How finding myself a tribe has given me a purpose and a sense of who I’m becoming
Why is finding myself a tribe important
Why is finding myself a tribe important, well on giving up alcohol over a year ago I’ve felt lost. Whys that you may ask, it’s because all my friends or old tribe were drinkers. Every night after work was finished for the day I’d head home to the pub and join them. Talking late into the evening and just socialising. My job is a lonely one in which I sit in a lorry all day and have very little interaction. So when I quit alcohol and subsequently had to ditch going to pub every night I felt lonely outside of work. I wrote about this in blog post Coping With Depression Now I’m Sober.
The lonely feeling is talked about a lot at the minute. If like me you really needed to make that clean split to get sober then you too might fall into this trap. It can be awful if you’ve been so used to been around people then suddenly they are gone. You could if not strong enough go back to the tribe and fall into your old ways. For me that isn’t an option I’m willing to risk as I know I’m lead easily. Plus something I heard today from a professional in loneliness. Our mind starts turning on us and one heightened sense is rejection and paranoyer. We start feeling people are out to make things worse for us and read too much into things. So what did I do ……..
Finding my tribe
I reached out on social media to ask for advice, something I’ve learnt to do more often. See I used to bottle everything up my feelings especially. Now I know boy just posting a comment or writing how I feel someone will have an answer. That happened in the way of someone seeing I was doing a lot of running, so they suggested I joined a club. The club that was suggested to me was Wakefield Triathlon Club, I wasn’t looking towards triathlons. I told the person I’m only into running. They told me that the club accommodates for everything, if you only fancy doing one discipline then just go to that training session. So I looked into it and there was a track running session on Mondays. Off I went just to have a look. On arriving I was asked if I wanted to join in. Thing was I was straight from gym so had to just watch instead. I soon could see this was a great setup and very friendly.
The following week there was an open day at the venue where the club trains for open water swimming. I headed down and took a look at what was available. On speaking to a very friendly coach I explained I was only there for running as one I can’t swim and Two haven’t cycled for years. She was quick to put me at ease explaining about all the coached sessions available plus she couldn’t swim 18 months ago and can now swim open water for 2.5km. I was in awe this is exactly where i’d like to be with my swimming. So an hour of chatting with people passed and I felt so like this was what I needed I ended up buying the team hoodie. Then when I got home that evening I signed up for my membership, I’d found my new tribe.
The first session I picked to go on was beginners club run. Tuesday evening running round a lake where the club does open water swimming. What awaited me ? I didn’t know how quick these people run, would they leave me behind, would I be lost. Well I was wrong on every level, the guys I met on that first run were brilliant. Not one person judged me when I told them reason I was joining or that I’d quit alcohol. As it was getting a hold on me. I never felt out of my depth. That evening one of the members I ran with added me as a Facebook friend. It made me feel great that people were so friendly. Following week I was back and now it makes up one of my weekly runs.
Then there was the swimming, I can’t swim as I said earlier, so did a little of practice in pool on holiday after looking at some youtube videos. I then decided once I was back that I’d try a club swim. The coached session I went to was one run by one of the coaches I spoke to on open day. I explained where my level was (below beginner) and basically told him I’m a blank page you teach me all you know. From first session I was just hooked, I had hated swimming after a bad experience at a school gala. Safe to say I was back at the session following week and have only missed one since starting.
Growing Within Tribe
Within the club a lot of posts go on their Facebook page. This was where after a few weeks of running and swimming sessions I was getting friend requests. Plus people post on here if they are going for a run or a bike ride outside of the club organised sessions. It was a post I put on here that would really show how amazing a group of people they are. I posted about going for a Thursday night cycle, one lad chris said he’d join me. Ive never met chris in person but after this evening ride I really felt I knew him. We rode out for 45 miles and chatted most of way.
Since this i’ve grown with these guys I’m going to races that the club put on each week, latest was a road cycle race. Tops of the hills in huddersfield, middle of July but far from July weather. It was brutal we had mist that meant you couldn’t see more than 200 yards in front. Side wind and driving rain. I nearly didn’t go but I’m not someone to let people down, plus I’m loving getting to know new people. I didn’t complete the race but that didn’t matter I gave it a go and I’m still getting used to riding my road bike after it sitting gathering dust for four years.
Excited about future
I’m feeling really positive about my future now. It was hard been lonely and not having a real outlet to meet people. This has taken me out of that feeling. I’m now going to a club training event most evenings, building up an amazing group of new friends. Why do I call them my tribe well its simple. To train to become a triathlete takes some ultimate discipline, your not just training for one sport. Your training for three different sports in one. People that do this understand how much effort people put in and no matter what level your at your always supported. Every week throughout summer events are going on and every week someone posts which race they are doing, the support for them is amazing. One common phrase I seem to see a lot is “good luck don’t be shit.”
So what’s my future hold now I’ve found this crazy ass bunch of people. I just don’t know is the answer. See I only joined to do running, since then I’ve been cycling and swimming. So the sky is the only limit, my main aim is to master the swim stroke once that happens I’ll go open water swimming. Once I’m open water swimming it’ll be which event first. I’m going to plan on starting small, sprint triathlon then olympic distance. I’m not even counting out doing a full ironman in my lifetime. I have the drive and desire to just push my body now. Just need to work on my nutrition as I’m still trying to lose weight and not focusing on fuelling my body for all the intense training I’m doing.
Try Find A New Tribe
So if like myself you used to surround yourself with people and now want to quit alcohol. Go out of your way in the early days to find a new tribe and enjoy your new life. Wether thats a walking club, book club, running club, taking football back up, mountain bike group, a college course. Do it as I believe this will stop you from going back to that crutch of drinking. I know that no matter what day of week is now I can call on someone to join me for a few hours to do something. Don’t feel lonely in your recovery from alcohol, reach out look on social media and find your new purpose.
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