It has been almost three years since I first moved from Toronto to Ottawa, built a relationship with my father, promised I would get sober and start my life over. In that near two years I learned about being Black, got my hair braided, had a sense of identity I never had and learned more about myself then I could have imagined. In doing therapy after I moved to Toronto in August, I learned how the racism I experienced, ostracization, white-assimilation would have impacted my mental well being and contributed to my substance use. I never fully expected my Blackness to be so important that my lack of Black identity for 25 years could be why I was an addict, but I had never really thought about all of the reasons I could be coping.
As I moved to Toronto and everything reopened in a "post pandemic" (but not really) world temptation grew. In complete honesty, since December my use has picked up and only increased lately. I am writing this blog in part to come clean, and in part to talk about a race-specific group I have found. I don't love acting as if I am the perfect sober person when in reality there have been tons of slips along the way. The first few years there was some drink dabbling, but lately it has been a bit of everything and I am not proud of how that has impacted my ability to do this podcast, my other tasks, my job, and the list goes on. In my search for resources to recommit to my sobriety, while luckily still having a therapist, I called a place that refused me because I "wasn't on a bender" and sounded "very self aware". Yikes.
Immediately after that call, I reached out to Sober Black Girls Club: A group in the states of Black people identifying as women, femmes, female identifying, non-binary, straight and queer who are sober to have check-ins, speakers, workshops etc. While run in the states, it is open globally and when I checked-in there was even others from Canada. The check-in made me realize, for the first time, I was in a room with all Black women able to talk about my sobriety and the issues I was facing. It felt really liberating, as if I was constantly in a facade to appear more white or professional when talking about these issues and how I really feel about them.
This entire blog is not just me coming clean. I want to urge anyone with issues to try to find resources that genuinely fit them and their needs. While I am still happy with my kind, white dude therapist, feeling the energy shift speaking with Black women was worth also participating in. Sobriety is not linear and I will continue to work at this.