I assume you guys know I’m Black but maybe not. I assumed everyone knew I was a woman until one day a guy hit my post and said “nice job bro”.

I’ve kept my lips pursed for over a year but I just can’t do it anymore. It just hurts too much.

So, uhhhh, Black Lives Matter.

There I said it. But you know I know Black Lives Matter. Right? I just haven’t said it here. In all my “vulnerable honesty” I’ve been silent in regards to race.

I don’t know, I guess I didn’t see this as a platform for social awareness or justice. Yet addiction is a social problem. So why not?

What do I have to fear about speaking my absolute truth? A few hundred followers?

Probably will lose a few.

Addiction knows no prejudice and ruins lives indiscriminately. I’ve always said ‘just speak your truth and hope that it reaches someone’. I totally believe that it makes sense to remain culturally neutral and let my seeds fall where they may.

Except, judging from my followers, my seeds aren’t falling in black soil. Of the dozens, no hundreds, of social media accounts whose platform is addiction, most are white. And to be honest, I’ve only seen a handful of black faces.

This reality has bothered me since I first became a part of the sober community.

I don’t think the sober community excludes us but I’m not quite sure they market to us either. Let me go even further to say, I’m not quite sure sober social media accounts market to current addicts and alcoholics. In fact, seems like the sober community just markets to each other. Just one big community scrolling through each other’s feeds giving one virtual high-five after another.

The tags. Ugh, my God, the tags. I’m so tired of the same old tags that hit the same old audience. Why aren’t we tagging beyond the accolades of our sober community?

I viewed a video recently posted on Facebook. It showed a Black woman running naked through the street behind a pick-up truck. Judging from the score of comments, the consensus was that she was high out of her mind on some crazy synthetic drug. The video went viral and captured over 2 million views with most people commenting “this shit is funny as hell”.

Occasionally someone posted a brief sentiment of compassion. But wtf…I couldn’t believe it.

In return, I posted a long dialogue about how heartbroken I was that she was being humiliated and exposed during an apparent psychotic break — regardless of the cause, and even went a step further to chastise the silliness of it all and asked myself if we’ve become so desensitized to the point where human suffering is something to laugh about.

Then I received a little backlash for being “so serious”.

The woman in the video. This beautiful, woman whose embarrassment went viral. I wish I could find a way to reach out to her and say I’m sorry and how can I help?

This sucks. Even now I keep editing this post because I don’t want to offend or exclude anyone but I have to purge my feelings. And this is my damn blog. I mean when white people support Black Lives Matter it’s okay. Can I support Black Lives Matter and not immediately be viewed as exclusionary?

I’m not going to march in the street carrying signs and protesting against injustice. I mean really, that’s just not what I do. But I’m steeped in this sobriety thing and there is enough experience to go around. Enough experience for everyone to gain.

The best way I can support the movement is to be an advocate for sobriety within the community.  Away from the likes and fist bumps. Because when I search hashtags surrounding Black Lives Matter I don’t see anyone talking about sobriety. I guess it might as well be me. Here’s my manifesto:

Dear Black Lives Matter,

I pledge:

1. To stay sober.
2. To post tips on how I got sober and how I maintain sobriety.
3. To blog regularly on what works for me.
4. To hashtag my posts to attract those who are NOT sober.
5. To be open, honest and vulnerable.
6. To focus my efforts on service.

and …
7. To be vulnerable, willing and compassionate.

I think I’ll survive if my likes go from 5o to 3 because social media notoriety has always been a means, it never was the end game. But those three…those precious three who will get what they need from my posts? They’re the ones I’m after.

Expect a bit of tweaking to my hashtags; a shift from attracting survivors to engaging those still active in addiction. Let me be clear: not exclusively black but inclusive of blacks.

The usual faire #sober #soberbadass #soberaf #soberissexy #sobermovement, #soberwarrior and all the other tags that have no relevance to people who still drink and use will probably take a back seat.

A way, way, back seat.

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2 comments

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Hell yes Black Lives Matter! Don’t get me on my soap box either. Cool idea to change up the hash tags! I noticed too most of the sober tribe white, bright teeth, physically fit, and might I say give the presence of a private club. But many have been so much the opposite and sharing open arms. I’m glad your sharing your story… if only you can save just one person. I’m sorry for the one woman’s hurt went viral. If only stereotyping could just for once and all go to bed. I’ve always stood for human rights and now we are in the nasty part of history that is embarrassing and shameful. We lost an amazing president to Washington of bigots and thieves. Being from an extreme liberal up bringing up North to now temporarily living in the deep south of AL I go ballistic on occasion. And I try to always make eye contact, thank the person doing the nasty job, give kiddos to mgmt for outstanding service, and play it forward. I need to seek to always do more.

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From the liberal North to the Deep South you say? Now “that takes the rag off the bush” (as my grandma says). It is an interesting observation, how the sober community is rounding out. There aren’t too many yellow and brown faces, and I’m not sure why. In my opinion, mental health wellness isn’t a hot topic in the minority communities and stigma and shame play such a huge part in recovery. That’s why every little bit we do, to share our stories of healing makes a difference. Even if it’s one broken person at a time. Each person has families and loved ones who are affected by their addiction so the love spreads to them as well.

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