notifications, you'll see three options to manage posts:
Highlights. Notifications for suggested posts based on who you've friended on Facebook and posts you've commented on
Friend's posts. See notifications for posts from friends only
Off. You won't get notifications from members’ posts
Go back to your Newsfeed and look for one of the posts from your fellow students. Look for the three dots in the upper right hand corner.
Click here and choose to "Unfollow the Group." This will prevent further notifications from showing in your newsfeed, but allows you to be an active member with access to the page in your Groups menu (on the left hand side of the screen).
How do I join the Q&A with Holly?
We use a video conference software called Zoom for the weekly live Q&A. The software is free and you can download it automatically by visiting this page.
We recommend taking the calls at your laptop or desktop, though Zoom does have an app that makes calling in from your mobile device easier (see instructions for this method below).
Once you've signed up for Zoom, you can join the call itself by taking one of the following steps:
Click on the URL link that is provided in your reminder email, pinned to the Facebook group, or on the Calendar page on this course website.
Copy the URL link and paste it into your browser's address bar.
If you've downloaded the Zoom app beforehand (either the desktop app or mobile app), you can start the meeting from your Zoom app directly. Click on Join and then enter your scheduled meeting ID to start the meeting (this meeting ID is the 9-digit number provided to you in the email and at the end of the URL link).
The password to join once you've launched the application is: COMING SOON!
Trouble launching Zoom? Read more here.
How do I join the Q&A from my phone or tablet?
Once you've downloaded the app on your phone, you can open the email on your mobile device, click the link, and the application should open on your phone. It will ask for the meeting password which is hssjan19.
How do I join anonymously?
If you choose not to sign up for Zoom and simply launch the application on your desktop, it will prompt you to enter your name. You can enter any alias or pseudonym you choose!
If you've downloaded Zoom on your desktop or mobile device beforehand, go to "My Account." The very first screen when you log in is your profile page. Here at the top of the page you can click "edit" to the far right of the screen and change you name and/or add a photo to your profile.
I'm on the call. How do I ask Holly a question?
If you are at your computer, there will be 3 ways to voice your questions for Holly:
Anonymously using this entry form
Live by "raising your hand” in the Zoom application
To raise your hand, look for the menu bar at the bottom of your Zoom screen. Note, you may need to hover your mouse over the bottom of the video for this option to appear.
Chat function within Zoom
Do not direct message Holly. Instead, chat Megan directly and she will make sure Holly gets your question.
Additionally, please try to limit your use of the chat function to “Everyone.” The notifications can be distracting to your fellow attendees.