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Sober Living Partner Program: Administration and Discussion

simco

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Welcome to the Sober Living Partner Program!
Before we get started, there are three really important things to know about the Sober Living Partner Program:

  • The program is open to all Bluelight members. There's zero requirement that you are clean/sober, nor is their a requirement that you even want to get clean/sober. Anyone can join.
  • The best way to start getting into the program is by creating a 'profile' (a brief description of what you're looking for in a partner) and reading other profiles on the Profile Listings thread.
  • Please exercise common sense in interacting with your partner. In the interest of your confidentiality and safety, we recommend limiting interactions to private messages on Bluelight. There's no rule against branching out into other methods of communication if you really feel safe doing so. But PM's are the favored vehicle for partner communication.
The rest of this post describes each of these points in more detail, but we want to put them right up front. Now, onto explaining what the program is all about.

Context and Motivation
The Sober Living Partner Program (SLiPP) is an experimental service for members of the Bluelight Sober Living (SL) community. The goal of the program is to help interested SL members find a compatible person with whom they can discuss SL-related issues in a sustained, frank and relatively private way.

The program is intentionally flexible. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of where you are in your recovery (including not being in recovery at all) and regardless of your goals. If you think you’d like to share what’s going on in your life with another SL community member, or if you’d like to receive (or offer) support in your SL-related goals, please consider participating. The remainder of this post describes exactly how to get started.

The SLiPP is meant to supplement already existing conversations in Sober Living; it is not intended to replace any aspect of the SL forum.


We--the SL moderators--are proposing this program in response to past requests for something like it on SL, as well as due to the success of similar programs on other BL forums. Our goal in implementing the program is to support SL community members who are interested in finding a “partner” or “buddy” with whom they can share their recovery and related issues. More specifically, the program offers the following:
  1. A dedicated thread for people to express interest in finding a recovery partner.
  2. A set of guidelines and a template for describing what a person wants from a partner relationship and what their own situation is with respect to recovery.
  3. Guidelines for managing a partner relationship on BL (enumerated in this post). These guidelines are offered to promote safety, to keep relationships on the right side of both the Bluelight User Agreement (BLUA) and the SL forum guidelines, as well as to increase the likelihood that SL community members will build successful partnerships.
These items are offered as suggestions only. Aside from requirements from the BLUA and the SL forum guidelines, participants are free to ignore or revise any of these suggestions as they see fit.

The SLiPP is completely voluntary. We are offering this service in the hopes that people will find it valuable. However, any SL community member who is not interested in or available for a SL partnership is completely free to ignore the service.


What do you mean by "partner"?
The value of social connections for people in recovery is well known. However, what kind of connections are helpful for a particular person is very individual. With this in mind, the nature of your relationship with your partner will depend on your needs. Maybe you are in early recovery and would like to be in touch with someone farther along in the process, someone who could offer a role like a mentor. Or perhaps you would like to be connected with someone who is also in early recovery, a peer. Maybe you haven’t leapt into recovery yet, and you would like to partner with someone who is also on the fence about quitting. All of these scenarios--and many others--fall under the general label of partner as it is intended here. Partnerships in the SLiPP can entail almost anything. The only universal thread they will share is that both members choose to join the partnership to offer mutual support.

This document is fairly long; it outlines all of the details of the SLiPP. The remainder of this document is structured as follows:
  • How Does the SLiPP work? How can I be part of it?: A description of the program’s aims, and instructions on how to participate.
  • A Map of the SLiPP’s Main Parts: A graphical overview of how the program is being implemented on BL. i.e. Where you can find various tools for finding and talking to a partner.
  • Questions and Answers: Answers to several questions that we anticipate many SLiPP participants will have.
  • Next Steps: How to move forward with finding a partner to be part of your support network.


​How Does the Sober Living Partner Program Work? How can I be part of it?
This section will briefly describe the logistics of the SLiPP--how SL’ers can signal that they would like to find a partner, how partnerships are initiated, and what kinds of interactions partnerships are likely to entail.

1. Finding a Partner
The main resource for finding a partner in the SLiPP is the SL thread named Sober Living Partner Program: Partner Listings. Each post in the Partner Listings thread contains information about a person who is interested in finding someone they can connect with. To find a partner:
  1. Post your own profile/statement on the Partner Listings thread, saying a bit about who you are and (possibly) what you’re looking for in a partner.
  2. Look at the statements already posted on the thread and contact people who seem compatible with you via private message (PM).
If you find a person whose statement on the Partner Listings thread appeals to you, simply PM them saying that you saw their profile and you’d like to discuss partnering with them. When you PM a potential partner, it’s a good idea to mention that you have created your own profile on Partner Listings (if you have) so they can learn about you.

These initial PMs don’t commit you to anything. We assume that before people agree to pair up, they will use PMs to have a bit of discussion to make sure that they are a good match. If at any point in this process you decide you want to keep looking for a partner, that’s all you need to say--I’m going to keep looking for a while. No big deal.

If you want to find a partner but don’t see any good candidates, check back on the Partner Listings thread in a day or so. If you still can’t find a good match, you can send a PM to the SL mod named simco for advice on writing your own profile and other options.

When you do find your partner, it is recommended that you either delete or edit your post on the Requests for Partners thread so people know you aren’t available (unless you want to have multiple partners, which is totally fine!).

2. Interacting with your Partner
Once you and your partner are in touch, we recommend that you conduct your interactions with each other via PMs. PMs are the safest method for conducting this kind of relationship. But if you want to use other communication technologies (phone text, email, etc.), feel free to so do.

3. Expectations and Requirements for Members of the SLiPP
The only hard and fast rule of the SLiPP is that none of your interactions may violate either the Bluelight User Agreement or the Sober Living Forum Guidelines.

In particular, the following subjects and activities are not permitted:
  1. Sourcing. Do not request or otherwise attempt to obtain drugs from your partner.
  2. Drug testing. Conversations about how to pass drug tests are not permitted by the BLUA.
  3. Prices. Please do not discuss matters related to the cost of drugs.
  4. Spam. Promoting or otherwise advertising products or services is outside the scope of the SLiPP and is prohibited by the BLUA.
  5. Abusive or disrespectful language. As in all of your BL interactions, treat your partner with respect and sensitivity.
  6. Doxxing. Do not share details about your partner’s identity or their life with other people.
Please avoid these topics and actions. Engaging in prohibited discussions will bring the usual intervention by the SL mods.

If your partner violates any of these requirements, please let one of the SL mods know so that we can follow up appropriately. You can let us know either by sending a PM or by clicking the “report post” button--the small exclamation point shown in the upper right corner of any BL post or PM.

Besides avoiding prohibited topics, the SLiPP puts one additional expectation on participants: unless both partners agree on another schedule, by enrolling in the SLiPP you agree to check BL at least once daily. This requirement is in place because you and your partner are likely to share important, often urgent issues, so you need to be available for your partner. However, if both partners are OK with another arrangement, you are free to make your own requirements about time commitments. In the absence of such an arrangement, you and your partner should plan to check for messages at least once per day.


A Map of the SLiPP's Main Parts
The Sober Living Partner Program is implemented using several different resources. To help you understand how these resources fit together, we created the following diagram.


In the diagram, you can see that SLiPP is supported first and foremost by two threads on the Sober Living forum--SL Partner Program: Administration (this thread; a place for information related to the operation of the program) and SL Partner Program: Partner Listings (a place where potential partners post information about themselves to help with the matchmaking process).

Once you have found a mutually compatible partner, we encourage you to interact with that person using private messages (PMs) on Bluelight. If you want to use other technologies to talk to your partner, that is fine, although for safety and confidentiality purposes we recommend limiting your interactions to PMs.


Questions and Answers
This section addresses questions that are likely to arise regarding the SLiPP.

Why would I want to participate in this program?
Many people in recovery find that talking to a person who understands their goals and their challenges is very helpful. If you are trying to make positive changes to your life, you may find it beneficial to have someone you can talk to who knows what you are dealing with and who can provide feedback on questions or concerns you may have. That’s exactly the role we hope your SLiPP partner can play in your life. Similarly, many people find it therapeutic to help others. As a SLiPP partner, you’ll be in a good position to offer support and understanding to someone facing challenges similar to yours.

I’m not clean and/or sober. Can I participate in the SLiPP?
Yes! Just as the Sober Living is for all Bluelight members, any BL member is free to find a partner using the SLiPP. You are welcome to participate in SLiPP regardless of what your status and goals are with respect to recovery and drugs.

How do I find a partner I’m compatible with?
We have started a thread called Sober Living Partner Program: Partner Listings to help potential partners find a good match. The easiest way to meet your partner is like so:
  1. Post a message on the SLiPP Partner Listings thread. At the top of the partner listings thread, we have provided a template that we recommend using as a way to express who you are and what you’re after in a partner. Your post on the partner listings thread will help potential partners gauge your compatibility.
  2. Read through other people’s posts on the Partner Listings thread and see if anyone seems like a potential fit.
  3. When you find someone in the partner listings thread who interests you, send them a PM asking if they’d like to discuss pairing up. If you created your own post on Partner Listings, mention that so your prospective partner can learn about you.
  4. Once you and your partner have agreed to pair up, you’ll want to discuss your needs, expectations and limitations as a partner. Do you want to try to talk daily? Do you need your partner to be non-judgmental? Is it OK for your partner to criticize your ideas or actions? Questions like these are good to hash out early on.
  5. Update your post on Partner Listings. Unless you want to be contacted by other people in search of a partner, now would be a good time either to delete your post on the Listings thread or edit it so that people know you aren’t available at the time.
Like almost everything about the SLiPP, these 5 steps are optional, and you can interpret them as you like. But we believe that they provide a good approach to beginning a partner relationship on SL.

Is my partner a counselor or other recovery professional?
No, probably not. It’s important to be realistic about the SLiPP. Don’t make any assumptions about your partner’s qualifications or background. Your partner is just another person in recovery, not a professional counselor.

My partner is not being respectful to me. What should I do?
Abusive or disrespectful interactions are prohibited by the BLUA. If your partner is violating this rule, please alert one of the Sober Living mods. You can do this either by sending one of the mods a PM, or by clicking the “report post” button on the problematic message(s).

What should I share with my partner?
Every SLiPP relationship will be unique. But we imagine that many SL partnerships will focus on recovery as it is playing out in your life right now. We encourage partners to touch base with each other when they are experiencing cravings, when they have choices to make and aren’t sure how to move forward, when they feel stuck or alone. One advantage of interacting with a partner via PM, as opposed to the usual SL interactions on the forum threads is that your messages only go to one person and they are not visible to the rest of the world. So if you come to feel close to your partner, you may want to share matters that you’re not comfortable with posting on an open thread.

Should I be totally honest with my partner?
We hope that you and your partner will feel comfortable sharing personal matters. But your partner is a person you met on the Internet. Until you are very confident that you can trust him or her, it is wise not to share details that would be problematic if they were publicly known. Your name, your exact location, your employer, plans related to illegal activity--these are issues that you should be cautious about revealing.

What can I expect from my partner?
Hopefully you and your partner will find many ways to support each other. But it is worth keeping in mind that your partner is probably not a professional counselor. Therefore, it is not realistic to expect your partner to play a professionally therapeutic role in your life. Outside of these matters, we encourage you and your partner to talk about what each of you wants out of your relationship.

How long will my partner and I be connected?
You are of course free to continue your partnership as long as you like. But either partner can end the partnership at any time. If you don't want to continue with your partner, simply PM him or her saying that you'd like to move on.

Can I have more than one partner? What if I decide I don’t want to continue with my partner?
You can have as many partners as you like, although we recommend keeping the number low so that you can give each relationship the attention it deserves. Likewise, you can terminate a partnership at any time, for any reason--simply PM your partner explaining that you’d like to move on.



Next Steps
If you have read this far, you’re ready to start looking for a partner. As we mentioned earlier, to do this, simply head over to the Sober Living Partner Program: Partner Listings thread. From there, use the template shown at the top of the thread to create your profile to help potential matches learn about you. Then read over the profiles written by other folks. When you find a profile that seems interesting to you, send the owner at PM to start a discussion about possibly becoming partners!


Feel free to submit questions or comments about SLiPP by posting a reply to this thread. You can also send questions or comments to the SL mod named simco.
 
Last edited:

simco

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
2,257
Location
with the dead crow god
I'm really happy to see that folks are posting profiles for the partner program. Thanks to everyone for doing that!

There are just two quick things I wanted to mention with regard to the program.

1. I know this thread started with a big, official-seeming post. But the thread is also intended for anyone to post questions or comments about the partner program. So please feel free to write here if you have any thoughts on the matter...the program is still very much in its "beta" phase, so any feedback we get is likely to have a real impact on how it moves forward.

2. Now that we've got some profiles posted on the Profile Listings thread, don't be shy about reaching out to folks who have posted there. If someone's profile seems even mildly interesting, I recommend dropping them a PM just to initiate an informal discussion about recovery or any other topic, really. Those PMs don't obligate you to choose that person as a partner. They're just a way to explore your options.

Anyhow, thanks again, to all you early adopters!

<3 Sim
 

Stargazer

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Apr 28, 2013
Messages
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Cool idea Sim. It will help BL members to become "friends". Love it. :)
 

cj

Moderator: H&R, MH
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In order to pick a partner should we just pm the person we are interested in partnering with? Once a partner is chosen I guess we should edit our profile thing?
 

simco

Bluelight Crew
Joined
Aug 20, 2014
Messages
2,257
Location
with the dead crow god
In order to pick a partner should we just pm the person we are interested in partnering with? Once a partner is chosen I guess we should edit our profile thing?
Yeah, this was how I envisioned it. But I'm totally open to alternatives. For instance, one idea that's come up is that the mods could pair people up based on their written profiles. That takes some of the awkward high school dance atmosphere out of the deal. But of course it takes away some freedom, too.

Please feel encouraged to voice opinions about how the pairing process can/should go! Until then, let's just continue with the idea that everyone is free to ask anyone to be their partner, and when you've paired up, just edit or delete you profile.

But seriously, this is totally a work in progress, so please...make it your own!
 
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