Getting Your Sh*t Together

Interview: Safety in Recovery in non-Diverse Spaces with Kristen Feemster

September 17, 2020 Cynthia Season 3 Episode 2
Getting Your Sh*t Together
Interview: Safety in Recovery in non-Diverse Spaces with Kristen Feemster
Show Notes Transcript

What's in this episode?
Today's episode Kristen Feemster joins us on the podcast to talk about ways to protect yourself in non-diverse recovery groups and how to keep putting you first!

In this episode we talk about:

  • How a lack of diversity can impact black and brown people in recovery 
  • Things to look into in order to grow your own sober network/community
  • Lack of diversity in recovery places and how that can unintentionally alienate people of color that want to get (and remain) clean 
  • Why Recovery Retention plans are beneficial and why everyone should create one that works for them

And as always, thank you for listening to my lovely show. If possible, I would love for you to review me on iTunes, Google, Stitcher -- anywhere, really. 

If you have comments or suggestions feel free to hit me up via the ways below! And sign up for my mailing list. I do like to do giveaways from time to time. 

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Unknown Speaker :

Hello, my name is Cynthia. Welcome to the latest episode of getting together a podcast where we discuss what it's like to get it all the way together or at least attempt to one day at a time. Hi, everyone, this is Cynthia, welcome to the latest episode. Today we have a return guest to the show. Kristin Reed has joined us again and we're gonna have another conversation with you guys. Black in recovery circles, but that's like some tips and tricks on how to navigate that if you find yourself in recovery circles that are maybe not as diverse as you would like and what other types of things you can do if you feel like the recovery spaces are not as welcoming or triggering for you. So she's here. Hi. Oh, hello. Some of you may Be familiar. She is a, she is a personal trainer as well as a therapist, and she has her own thing going on, called believe be free be well. Yes. Yes. Thank you, Cynthia, for having me back on. I really, you know, enjoyed our conversation last time. So I'm looking forward to this one. I think it's right on time, right on target with a lot of things that are happening now and in in a very necessary conversation. So thank you for inviting me back. Of course, anytime. You know, I love our talks. So yeah, yeah, I'm looking forward to this diving in. You were a black woman, as well as myself and you've been in recovery recovery meetings. What has your experience been like? My recovery experience has changed over time. So I think like just starting just like from day one up to current maybe might be the best way to describe it because I don't know if there's just like one experience that I can say is like, this is what it is. It's just kind of transformed. So when I first was into recovery meetings, 12 step type meetings I was obviously like most people super desperate and just like grasping at whatever help there was to be offered. And so that's really the posture I had for a long time. But in hindsight, I would say when I say a long time, I would say probably like two or three years, I was kind of just like, my priority is staying sober. I'm doing the thing. It's, it's working, my life is getting better, I'm getting things back, and I'm feeling emotionally mentally better. So there's nothing like the cost cost benefit wasn't imbalanced in a way that I felt like I needed to shift anything. But as I reflect back, I can now moreso make sense of some of the ways in which I felt uncomfortable that at the time, I wasn't really sure, because I just wasn't sure of everything that was going on as far as being newly sober and the feelings that come with that versus the spaces I was in versus my options for not being in those spaces. So now I think that early on one thing that sticks out to me is that I was really like, concerned about my privacy and anonymity going into recovery meetings. And I remember having like conversations with my sponsor or other people because I was in a, I'm in a predominantly white recovery space, like where I live. And I was like, I don't know, I just feel like what our walk in like everybody's just staring at me. And we all know that's a common experience people have when you have like, low self esteem, and you think the world is really looking at you or whatever. But I was like, No, that's not what this is. Like, I just kind of feel like I just don't have the privacy that other people have. And now in reflection, it's like, I was the only black person walking into most of those meetings, you know, and six foot tall, black Afro walking into this all white environment, with my anonymity intact, right, quote, unquote, and it was just, that was some of the experience that I was feeling. was, you know, not feeling like I was safe around the people that were in those recovery meetings, just from an aesthetic standpoint, feeling like an outcast in that sort of way. And, you know, along the way, there were, you know, microaggressions pretty much the typical things that and it was not all bad. Let me go ahead and say that to that I was welcomed with open arms, you know, and to help me with sobriety, but I think the more you go in your sober journey, the more you realize what else you need, besides what what a meeting might offer, and I think that might be unique to a personal color. I don't know if you have thoughts on that. But as I grew in sobriety, I realized that this can't be all this can't be all that I do, and all that I have to rely on because it's imperfect. Thank you for sharing, by the way, and I am right there with you on feeling certain kind of way of just depending on the types of rooms you're in. I know that you are in the wall, you're considered the center. I wasn't in recovery when I lived in Georgia, but I have been in recovery when I lived in New York in Brooklyn. And Brooklyn's quite diverse here. So I guess that's, that's one good thing. But even within the recovery circles, there can be a lot of segregation and things like that here. And depending on where you are, or what type of where you are, even in Brooklyn or in the city depend, you may not be able to go to one of the more diverse meetings, you know, just your schedule and things like that. My schedule is kind of crazy. I'm an advertising so I can't really have like a set type of schedule. And it's not realistic for me to be able to say like, I have to go and leave at a certain time, so I had to kind of make it work, right. But I do understand going into those a lot of those rooms and I work in a pretty rich part of town. So a lot of the people in those meetings were people that didn't look like me, had dinner experiences that I have came from money and things like that they could form their life around or the meetings or whatever else they were doing. So are we out Lisa's just different. And even though like you said they were really nice, but it was just like those subtle things that people don't really realize, because they've never had to think about it. It's one of those things, especially in recovery circles is like you're already in a very vulnerable space. Because you have to admit that something's wrong. You have to admit that you can't you don't have control over this one thing feeling so low and then being in a place where you're vulnerable in that way, you're around people that probably more than likely than not, don't really have that much in common, like they don't understand how maybe addiction is viewed in your family or that other people may not know or you have other things that are at play just from a systemic or societal expectation because you're a person of color that they just don't have to take into account. Oh, yeah, yeah, I definitely can relate to that too. And times where I did try to you know, open those conversations just ending we're talking about like on a day to day level, attending media media. And then also just the overarching concept and construct of recovery meetings and who they were built for intentionally or unintentionally, you know what I mean? So on both both levels, but even just down to Did you, I would say to a friend, did you notice I was the only black person in the room just to kind of like temperature check, whether they were kind of, you know, where or, you know, just possibly open the door for like, I feel, you know, different in this room, you know, and a lot of times would be like, No, I didn't even notice that. Like, we're all in it, you know, and kind of a good understanding. I mean, I don't want to even make an excuse for it. But they would say, you know, we're all in this together. We're all trying to stay sober. You know, sobriety has no color or something like you know, whatever it is in that would be kind of like my sign that Okay, yeah, I'm not going to be able to go there. Like they obviously acknowledged and, and became aware because I mentioned it, but not necessarily getting it on their own or able to identify, so yeah, I totally, I totally can identify the only thing I'd say would be different with me was or maybe not even different. But I think that was more of a gradual awareness though. Like, I felt uncomfortable, but it sounds like you kind of knew why earlier on I didn't really I couldn't make sense of it at the time. It took, you know, being sober for a couple of years before I was like, Oh, that's what that is. That's why you know, and like it connected differently for me, so, but it's just crazy how we both you know, kind of come to that realization one way or another that, you know, the same thing that happens in the world happens in here too. It's an oasis, but it's not without its own issues, you know? Yeah, for sure. And I guess I have a follow up question. So how do you feel when the person you're talking to would say, like, you know, I didn't notice that you're the only black person like what would go through your mind like you understand it for like what they were trying to say but like, emotionally like, what kind of like transpired to make you say like, Okay, then I kind of know what this show is going to be. And it sounded like it kind of also made you like withdraw a bit, maybe? Mm hmm. Yeah, I would say it's kind of similar to maybe what you know what a lot of black people and people of color feel and other spaces where you feel silenced, you know, kind of like came out of my shell a little bit to say something and then Okay, yeah, never mind. And we learn how to suppress that part of us, I think, you know, like, in order to function, you know, the code switching, the code switching we have to do and the, you know, you know, hi, not hiding our culture, but suppressing our culture or our way of speaking around people, things that we learn to do in our society in general, I think those things just start to happen in those spaces too, as a as a protection, and I'll say that some I wouldn't say resentment grew. I think it was more of a sadness and isolation feeling than it wasn't angry. Like and See, this is why I don't you know, I didn't feel that until later that day. And just more so like a Dane here to kind of thing you know, like, yes, we expected at work. Yes, we expected heat, you know, when we're out and about but like here too, you know, and just the sadness that comes with that. Yeah, it's a form of grief, maybe grief, almost like a gray. Mm hmm. But again, I'd say a lot of my awareness around this is in hindsight, because in some of those moments, I was just trying to I mean, being staying sober was the primary focus, you know, so yeah, I know that you say a lot of this is in hindsight, but now if you're looking back on how does that influence how I know you said that you realize that those spaces couldn't be the be all or the end all to be all or however that saying goes but and and I totally with you there like I that's something that I realized like that couldn't just be my only way. But then it all you were trying to figure that out and navigate what else is going to be or what that is What recovery and your support system is going to be for you? What other things were you doing or trying to explore? Like, how are you taking care of yourself after coming back to yourself? After going through those meetings and having those experiences? Were there things that you do? Seek out just to kind of like ground yourself again? Yeah, I would say in the immediate, I definitely got pretty good at taking what I need and leaving the rest, you know, which I think is relevant in a lot in a lot of different ways. Anyways, a good skill to have, but I definitely, you know, apply that to certain meetings and kind of went in sometimes and, you know, it's it wasn't all bad. There were good suggestions, there was support, but I take what I need and had to block out things that I didn't need. I found that women like women's meetings were, I felt less isolated, you know, because of the commonality of, of being women and just kind of, you know, the uniqueness that comes with that. So I there were some differences like in my sponsorship family. tree, I guess you could say, as to what meetings in my area were the best ones to go to. I personally felt like I wanted to go to a women's meeting, even if it wasn't the best meeting in the world, like I felt a little bit more, a little safer with that I did make sure at those women's meetings, I reached out to other women of color, intentionally, intentionally with, you know, make sure that I spoke or, you know, you know, made some sort of gesture to the other people of color in the room just, again, I'm not I don't think we should just go around being friends and getting close with just whoever just because we share the same grace, but kind of like a, just the planting of seeds in a bunch of different ways. And we'll just see which one's intentional, you know, by being intentional about the Reach out which ones might grow. So I definitely did that. And something else that was kind of maybe against and again, I'm kind of speaking to 12 step. I know there's smart recovery, I know there's refuge, there's Yoga 12 Now, there's also tons of different ways to get sober but like some of the recommendations as far as I guess, in recovery, in general about cutting off friendships that are focused around drinking a I definitely pull back from environments and situations with my friends where we would be drinking, or where we would tend to drink in the past. But I wasn't I do distinctly remember being the only person like out of this recovery circle that I had that hat and like cut off all of my friends. I was like, wow, I don't know if I can do that. Because if I cut them off, that's like a, you know, culturally speaking and experiences like I still need or from, like, in a different way. And I think that was something that they were like, really you keeping a parent's like, Yes, I have to like I can't, you know, and of course they were. They were supportive friends. Like, I was blessed in that way that my friends were, Hey, tell me what you need me to do. What what what book are you reading? Tell me about it. They were those types of friends, but I could not cut them off. And they do they, they are normal drinkers or whatever, whatever they would identify as and I had to. I didn't mean I kept them, you know. So I would say that that's probably a different thing that I did that, you know, maybe wouldn't be recommended or, or might be different than what we're told. And then the last thing is reaching out for support online, like on Instagram searching hashtags. I'm curious, though, why did they tell you not to go to women's meetings? I wouldn't say that. That was I really feel like that was just more of a again, like a personal that that wasn't like some like general rule or anything. I think it was just, you know, you're in a certain in space where there's good meetings, and there's not so good meetings, you know, and I think that the culture down here is that good meetings are the ones that stay on topic. We talk about our sobriety. We talk about our experience, strength and hope and we keep it on the Big Book, that type of mindset. And so I think that what my understanding of maybe the difference with the women's meetings is that, you know, women we want to process we want to talk about our day we want to, we might cry, like, we got other stuff, you know, and I don't want to box us up and polarize the genders are masculinity and femininity, none of that. But you know, like, the women's meeting was a little bit more emotionally invested in that way. And I think that that's maybe was just a difference of opinion on what a good or a good 12 step meeting was. And so, again, it was just a difference of personal opinion, not a general rule or anything. Yeah, I'm with you. woman's meaning is definitely different vibe than all the other ones. So I'm with you, but I think it's needed. There's like that feel like the men's meetings and stuff like that that's needed to however, just to kind of like orient yourself in the space, I guess. Why do you feel like when it comes to recovery circles and things like that, If there is a lack of diversity, in your opinion, what I'll say about that is the lack of representation. And, you know, that's a loaded thing in itself to talk about, like, why there's lack of representation. But I feel like if I had gone into that first recovery meeting and seen, you know, even a handful of people that look like me, I would have felt differently, but I didn't. And so then when you start so I think for one, it's just going and not seeing anybody that looks like you, you know, plain and simple. I don't know if this is for me, but also underneath that is all of the systemic stuff that we're talking about in our country now that keeps black and brown people from getting adequate health care and adequate treatment and adequate resources in order to reach a place of recovery. Because, you know, we know that recovery meetings are some people can can stay sober off of just going to recovery meetings in you know, not needing medical treatment, detox or anything like But there's a lot of people who need something else. And those other things cost money. And those other things come with systemic racism in other things that are that also have current issues that we're addressing in our country now or have been trying to so it's just one of those things where it's multi layered. Another thing is, you know, I think the way that we're treated because of having an addiction, like the stigma that comes along with it, you know, the crack epidemic epidemic that happened in the 80s, where they were just, we were just put in jail, basically. And then now the opioid epidemic where it's like recovery and treatment and you go to your your addiction retreat and feel better about yourself, like the vast difference in that trickles down to recovery spaces. You know, it definitely does. Yeah, I'm with you. 100%. So, and I know you said that the lack of references is kind of a loaded thing. But you know, I'm always for talking about something that's loaded. And so I guess my thing is, where do we start to kind of unpack this? Is it more? Like, is it revisiting how we we do 12 step meetings because as Bill like, you know, he started way back in the day, it was primarily for white men. So is it as people eight or 12 step meetings like as a whole reexamining what they're doing? And how they can be more inclusive? How do we also which I think is another avenue, we can talk about that and your thoughts about that, but also just for people of color, how do we start being okay, like, how do we start to work through the stuff on our side? I mean, again, I know systemic stuff the court that's like trickles down, and that's like it runs deep and it's not gonna happen overnight. But I know like we talked about, like crushing stigmas or being okay with where we are, yes, the crack epidemic and How the opioid addiction like how those two things, and I love that you brought it up because how they're treated was night and day, you know, but when it comes to like how we are in the space now for recovery, like how do you think we could start changing like our own narrative for our own community for our own sake? What are things that we can kind of look at the kind of start writing the ship, I guess? Yeah, I think it's, you know, you and I haven't conversations like this, a lot of times we need that anybody needs validation that your experience is like, I can relate, there's someone else that can relate to the exact issues that I had, or the things that I was uncomfortable with and say, Yes, me too. I have that same exact or you know, something similar. Let me tell you about it. I think you know, so being able to connect with each other, and hat and talk about our shared experience, I think is powerful, both for addiction recovery, because support is a part of that. And then also for changing the narrative because if I had only, you know, going back to the question that I would ask my friends is like, did you notice anybody was anything that I was the only black person in that whole room? And they say no, if that's where I, I had stopped, and I never gotten to a place where I'm now on Instagram, and I'm reaching out to this person and that person to get connected, my narrative would have stayed the same. But because I was able to connect, I felt more confident in my narrative being valid. And so now I can start to change it in a way that I couldn't before. So one thing I have, you know, out of this whole pandemic, and stay at home orders and all that one flower, I can see it at all is that there have been some online meetings coming about that are for people of color black people, and I've attended some of them. And they're actually like, I was like, wow, just logging on. And seeing all black and brown faces. I was just like, Oh my gosh, and you know what? It's not I'm not talking about 100 people, but even whatever the amount was, just Looking at the screen, I really had like a moment, you know what I mean? And I think that that is that it doesn't always have to be trying to force our needs into a space that wasn't really made for it. Sometimes it is making your own space. And it's okay that there's two and that you go back and forth between both or you need both, you know, that's okay for now. Because I think to make the larger recovery space safe, it's going to take time, like years of work, and intentional work on making it that way over time. And so in the here and now we need something right now, like I'm trying to stay sober this week. I need a safe space immediately, you know, and so sometimes that is just a unique recovery group that is just for black and brown people to talk about whatever they need to talk about without rules to follow around what is and isn't allowed to be discussed. I would also say seeking now a black therapist or addiction specialist To get that additional support, that's another unique experience I've had is that I've actually worked in treatment centers too. And I've been the only black person there to or one of two, one of two or three black people in the entire center. And then you have these black people that are coming in for treatment and you know, looking at them, like I remember looking at some of the people that would come in and be like, man, I will try my best to help you but I just knowing that this the whole center was just not equipped to really help them on all cylinders to remember it in my head, like looking at the person being like, man, I hope they can stick around in and get what they need here. Long story short, I think it's just diversifying the support groups professional help that people get and diversifying the voices that get the platforms to talk about their experience that we were going to talk about like the multi layered lack of representation. You know, a lot of this culturally speaking, you know, we have some views of addiction that need to be changed as well. Like, I don't I don't know what your thoughts are on, whether it's just a lack of awareness, lack of proper education, lack of trust in the medical system. I don't think that collectively we seek out addiction treatment with the same confidence that white people can I agree with you on that. And I actually wanted to talk about that. Why do you feel because I think and I wanted to bring it back to this, like the crack and the opioid addiction thing. Why do you feel that we just have it, we don't view things like this the same way because I know like, for me, like, I kept a lot of my drinking and everything is secret. Whereas like, I had white friends who were who drink with their parents, or if it kind of went overboard, you know, their parents would be like, you know, we're going to get you in rehab, or something like that. I know that conversation wasn't going to happen with my dad. How my dad is now maybe that would have happened back then when I was really really young, and I was really like, going Easy with alcohol, he wouldn't have been able to do that. And I see that it's just different. How it's looked at is different. Like, you're not going to tell your friends that you need to think you need to go to rehab. Like I wouldn't tell my friends that they would be like why I'm like a white person problem think it's just a lot of things that are rooted in like generational patterns that are just passed down. And it's so hard to teach anything away from oppression in the way we've been treated in this country from the jump it I think it trickles all the way down to the way we view what needing help looks like for black people. Because we're not always given that first benefit of the doubt on whether our addiction is something that we need help with or being criminalized. And I think that's the epidemic we're talking about and the war on drugs and that sort of thing, that kind of stuff start you start to internalize that kind of stuff. You know what I mean? If you go to the doctor, and they say that there's nothing wrong with you or that they won't see you, historically speaking, then that's what your grandparents believe. And so then they raise your parents to believe that you Gotta keep it together because if you fall apart there's an you know what I mean? There's nothing that's gonna gonna help you along you've so we start to internalize that message of there is no addiction. What do you mean, you can't you can't hold your liquor. That's not it, we don't have time for that. We don't have time for that we don't have money for that. And there's nowhere to go with that. Because there's there were no recovery spaces for us when 12 step was created, and addiction is already a newer idea that still has a lot of work to do as far as the ins and outs of it physiologically, and what causes it. Is it genetics, or is it the Is it your environment? Or is it this or is it that and the priority has been on white people for treatment and care, historically speaking, another thing that I would say leads to that is this idea of secret. If I'm facing if I'm facing racism in the workplace, or I'm already being seen as inferior in some way, what makes me feel comfortable to like show That I have a drinking problem with anybody. I mean family in black families in general. Like any issue, keeping it in the family is something that I've learned a lot we've learned as well for the reasons that I just stated then it's like okay, so if I'm at my workplace I have, you know, my white coworker has a drinking problem, they may feel more comfortable to go to EAP and say, Hey, I have a drinking problem and not lose their job over it, I may not feel that I have the same luxury to go and say I have a drinking problem and that not be used in a way that either I lose my job or I'm seeing differently on my job in a way that I can't control. I agree and I know just a single woman that has worked in corporate for most of my career and being like the only one or being like one of two or three or something like that. And you already stick out a when people talk about if I'm the only black girl black woman on the team, and someone says something about that everyone's gonna do it to me. It's not gonna be a surprise. They would never say black woman but if they say something There's like those microaggressions and stuff like that, that kind of just like seeps into just the core of your being. And we're expected just to rise above that work three times as hard. So interesting to me, because I've talked to people about, you know, my drinking I use, but I would never get sloppy at work. I always felt like I had to be on point all the time I would drink. Yes, me too. Actually, me too. I had a drink, but I would never and I would see people get like, sloppy drunk, and then people will tell you those stories and next day or, and people will just laugh it off, but I was like, I wouldn't have gotten that same level of treatment and even and I wouldn't have wanted to push that envelope anyway, because I was very much about I have to be three times as good. Mm hmm. And something like this will follow me whether I want it to or not. So I always had to keep it hidden. Like I definitely agree at like with like, controlling my drinking for, for fear that it would look you know, gosh, this is just like a whole different level of reasons to like Not seeing drunk, but I can relate to that not wanting to seem like that drunk black person, you know what I mean? Like just the extra layer of judgment that comes along with that at parties or wherever I was, you know, got to keep it together got to keep together all the time. I can relate to that. Maybe it's something someone said, maybe it's not. But the reality is, is that we need safe spaces in order to fully recover. Like we have to be able to go there somewhere, you know, yeah, have to be able to I have to be able to take my mask completely off and deal with what's underneath somewhere in order to recover. And so where can I do that? And so continuing to have my math even partially on in this recovery meeting, then I get home and what have I really dealt with or gotten support around to make it from one day to the next and I have no statistics on this or anything. I just wonder how many people find it hard to stay sober because that is their experience, you know, and and can't make it into recovery because of that, and I almost feel like the math is even heavier because You want people to like that look like your resemble your community, you want them to be able to understand? Because you're like we're in this together, you understand like the microaggressions thing you understand the systemic racism or in some way there are people like that out there, like what types of things do you think they could look into? Or do or seek things out? Is it getting on Instagram trying to find people? Is it trying to find like the online recovery circles that are popping up things like that? Is it what other thoughts or considerations should they take into account there? Yeah, I would just I would just, you know, say that I think social media is a great resource in that way of getting additional support. But honestly, the conversations we're having is kind of in real time for me as well, because up until this stay at home order in the pandemic happen. I have not been to an all black recovery meeting or anything of the sort. I had been in a room where I was lucky if there were three other people out 60 that looked like me and i, you were I know you were mentioning like, the meanings and the where you are, how there's an opportunity for diversity I used to like fantasize about or just be I'm bet up north, there's all kinds of like different meanings. And I wish I could this and that. But even there, you're saying, you know, there's still that hit or miss on which ones you can actually go to. And I'm sure there are meanings down here that are more diverse, but it's just how accessible RNA and so I think that the online realm makes them so much more accessible. But sometimes what we need to talk about doesn't fall into the guidelines. And so where can we go? Where can we go for that we need new guidelines around somewhere, you know. So I would say that's a good start. I would say reaching out to a qualified mental health professional with addiction background will be a great place to start as well to get additional support. Even if you do have to go to predominantly white meetings in your area, to have someone in your corner that is understands what you're going Through that addiction experience and knowledge, from a professional standpoint will be great. But then also has that experience of being black in America and can hold space for that. And so therapy, in some ways can be considered a luxury. But there are ways to get with a reasonably priced therapist or Medicaid is around, there's providers that provide therapy under Medicaid, you can access I would just say continue to seek out that you're not crazy for wanting it or for craving it and to seek it out. I think that's where I was like, Am I crazy? Or is this something that I really don't want to experience anymore? took me a while to realize that no, you're not crazy. You deserve to have a space where you don't have to think about that sometimes. And so I started to seek that out. And I would also say preparing for, as I hate to say but preparing for potential triggers in meetings like what will I do? If somebody says something that I don't agree with? Who can I call Do I have someone I can call Do I have some skills that have access to keep myself from drinking and I hate to say have a relapse prevention plan for your recovery meeting, but you need a relapse prevention plan for every trigger in recovery meetings are no different. So what am I going to do? And I'll say my personal experience with something like this was that I was probably like, what the 2016 election campaign started in like 2015, I'll probably like six months over. So the entire time I've been sober, really, there's been this like political drama and racial tension and make America great again, at last matter, like all of that has been all up and down my entire recovery thing. journey and there was there's been some meetings where there was eventually towards the, towards the end of my just conforming type of mindset with recovery at towards the end, there was a meeting where I had to get up and I had to leave, and I, my sponsor, in that meeting, my friends were in that meeting. And I was just like, I cannot sit here. And I can't even remember what what the offense was whether it was over covert, or just vibes, I don't remember. But I gave myself permission to get up and leave. And I think understanding the difference between somewhere that doesn't feel safe, because you know, a lot of the messages, you got to stick with it, your feelings aren't facts, you got it, you know, got to be open, willing and honest and do stuff we don't want to do. And it's like, but I got to learn my boundary with that, because some of this just isn't safe. It has nothing to do with my willingness, or my openness. It has to do with my ability to be vulnerable. And I gave myself permission to get up and leave. And since then, I've given myself permission to not go, man, everybody has to figure that out for themselves. That was about three or four years in when I was kind of like, Okay, I've got to kind of spread these out because of what I'm exposed to when I go potentially. So all of that I would say all of that needs. be explored finding a diverse meeting, finding a therapist, that's a minority of some sort. And that's not always the 100% guarantee that they're going to, you know, understand what you're going through. So you may have to shop around with that to but definitely seek that out. And then online presence for sure. Yeah, I'm with you. And I think that's so true. I know you touched on having a relapse prevention plan, do you just want to kind of tap into that for people that are not aware, everybody's situation is unique, I want to reiterate for a while there, it was more beneficial for me to go than to not go because that's where my addiction was, as far as overcoming the cravings and stuff is that, you know, this has been a journey of mine learning what works for me. So it's not going to be you have to really figure out what it what your recovery looks like for you. But as far as a relapse prevention plan, I think that going into these spaces, assuming that you won't be triggered is setting yourself up. It's not your fault. But unfortunately, we just have to be prepared for that in this country. And, you know, recovery spaces are no different. And so knowing your triggers knowing I would say relapse prevention plan could include Do you have someone that you do trust in the meeting that you're going to check and see if they're going go with them? You know, choose your meetings around if you can, around which ones feel most important. So for me, the women's meetings were a part of my regular plan, because those felt more supportive. And I knew that when I went there, I would have some familiar faces that I felt were supportive of whatever I had going on. And if you do feel triggered in a meeting, relapse prevention just means what are the obstacles are not obstacles, but what are the tools or skills you have in place to prevent yourself from going all the way into having a drink? And so that could look like what phone numbers do you have to say I go to an all white meeting. Well, I have three black limit on my phone numbers there. I have the numbers, I could call them afterwards and maybe process what happened or ask them are would they be available after, or it could be going and getting together with those with the people you haven't able to meet and trying to nurture some of those relationships could be a part of your relapse prevention. Some of them will be immediate things that you need to have planned and some of them are just overarching, like maintenance type things to prevent a relapse, but definitely having like, Okay, if I go into this meeting, and there's something that bothers me, where is my boundary, you know, what can I tolerate? So for me, for example, somebody with a Dixie confederate flag shirt on may or may not be worth leaving over, that's just the environment that I live in. I need to have someone that I call I need to have something else that I do immediately after that meeting. And not just drive around in my car around gas stations and liquor stores you know, to me like that's the that's the kind of plan that you need ya People don't have to think about that. What if someone says says the N word and I'm in a recovery meeting? What do you what would you do? And they're just like, I never even have to think about that. And we do. Yeah, I'm with you. And I think it's just being conscious of the fact that your relapse prevention plan probably won't encompass everything, because certain things that will just happen, and but then you'll always have a tool kit or something to pull from that if you realize like, Oh, this is a particular trigger, I didn't think it was going to be, you know, you still have something in at play or within in play. So you have something to is utilize in order to kind of center yourself again. It's like, it's like, what can I avoid that, you know, especially early recovery, sometimes you'd have to just completely thing we do with with drinking, you have to just completely avoid places and things and so how can that apply to how I seek out recovery? I can be personally I couldn't avoid all the people, places and things at a certain point. But I kind of knew which places were safer or more welcoming, or more helpful than others. And it's like, once you are triggered, what are some coping skills that you have, whether that's calling someone, or for me exercise was the big one for me, which is where a lot of the work I do now comes from that was an outlet for me that I could use as a distraction, you know, but I think for us as people of color, that connection and support is going to be like one of on the top of my list as far as relapse prevention, who can I call and how can they show up for me when I call them and if I can't get someone avoidance and getting to a safe place as soon as possible? Yeah, I'm with you. I have a couple people that I keep, even if I haven't seen them, I haven't seen them in months just because of COVID but that I keep in contact with and we just send each other notes just to check in and make sure that were okay. And of course, like I said like the Instagram people I've met through Instagram has been amazing, because I wasn't a big user of social media or anything prior to release. Starting the podcasts like I was just I'm very much a private person. So the community I found online even has been really such a game changer for me and just meeting and just being able to talk about all the different experiences. So even if I'm having a moment, sometimes I'll just scroll or reach out to somebody that I've met through Igy as far as well as like text people that I know in real time and just that whole, like you said, like that sense of community a sense of bonding, and I feel like I've never even met before, which is New Me too, and just kind of opens your eyes to what's been missing. Wow, this is what it's like when you have support and safety around your recovery. Like this is what it could feel like that's crazy. Like I love that, you know, this is so much better than what I was piecing together on my own before. What does it take for this long term? Never drinking again, lifestyle, and absolutely has to have you we need that connection. We definitely do. Yeah, I agree with you. 100% Okay. So what is going on in your world? What's happening with your business? Like, is there anything you would like to tell the people listening to the show? Yes. So if you are located in North Carolina or specifically in the Charlotte area, I'm accepting therapy clients virtually. And so if that's something the pandemic and the protests in the racial injustice and everything has just been a lot this year, and so if you are struggling with anything with that, I'm definitely available to anybody in the area to actually begin therapy. I also have my be well program which is a and I'm accepting clients in into it as well. It's my blended program that helps with some of the skill building stuff that we've talked about today, like not pertinent solely for relapse prevention, but what are your skills and your habits to help you stay well, and so my B well wellness program talks about that. There's customized workouts, there's coaching sessions, group support, all that kind of stuff kind of blended into one, one amazing program. And so I'm always looking for good candidates for that. It's definitely a unique program that I like to interview the person just as much as they interview me and make sure it's a good fit for them to go through the program. But I am accepting clients and that so if you like my perspective on things on health and fitness and mental health, and you want to work with me towards your physical health goals, I would love to work again, I'm not bound just to the Carolinas in that way, we can definitely do something virtually. So my Instagram is at Kristin Feemster can find me there and my website is belief be free, be well, calm, awesome. And I'll have all that information in the show notes as well as on the post when this episode goes live. If you guys have any questions for her, feel free to reach out to her and it's always a pleasure. I love every minute of it. Yes, I'm glad I'm so glad that we're both at a place where we're having these conversations. And I really hope that, you know, whoever's listening to this feels encouraged and connected just through us having this conversation. I know that can be life changing. And so thank you for having me. And of course, I'd be glad to come back. There you will be back. Okay, everybody, so thank you for joining in. Take care. Bye