Four Carlsbad residents started TRIBEof9.org where members interact online in small, anonymous groups called "tribes" without fear of the social stigma.
The four friends prefer to remain anonymous, one co-founder known as “Chuck” explained, “My father died from complications with alcoholism. All my friends drink socially and they are very social. While it seems I can ‘hold my liquor,’ I find the quantities and frequency of my drinking steadily increasing the older I get.” While millions attend AA, the founders of TRIBEof9 felt an option that provides privacy and a less religious approach is needed. “The Internet is the common way people communicate today and we’ve incorporated an interface and tools that make sense for those who use and are comfortable in the social media space.”
The new free, anonymous support network is for those struggling with alcohol use and abuse. Addressing the way communication has evolved, the TRIBEof9.org website is a social media-based platform with the goal to encourage a variety of opinions and personalities while making sure each voice can be heard, each interaction meaningful.
Participants join a small “tribe” of nine online members that share the same language and religious preferences (if any). The website allows members to update their status, notify their tribe when they need help and converse in real time. Coaches and notable figures communicate with all members via the tribe feed offering encouragement and perspective.
Anonymity is the central theme to TRIBEof9. Founders of the organization feel it is an important component for those who struggle with the social stigma of excessive consumption or alcoholism. Stigma is identified by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a major reason many do not seek treatment for their problem. In keeping with the anonymity platform, an intervention tool enables friends and family to send an anonymous intervention message to those in trouble, urging them to seek help.
TRIBEof9 is not a formalized program and does not claim to cure alcohol addiction. The organization has formed a safe environment where people can support each other. It is a virtual space designed to encourage and help group members hold each other accountable to their commitments. “We are not trying to compete with nor replace AA. However, people communicate differently today and our goal is to enable people to interact anonymously to take the fear of judgment out of the equation.”
–Tribeof9 press release