Why acachat.online? Why bother, where'd it come from?
I'll tell you my chat story.
First, let's go back twenty plus years, when I was a teen. I was an internet troll and proud of it. I liked to upset and harass chatters, particularly in religious and recovery chats. I had my favourites. One of my favourites was a particular recovery site chat.
Over the years, between bans, I'd stop in to troll occasionally. Then in 2017 something changed. My curiosity piqued. What did these people have, that I didn't, that gave them this ability to deal with life on life's terms, with serenity and humour? What the hell were these steps about, anyhow? And I started paying attention. I started going to their Al-Anon meetings and I started to listen.
The things I heard and the interactions I had were slowly changing my thinking. I became interested in this steps thing. I started using some of their slogans. I wanted what I saw in some of these online people. They were so kind and supportive to me. During Thanksgiving 2017, my brother stabbed my mother and was charged with attempted murder. The people in that chat helped me cope with that.
Then on November 08 2018, my brother died. Fentanyl and alcohol overdose. He was only 31 years old. Again, the people in that chat were there for me through that. They supported me and showed me so much patience and kindness.
But my brother was my qualifier for Al-Anon before, and I felt like I didn't belong the same way with my qualifier being dead. That's when I came across ACA.
It was January 03 2019 when I went to an online ACA meeting and felt that "click." I bought the literature, I started going to all the online meetings I could, I looked for an online sponsor. I truly felt like I belonged in this fellowship. It was an incredible feeling.
And in the first months of 2019 I worked through the ACA Steps with my sponsor. I started chairing online meetings. I started chairing a lot of online meetings. I was really enjoying my time on the chat. My thinking was changing and my life was feeling different to me. I was feeling healthier in so many ways. All was good.
Then I had a human moment in chat, and I screwed it all up. We were talking about weight and diets and exercise. I commented that "I drink beer, so all the fat goes to my tummy." We continued the conversation for a while before the owner of the chat showed up and says to me "north, how many times have you been asked not to mention your substance use in this chat room?" What? I said I didn't. He said I did, and ran someone off in the process. He seemed pissed. I was confused. The conversation we just had in the room was pleasant. He says to me "since you have no self control, I‘m going to have to take control." And POOF I was kicked out and banned. Just like that. And just like that, I lost my cozy little home on the internet, my meetings, my support line, all my online friends. I lost it all because of a comment I made about beer making me fat. I tried to email the owner, but he was cranky about it, called me dangerous, said I'm no longer welcome there, and that he was blocking my future emails.
So what was I to do? I was so hurt and so sad and so lost. I just cried. I didn't know what to do. I really counted on that chat for a lot. And now it was all just gone...
And so I decided no, I can't lose it all, not like this, this isn't right. And I looked up the chat platform from the chat link, and I decided I'll set up my own chat. I don't know how to do it, but I can't lose all I've come to count on. And so I set out to learn how to use FTP and HTTP and CSS, and get my own little room running with the same software I loved. I was banned on a Thursday and on Sunday I opened my own room. I sent the message out to everyone from the original room who I cared about and had contact info for. I told them I had started a room just like the other one, but less strictly moderated, so people could feel free to say what was truly in their hearts and on their minds, and NO FOREVER BANS. People deserve chances. And people came together. And that is the story of how this room was started...