Picture the scene: ’twas mid-April in Bristol, and the evening of our very first Peer Support ‘smoup’ (small group). I arrived ten minutes early at our top-secret location near the city centre, and settled myself with a little handwritten sign on notepaper: Smoup! Then I waited. Maybe nobody would come. What if nobody ever came?
My fears were unwarranted. Less than ten minutes later, we had a smoup of three, and we were busy drinking soft drinks and getting to know each other’s goals and problems.
Since that cheerful and slightly nervous first evening, our little peer-support coven has achieved things both great and small, and we’ve also recently gained a fourth member. Twice a month on a Monday evening, we all come together through the lengthening city shadows to a public house near the Bristol Hippodrome. There we celebrate each other’s victories and concoct spells to defeat obstacles, all while sipping delicious potions and cackling. (Pointy black hats optional for first-time attendees.) *
Without naming any names, because of course confidentiality is very important in our smoup, here is a highlight reel of our collective achievements over the last three months:
- Developed and executed a healthy eating plan!
- Renovated a whole house!
- Avoided alcohol during sad and difficult times!
- Began writing a novel!
- Applied to foster children with special needs!
Having a fortnightly space where we can come and check in with each other about The Important Stuff is incredibly helpful, and it’s wonderful to feel supported by a circle of humans who want to hear all about your trials, disappointments and successes. (UPDATE: Currently there is not a peer-support smoup running. If you’d like to talk about getting one going again, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or talk to me, Kate.
* Disclaimer: Witchy references are a product of my own strange sense of humour. No actual witchcraft is practised at the peer support smoup. Nor do we typically balance stuffed stingrays on our heads while drinking tea; that’s just a me thing…