I’m thankful I found BIPOC meetings

One of the good things that came out of the pandemic is access to many more Al-Anon meetings. For a long time I attended one weekly in-person meeting. Sometimes I would attend more if I was having a particularly hard week, or if my schedule was not too busy. But most weeks I went only to my home meeting. I felt comfortable there and I knew the faces and names of most members.

It was also a bigger meeting, with a lot of recovery and some amount of diversity. So even though I rarely saw members who looked like me, I kept coming back.

A few months into the pandemic I learned that there were online meetings for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) members of Al-Anon. I immediately started attending as many of these meetings as I could find. The program was essentially the same, and yet I felt a level of intimacy and a depth of recovery that I had not experienced in my previous decade of membership in Al-Anon. 

Now I attend three meetings a week and two are People of Color meetings. In BIPOC meetings I feel free to share all of my experience, strength and hope, without needing to code switch or filter myself under the dominant culture’s gaze. Knowing that I won’t be the only ____ in a meeting takes a lot of pressure off. Pressure that I didn’t even realize was there until I felt the relief and ease that came in its absence. I can share freely without fear of prejudice or judgment.

by Mary, El Cerrito CA

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