Sober resources by and for people of colour

June 2020 | 9 minutes

All of us in the sober and mindful drinking space need to work much harder to actively make room for people of colour - as a small step in this direction, here are some resources by and for people of colour.

The (visible) sober community is alarmingly white. If you are a person of colour, you’re probably painfully aware of this. All of us in the sober and mindful drinking space need to work harder – much harder – to actively make room for people of colour.

With that goal in mind, and very much as a starting point, here are some sobriety-related resources from people of colour. You will find local recovery groups, links to thought-provoking reads, groups/individuals on Instagram, podcasts to listen to, and research in this area.

We will certainly have missed out many excellent resources here. If you have resources you think we should share, please get in touch with us at contact@alcoholchange.org.uk.

Sober Spring and Alcohol Change UK stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. But spoken solidarity and sharing this blog is an entirely insufficient response to systemic racism in the UK. You can read more about the commitments Alcohol Change UK has made to deep, lasting change here. Please share criticism, feedback and comments if you would like to – we very much hope to be held to account.

Articles

Sober and black – by Africa Brooke

Arriving to my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting last year, I was grateful to have found my tribe, a group of beautifully flawed people that shared a common trait with me: wanting to get better. With this being said, I immediately noticed the lack of black people in the rooms. You might be thinking, okay Africa that was just one meeting and maybe it was just the area you were in, and you’d have a point. Only thing is I noticed this in every other meeting I went to after that.”

Creating while clean – Musician Ben Harper and others

“I don’t have that story to tell of just imploding. I got up in the morning. It just was taking a toll. I could feel it extracting a pound of flesh. I felt I was poisoning myself by degrees.”

How being Black can shape your recovery experience – by Jocellyn Harvey

When we talk about feeling isolated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are literally and physically alone. It’s that when we attend events we can feel different because we are darker and don’t look like everyone else in the room.”

How to make recovery spaces more inclusive – by Lazarus Letcher

“What is inclusivity in recovery? For me, that doesn’t necessarily mean a space that is majority BIPOC or LGBTQIA+, but it is a space where all of our intersecting identities exist at once. It’s a space where we can heal as whole people and feel safe while doing it.”

“When we talk about feeling isolated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are literally and physically alone. It’s that when we attend events we can feel different because we are darker and don’t look like everyone else in the room.”

Podcasts

The only one in the room

Hosted by recovery ‘thriver and survivor’ Laura Cathcart Robbins who speaks about the experience of being the ‘only one in the room.’

Ojoku on being a gay black man

Leaving the military, coming out and recovering from addiction.

Kuchenga on why we should all be sober curious

Searingly insightful and witty conversation with Kuchenga on the Adulting podcast, deep-diving into rehab and reading yourself sober.

Instagram accounts

  • Sober Black Girls club, a page set up by Khadi Olagoke, is a page for Black women considering giving up alcohol.
  • Free of Spirits is an account run by Lindsey, who gave up drinking towards the end of 2018.
  • Black Girl Sober is an Instagram account dedicated to ‘exploring addiction, sobriety and social justice.’ Recently they have been advertising ‘Sober Sistas AA Meetings’, specifically for Black and mixed race womxn.
  • Sharing My Sobriety is the Instagram account of author Jocellyn Harvey, who has been sober since 2016.
  • Connie is an author, podcaster and sobriety coach. You can find her Instagram at Sobriety Queen Connie.
  • Tori, aka The Retired Party Girl, shares a lot of sobriety and mental health-positive content. She’s also been keeping a sobriety diary, which youo can find on her Instagram profile highlights.
  • The Black Sobriety Club Instagram account shares inspirational quotes as well as their twelve steps to sobriety.

Recovery groups and other support

Here are a few local culturally sensitive support services. Do get in touch with them if you live near enough and are looking for support:

  • Bac-In, in Nottingham, is not only a support service, but shares research and much more too.
  • KIKIT is a Birmingham-based leading Black and minority ethnic (BAME) specialist social enterprise providing recovery support to vulnerable people.
  • Nilaari is a BAME-led registered charity delivering social care support, talking therapies and training to adults and young people across Bristol. They help to deal with problematic substance use, among other things.

There are also more general mental health resources available specifically for BAME people:

  • The online resource directories for the local Mind charities in Lambeth and Southwark, Brighton and Hove, and Rochdale all have dedicated BAME resource sections.
  • The NHS in Barnet, Enfield and Haringey have shared specific BAME resources here.
  • Diverse Cymru provides support, services and advice to BAME people throughout Wales who are affected by mental ill health. Visit their website here.

Research

If you’re interested in reading more about alcohol problems amongst BAME communities, here are some research papers on the subject: