48: The Disease Doesn’t Discriminate, But Does Recovery? (Sort Of)

9/13/20 Racism, discrimination and oppression are a part of our world.  Since recovery is a subset of the same people that are in our world, it makes sense to conclude that these unfortunate truths are also a part of recovery.  What does it look like in action in our community?  What barriers face minority groups in getting to and finding recovery?  Our guest Sylvia helps us explore the world of recovery through the minority experience lens, hoping to open the discussion about recovery and how we can help be more inclusive to minority members.

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery and addiction topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or fellowship the views expressed here are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

all right welcome back it’s recovery sort of i’m jason i’m a guy in long-term recovery i’m billy i’m a person in long-term recovery and my name is sylvia and i’m in kind of mid-term recovery midterm recovery sylvia welcome it’s so nice to have you here for sure uh just to clarify a little bit about last week and catch up a little before we move into today’s topic um there was a wonderful post by sobrietymatt on twitter about our step 9 cast and some great responses underneath of it i’m not going to get into all those right now but i do appreciate it we also got a really nice message from melissa on facebook who um said she just really appreciated what we’re doing and in her town she’s one of the the elder members but i think she said four or five years clean and that’s like the most in the area um and she just said it was nice to hear people who you know she didn’t know other people in recovery felt like she did and she started listening to us and she’s like oh my god i feel like that too so it’s always good to feel like uh we’re relating to somebody right because sometimes i’m just like maybe i’m just here and everybody else thinks i’m out of my goddamn mind so we appreciate that from melissa and you know we want to delve right into the topic tonight because it’s a it’s an interesting one for sure so selena had messaged us a while back and given us the idea you know there was a lot of stuff going on a lot of racial unrest in america and she said maybe we should do a topic on racism and recovery and you know it’s a delicate subject for sure it’s one uh as a normative white gentleman uh i generally don’t have the right to talk about too too much right i i’d like to be educated and learn but i’m like oh man we’re two white dudes how are we going to talk about racism and recovery right we’re not women we’re not like black we’re not uh any minority whatsoever and we’re gonna so i didn’t think we could approach that topic and billy agreed without having someone from a minority here to represent you know obviously not everybody’s opinion right but at least some opinion of somebody who’s lived through some of these these things and so that’s where we got we we found someone we believe uh can do that justice and they are here with us now just to kind of clarify a little bit ahead of time um i do want to say i think billy and i both have some minor i guess understanding of the struggle of what it’s like to be a minority in the united states you know some of the history behind it some of the unfortunately it’s not distant history unfortunately it’s still present uh you know the ideas of of systemic racism discrimination things that i truly believe in my heart still exist fully in our entire life right i know not everybody agrees with that but what i’m hoping to do here is just have a discussion right and and i kind of want to come to it from a place of ignorance honestly and i say ignorance not to be to be rude right ignorance is in not knowing unknowing um exactly you know i don’t even want to use the word uneducated even though that technically is exactly what i’m talking about but that sounds like a put down and that’s not what i mean but i want you to know i i don’t want to come from a place of ignorance in order to offend you or to uh put you on the spot to explain things or you know convince me that they’re real i already believe they’re real i just kind of want to interject some questions that maybe a listener who’s not so sure about all this might say well if that’s true then how about right they might have those questions and so i’d like to us to try to come to some kind of answers or at least some discussion about that um just to start off i mean if you don’t believe that there’s racism in recovery you know there’s a i got into this today with some people online uh we’re a 12-step fellowship or a program and and the program is all spiritual principles and it’s all inclusive and you know get that racism and recovery stuff out of here the disease doesn’t discriminate i agree the disease does not discriminate exactly right addiction while it doesn’t discriminate on a singular personal level does discriminate on a national level when you look at the statistics of how it affects people in different ways

going in further to that you know we know statistically just at the beginning of any recovery process it’s more difficult for people that are minorities to get into any kind of treatment right people in minorities we know through science through data through research we know that like they don’t have as much access to health care they don’t have as much access to jobs and resources that have private insurance so they’re limited in places they can go and so i think just starting there it’s like the data and evidence is there that we know from day one trying to get clean trying to get sober trying to start a new life there is racism right from the jump right and so i think maybe you should take over here because i’m talking way too much and just tell us a little bit about uh maybe your story something you you have dealt with maybe some process and i’ll start with sharing my let me just make this disclaimer right i don’t speak for all black people right um my experience is just my experience because even though we may experience the same addiction we all have our own personal interpretation and understanding of it right um racism is the same thing you know each of us as people of color experience the same thing differently right and i can share you made a great point um the biases that exist and the discrimination that exists and i find for me the most dangerous type of discrimination is the type where people don’t even know that they have these unconscious biases right before we started this conversation you guys were talking a little bit about you know your experience at home right and how you grew up that’s got to impact you some way right so um i grew up in cecil county right and i experienced uh racism from a little girl in the neighborhood we were the only black family in the neighborhood where i lived and it wasn’t like a a neighborhood where they were progressive right it was not still not yeah probably i was called names on almost on a daily basis right and as a kid growing up you really don’t know how to um manage that right your family you know at home they said well you know you are just as important as anybody else and no one’s better than you but when i go outside right i get a different response from society so and you know we were talking like so we have recovery here in cecil county right and we are a society within a society whatever you know uh modality that you choose to recover in you’re still a society within a society so you the same people out there are the people that are in the rooms right and sure we have ideals that we would love to aspire to of equality and loving and caring but still you have human beings right right so they’re in lie the problem so for me it was difficult and uh it was challenging uh in that being the only black person in the room all the time um is difficult you know it just is and trying to explain that to you or billy is almost trying to explain to a non-addict what it is like to be an addict right you might be able to understand the concept but you can’t really understand the experience right unless you live it so

sure there are uh some people that are very open-minded right and um even go to the extreme of saying some things like i don’t see color but when we say we don’t see color that’s that’s limiting the person because i am a woman of color and with that comes a lot of things right not just you know my station in american society but you know i we do have some sort of culture even though you know most of it was robbed from us you know through our history uh and we have a lot of barriers and you talked about it um the challenges of getting into recovery well guess what those are just things that we learn to live with right it’s almost like we know that we have uh barriers it’s just going to be the way it is so we got to make it happen right we got to make it work so uh you both are from baltimore city you know baltimore city has a lot of recovering addicts it also has a lot of using ads right right where’s the neighborhoods that we go get drugs it’s in black neighborhoods right yeah those same neighborhoods have a lot of powerful uh recovery meetings right the same places so um i can share from my experience um recovering here uh insist in the susquehanna area um had his challenges but also it was an opportunity and just like thank you both for inviting me to do this because this is like i i want this to be a place of healing not just for me personally but maybe for other people as well right because that’s the position we have to come from how could we we know it’s a problem right um those of us who do know it’s a problem but let’s heal from this situation right let’s heal from this problem and what better place to do it than in recovery right where we do aspire to live with acceptance right well we do aspire to have tolerance and understanding right so we can do that here and take it outside to the you know general uh society but for the most part uh i encountered a lot of loving and caring people that were willing to help me and they weren’t of my color right but then i encountered a lot of other stuff too so thank goodness um when i felt uncomfortable on those days i would go to another area that was predominantly black and it’s almost usual for you guys to go to a meeting and you really don’t think of it because it’s all white right it’s an old white beauty you don’t even think like it’s an all-white meeting right right it’s just like society you don’t you know because it’s normal right but when i go into a meeting and it’s an all-white meeting depending on what i’ve encountered that day or depending on what type of memory i may have had because you know um uh uh this is uh racism is traumatizing right so we have a lot of trauma how we deal with that trauma is individual right i happen to believe that church is really big in the black community because it was a way to probably deflect some of the trauma that you had to live with right so um the religion was a place where you could find safety and some type of solace right because in society you have to deal with so much [ _ ] oh can i curse you oh yeah you have to deal with so much [ _ ] right and um and i’m i’m 57 right so black people of my generation well i’m just going to say for me i have almost a schizophrenic relationship with with america right because i can’t i was born in the time i didn’t even have a right to vote right okay right every every person that uh seemed to uh have a voice of the black america and and empowered us were assassinated right so uh and then this bill of rights was passed and so i i had the opportunity because i lived in a white uh you know basically white neighborhood i went to a good school so i got i had the advantage of getting a good education right um and that’s why i speak the way i do so uh i’m not white and so i went to an hbcu which is a historically black college or university right because i wanted to identify with black people because i’ve been around all these white people in my life i was like i wonder what it is to be black right right get some culture right right i want to be around my people but then when i went to the historically black college they called me a white girl because i didn’t talk like everybody else right so it’s like trying to find this place where you really don’t fit in right and um so i thought it’s my point but uh but yes so it’s kind of a schizophrenic kind of relationship so i i i didn’t come from slavery of course but my but slavery has such an insidious impact on americans right and you talked about it jason earlier like the systemic racism it’s everywhere it’s in everything from getting a mortgage to your home where you’re allowed to live now nobody’s going to say you kid well maybe now right right but um prior to this era here with with the trump thing right uh where uh racism has just become emboldened right they weren’t saying that but there’s so many ways within the system that marginalize you right but on the other hand i was able to go to college like which was something that a lot of people didn’t get to do you know just a generation before me right and then i used drugs so i [ __ ] up my life for a long time right but because i do live in the america that i live in i’ve been able to um garner some level of success right socially or professionally right which is a good thing but at the same time i deal with all these uh microaggressions at work so you know i happen to have a position where i’m part of a senior team and uh everybody’s white

so some days my trauma get kicked up and i’m looking at everybody’s suspicious eyes right right and then the slightest slight could be brought out of proportion in my mind but still i have to manage it right i have to manage it so i can still remain socially acceptable right so these are some of the things that you don’t have to deal with right but some of the things that we have to deal with on a daily basis so um being in recovery and being uh recovering in a predominantly white environment is different for every black person i see some people who just assimilate very well right but assimilation has never been my thing right because i’m proud to be black i love black people right not that i don’t love white people and a lot of people get that confused like to have black love you have to be anti-white that’s not what it is right it’s just being proud of who you are right um just like the black lives matter thing right so we say black lives matter because black lives do matter but america hasn’t acted as if it’s mattered forever right right so now we’re saying black lives matter now people say all lives matter blue like yes we’re not saying that they don’t matter right we’re just saying that we matter too because you’ve been acting as if we don’t matter since we’ve gotten here right um one of the great analogies that i heard about um in terms of that was like so if one house on the block is on fire you call the fire department they’re gonna go put the fire out of that out right does that mean that that’s the only house in the neighborhood that matters no right but that house is burning the [ _ ] down all right so it needs some help it needs some services that’s all we’re saying right um and um so uh i don’t even know what your question did you ask me a question just share a little of your experience yeah so you know recovering here in the susquehanna area has been great right i’ve met a lot of great people but i’ve also felt the exclusion as well and then i’ve also felt because billy knows me i’m very passionate about recovery right and i’m one that you know i love the literature so when people were doing things that violated the traditions i would get passionate about it but then i would be the angry black woman had i been a white woman oh no she’s just you know really she knows her really but no i’m an angry it’s like this being dismissive of me right because of the color of my skin so those types of things so i felt i had to go find solace amongst people of my color so i could be more comfortable in recovery so uh thinking it’s a small wonder areas close by which happens to be where my home group recently was and i go to baltimore often as well we actually i i had a conversation with a gentleman richard today one of our buddies on twitter and he was saying he hasn’t really run into a lot of racism he doesn’t do particularly a 12-step program but so his recovery program is through a church and it’s church-based so he said he hasn’t it’s a very diverse area and he hasn’t run into it and i said well i’m happy you haven’t right i’m glad but he did mention that the one thing that stood out to him was black people tend to be very expressive and and louder when they talk and passionate about things and he said there’s a lot of volume and inflection and sometimes it can be construed as aggression and that’s i think where these you know what you call the the biases where where they’re at right the ways we don’t see it where if a white person’s check bounces something must be wrong with the bank if a black person’s check bounces it’s because they’re black right if a white person’s loud and passionate about the traditions it’s because they really love this program right and if a black person does it like you said it’s it’s an angry black person right and it’s something to fear and so these are the little ways in which we don’t see but that it exists and that’s kind of i don’t know that anybody’s really done the study or or the taking the time to really sit down and question these parts of a 12-step program i understand the program itself i hope the program itself isn’t biased i really don’t know that it’s not because honestly it was written during a time where none of this was even being considered right so it might be in the literature too right but i’m just i’m dying to know if there’s i know the meetings have their own experiences but i’m dying to know if there’s just ways that recovery operates that have some of these underlying biases in them that that i’m not even aware of because i would never think about it and that’s what i i don’t know that anybody’s taking the time to do that or to really like map that out at all but i’m i’d love to think we have either taken the time to do that but i don’t think it’s necessarily biases i think it’s more of um setting things apart making them seem different when this the diversity that really makes us better so i know when i go to mainly african american meetings i kind of like it because you know we’re like the speakers are really charismatic and then i go to some um you know predominantly white meetings it’s just very monotone and it’s [ _ ] quiet but you know what i mean it’s almost like going to a white church in the black church i don’t know if you’ve ever been to a black church but it’s like you know wow you know to be very emotional and then i go to a white church it’s like and it’s done in an hour it’s like i like to go to white churches sometimes but i know i’m getting out but it’s on a schedule yeah you go to a black church you’re in there all day they’re gonna feed you and do some more right so um so yeah there’s a difference in how it’s culturally there’s differences right but that doesn’t make us um i think that we need to be more inclusive and you can have a preference without being biased you see what i’m saying right so my preference might be to go to an african-american you know meeting well there’s no african-american meetings but predominantly black meetings that might be my preference because probably because i’m black right right but it’s not um that i’m excluding the value of a white me predominantly white lady you see what i’m saying we’re all recovering from the same literature i don’t think the literature because i really do believe that those the people who wrote the literature were really guided by a higher power right it’s miraculous i mean i think our literature is like a miraculous read it’s like who wrote this [ _ ] right you know what i mean they really had to be collectively guided by a greater consciousness right to write something that would allow a crackhead like me spoke crack for a long long time right and today i have 16 plus years clean there was something about the literature that did it right so um somebody in that literature writing committee was getting high right because 90 of that [ _ ] is gold yeah and then there’s like 10 i’m like i don’t that’s what it didn’t even make sense but keep coming right now but really so i don’t think it’s more of a i don’t think it’s a bias i think it’s more of a preference right and there’s a difference between the two um and it depends on how i feel in a given day since most days it doesn’t even matter where the message is coming from as long as i get the message you see what i mean right so that that i don’t know about you but even you know being clean you still have those moments of desperation you just need to hear something that’s gonna heal you you know what i mean something’s gonna just touch me in such a way and only we can do that doesn’t matter what color we are right the world conventions are the first time i went to a world convention the people didn’t speak the language but you felt it right you feel what they’re saying every once in a while they say [ _ ] or damn or something like yes right right right so it’s the it’s the feeling um and and i think um in general i’m not all the time but um there’s more feeling in uh messages were delivered by african-american people right because i think we have had in society we have no voice and recovery is an opportunity for us to have a voice right and our voice matters right so just to feel like you matter is a big [ _ ] deal when you’re so marginalized in society right um so yeah so i you know you spoke about being a minority in a meeting and i i’ll never i’ll never know what it’s like to be black right obviously uh i mean i don’t know maybe there’s some way they could do special effects like make it for me for a while i don’t know but uh having what i consider a similar experience and i’m not trying to compare experiences here at all or or you know put them on a level um being state property a couple of times and and going into institutions where i was greatly the minority and it’s it showed and it’s a whole different world for me it was a it was very much a shock um it’s uncomfortable just being the minority period like nothing has to happen nobody has to say anything mean to me or anything like that when we’re sitting at the lunch tray and and i look around and you know there’s six white people out of like 300 people i’m like oh [ _ ] this is this is different like i don’t know i don’t know this field right and so i mean just that level of when you walk into a meeting in a in a predominantly white area and you’re the only black individual there that’s awkward enough right but to take that one step further i know i have heard derogatory language and meetings towards minorities sure uh have you ever been in a meeting where something was said oh absolutely and here’s the funny thing about this not just in the meeting because you know we are society within society i’ve experienced this both in and out of recovery um people may know me right and be friends with me right and when their uh racial beliefs come out they’ll start talking about black people as if i’m not a black person they’ll say some [ _ ] like get that [ _ ] and no not you sylvia that’s what they’ll do [ _ ] like that i’ve had that experience outside too you know where i was i was a military you know we were in training and i would you know all these white guys and they’re like yeah that [ _ ] and they’re like no not you because you’re different and i’m you know how do you respond to that because at that time i didn’t have a voice right so i kind of like had to smile but see all that is internalized traumas too right those little things are traumatizing so trying to manage that it’s it’s um it’s weird and everyone doesn’t some people of my color would be like and think nothing of it because they’re assimilators right right they want to take on your culture because it’s the predominant culture of america you want to be able to fit in and get along and you know what i mean all that but at some point it’s a personal choice where you ask yourself how much am i going to trade off right when is enough enough right and now i can go into a meeting you know because i have acquired through the program a level of self-worth and self-identification like i don’t even care you know what i mean i’m going into a meeting doesn’t matter if i’m the only black person there i’ve been the only black person there i’ve been the only black woman there i’ve been the only black female lesbian there you know what i mean right you know get out of me so she doesn’t bother me okay amber had messaged us today um and she you know thanked us for taking on this topic and she had an experience she said wait on her for months another member a white male in a meeting she was in did use the n-word in a meeting and when she approached some of her predecessors about it and asked about it like what they were going to do or how they were going to you know act for it they basically said principles before personalities and that there was no opinion on outside issues and it just never sat right with her and it’s bothered her ever since and so when i posted this today she just she reached out and she said she thought it was a cop-out to just say that and and that everybody needs to be there and she has she said a little less than two years but in that moment she kind of lost faith in the spiritual principles and teachings of our program because if that’s what the spiritual principles are about she didn’t feel connected to that right and so i mean i really appreciated her sharing that because it it made me think what would i do if that happened at my home group right or any meeting but definitely my home group where i feel responsible for the atmosphere and right what you know it’s like what is the right thing to do in that i would hope i would hope that i would say that’s not okay to say here like we don’t we don’t do that okay but no i i agree with the uh people with the home group because everyone has the opportunity to come in just as you are right and we can’t moralize or uh with people right and uh that person may change over time we don’t know or they may not but i’d much rather me personally now i’m not speaking for all black people i’d rather much rather you call me a [ _ ] right here as you know if that’s what you feel as opposed to you feeling that way and not say it right so now i know where this guy stands right i know seriously and i’ve heard that before like you’re you’re better off knowing outwardly who your racists are than the ones that absolutely nice behind your back yeah you’re i mean nice to your face yeah exactly exactly i for me though that may not be for everybody right but for me i’d much rather know who you are right as opposed to you pretending to be something that you’re not just because it’s uh politically correct i don’t think we have the right um there’s a difference between the program and the fellowship distinct difference right the program has spiritual ideals but we’re we’re human beings and we are both at the same time we’re miraculous and completely [ __ ] up at the same time right so that guy may have been feeling something or experienced something that day we don’t know right but that’s he shared his truth i’d much rather you share your truth than to uh

act as if you’re something that you’re not right yeah i completely disagree on this one you know we get to have different uh opinions i just to me it’s it’s it’s right up there with uh you know i can think of a guy who started a fight in a meeting at my home group at one point in time and i asked him to leave like you can’t stay here you can’t punch somebody in the face and sit in my meeting right we have rules and boundaries right and to me derogatory language of that nature is one of them like no you gotta go look i hope you get better in time right right the same with the guy to punch the guy right i hope these steps work for you but you need to leave but we also have not just our you know met sick mentally racist whatever you got sexual predators here

you know what i mean those people are in your meetings and we all know who they are the guy out sleeping with everybody’s wife and picking up all the newcomers and all that stuff nobody’s running them out of here not anywhere i’ve ever seen well and i’m not saying to run them out of the program or the fellowship at all and i wouldn’t run anybody out of the fellowship but as of this meeting if you’re not going to respect our rules if you can’t use that language like if you say it once and we correct you okay that’s fine yeah but if you continue to you need to go and and funny enough like i had of all places right here in elkton at the meeting up there tuesday night there was a guy one time in the meeting made a racist kind of sharon and just yeah overtly made it like overtly racist comment and people flipped out and a couple people wanted to beat them up right in the media and all that stuff you know so i mean that happens i don’t think that like that doesn’t fix the problem of racism in cecil county you know what i mean it doesn’t mean there’s still not a racist crowd but it did set i guess you would call it like a expectation that that wasn’t going to be tolerated right amazing but then again you know we have traditions right and i’m sorry but i know supposed to be general way but we have traditions and there’s a knife tradition in the guiding principles it’s really wonderful where we don’t dictate how people share right that’s not our place to do that we don’t manage like me i cuz a lot there’s some meetings where um they say in their pro-love no cursing at this meeting and sometimes i’m passionate i just you know and then the first thing somebody no cursing so now i’m i’m being criticized right i’m being judged right so we don’t want to even no matter what he said even if it’s a racially biased uh word or whatever we don’t want to criticize or judge we do because we don’t really know how fragile anyone’s ego is right and we don’t want to say anything that will prevent someone from coming back so even him even that person i would you know from from my belief system i’ll go up and give him a hug right after the meeting because we have to learn how to love the oppressor in some type of way because the oppressor is a human being and i understand that i am capable of anything human because i am a human being too i may not fall short in that particular way but i may fall short in a way that that’s hurtful to someone else on that same level but in a different arena you see what i’m saying so forgiveness is one of those tantamount principles that we that we especially as african americans have learned that we have to practice right otherwise we wouldn’t be able to function in society i i i hear you and i completely respect your stance right i i really it’s like a place to aspire to for me i’m like i ain’t there [ _ ] that dude right and you know what even in your position when you’re it’s like it’s a it’s very you know um a touchy subject but you’re almost apologetic in your stance when you say some things right even if it’s like you know you don’t have to apologize for [ _ ] white america you know i mean just because you’re a white person i don’t know part of me almost feels like that is where we need to go right it’s been so wrong for so long yes i didn’t cause it i get that right but what can i do to help you can change you’re doing you’re doing you just like having this conversation is huge because we need to be able to we need to be in a situation or an environment where we can have a conversation even if we have differences of opinion right the prejudiced person should be in the conversation that we’re having right now right because i want to understand why do you feel that way what happened to you of course is probably learned right oh yeah but we relearn and unlearn and relearn [ _ ] every day when you talk about the trauma experience that’s my trauma is like bullying like being bullied and so when i see bullying and that’s where my trauma yeah it’s like oh no you’re not gonna bully people that’s why i worked out so i can try to come over so that’s a great point it’s sourced in something else right right so you know yeah that’s funny then people call me and they’re like hey can you share my home group we don’t do cussing i’m like what the [ _ ] you calling me for you i don’t know i can do that i’m cold at least one or two is going to slip out yeah and sometimes i’m telling you jason i’ve been to meetings where they invited me to share my fact is right up there they invite me to share and because you know i do have experience right and i try to edit myself sylvia don’t curve and then i always end up questioning myself you know i think it was uh i’m not going to say his name because i keep it anonymous not even his first name but a guy i heard speak a long time ago that used to say his message came out in no uncertain terms and he you know that was part of it like he had to connect to people and i believe that like when i came here my first week clean i didn’t hear what nobody was saying except the cuss words that was it it’s the only vocabulary i knew exactly and so that’s who i speak to when i talk for sure absolutely absolutely so i think that and you brought up the point and i’ve thought about this more recently than ever because race is so prevalent in whatever social media conversations now and just how many meetings i go into and there’s one maybe two black people in the meeting you know in this area and when you started talking about that immediately what i thought i don’t know i hadn’t thought this before but how would be to like walk into a meeting full of just all women you know if i just go to a meeting and it’s all women right and then you know i feel like all right i guess i can do this this one time but then to think of that just being the norm like how kind of difficult that might be to i mean you would get something out of it not that women don’t have a ton to offer to recovery but would you know what about like my experiences and stuff might be a little different and so when i when i first got clean and it was before this time i relapsed at one point but when i first got clean uh i had maybe six to nine months and i was being sponsored by a guy he worked at a treatment center and we went into you know baltimore city which is where we were at anyway we went into another part of baltimore city for an anniversary for somebody that he worked with one of his co-workers and we sat in that anniversary it was three of us the only three white things around right and the guy shared about not the guy who was celebrating but another gentleman stood up afterwards and shared about uh the white man and how he was the problem and he was holding him back and all this and i was like oh my god we’re going to get [ _ ] building here like i was like we’re done this is it like they’re going to shoot us like and it was highly uncomfortable right and for you yes yeah yeah yeah but but most people in that meeting understood that that guy was just sharing his feelings and where he was at right but um i don’t know when um you you were just saying billy you went into an all-women’s meeting i know if i go to a predominantly black meeting we don’t really talk about black issues we’re saying i just talked about the recovery right i go to a patrolling white video they don’t talk about white issues they talk about recovery so i don’t know recovery as a as a as a theme that you know carries through every genre right yeah it’s it’s really interesting and i i i guess i don’t know i really i just had this feeling that there’s something underlying that i’m not seeing about it right i i would love to think that recovery everywhere uh people come in they get different ideals and principles and we know they don’t do them perfectly but that it’s pretty welcoming for everybody and i i just had this feeling that there’s like you talked about microaggressions i feel like they’re they’re going on and i’m just not aware of them and i might even be participating in some of them and not know it yeah and it’s like that’s the i really would love to just learn more and and maybe even maybe i just need to talk to more and more people about it and keep asking and find out what they are yeah i know talk to some black people yeah i mean putting this on online today um well a story real quick so i i went to an expungement clinic in baltimore at one point a free expungement clinic i was like yeah man i’m gonna get these done for free that’s you know i’m cheap and so we went over to an area i used to cop in and i was right right by the strip and i walked in there with my wife and the guy who was running the clinic said oh you’re here for uh the lawyers are upstairs right and i was like don’t buy you like you you made me feel awkward hey and so those i just have a feeling those kind of things are happening these little whatever they are biases or perceptions stereotypes right i have a feeling that’s going on and when i was on reddit today there was a couple gentlemen um one identified as korean and another said he was asian and that in their areas and i didn’t find out what areas they were they were in meetings they tried them out and they just never felt comfortable and they said look i wasn’t sure if it was just the fact that i was asian i wasn’t sure if it’s the fact that i grew up with a completely different concept of god and like they were force feeding church down my throat all the time and that’s one of the things through reaching out to a lot of communities online i’m learning like i haven’t had that experience around baltimore people aren’t really shoving church down your throat right there’s not a lot of people believe in a christian god but it’s not really force fed to you whatsoever and so i i’m like oh well that must be recovery everywhere right it’s just open you can do whatever you want but apparently a lot of maybe it’s the midwest maybe it’s you know the south who knows but mostly they’re saying jesus basically yeah and so he was uncomfortable right and that bothered him and i think there’s things like that where like oh we assume you know everybody has this god or we assume everybody does this or this and that’s just not the case and a lot of people are feeling left out well i don’t think that has anything to do with race i think that has to do with culture of the area the recovery area because i can go to a lot of baltimore meetings in there and they’re adamant about it you’ve got to have a god and my sponsor told me you need to get a god of your understanding what our literature says you don’t have to believe in god at all right you don’t have to believe in god but depending on the culture of the recovery community right um you know it could be more open where you know a lot of is eclectic where people from all faiths go and they don’t really talk about their god but i’ve been to a meeting in perryville when the guy talked about jesus thought about jesus i’m like well you can’t really do that but this guy had a lot of clean time right and happened to work in the field so had a lot of people that’s this dangerous thing because he has he had prestige so the newer members are probably looking at him yeah that’s the way i need to go to get that time but you don’t have to so we got to be again the traditions keep our fellowship alive and free right they really do so yeah you can feel uncomfortable i don’t think it’s anything to do with i could just feel uncomfortable if i go to a all black lesbian meeting i might feel uncomfortable just because i have the disease of addiction right and it says you’re [ _ ] up today you don’t fit in you don’t matter right so so yeah absolutely i guess one of the things i’m cautious about is to uh and i tried to do this at one point i took a class about discrimination in baltimore specifically when i was in college and i loved it it was well taught learned a lot of stuff in there but uh it was one of those not my finer moments where i say not my finer moments right it was i didn’t know yeah and i was trying to make a point and it was a learning experience for me right um but i was trying to make the point that you know everybody’s life is hard so they were saying it’s hard to be black right well everybody’s life is hard and i’ve heard this so many times since and i’m like god i sounded full that’s right i’m like everybody’s life is hard so maybe we’re just all deciding that it’s because of this or that or the other right i say my life’s hard because i from the city and whatever my father didn’t make a whole lot of money and never drove or whatever right like just weird things but i don’t necessarily believe that today right so i’ll say yeah everybody’s life is hard but some people you know we talk about the 100 yard dash and everybody has to run it but some people are starting at the 90 yard marker some are starting at the 50 yard marker like my life is hard but it’s never been hard because i was a minority and so i i just i don’t want to explain away and say that everybody’s got it just as bad just because they’re addicts right and i’m not trying to contradict what you’re saying but like just because i’m an addict and i can feel uncomfortable somewhere i don’t have to question is it because i’m black right is there actually something going on here to make me uncomfortable or is it just my disease of addiction i feel like that almost makes it twice as complex right because i can go in and say oh i’m not comfortable here because i’m a goddamn addict and i just feel weird inside right i don’t have to say well is it me right or is it this group of people that is making me feel uncomfortable right so we have those as a black person you have the as a black addict you have the internal isms and you have the externalisms so you have to deal with both and it’s not to say life is hard for everybody oh you know there’s no one exempt from you know life right so but um it could be challenging for everybody but some people have privileges that just are innate that i don’t have right but it’s not to say that i can’t achieve the same things as many people as you know my life has shown that i can’t right um i don’t and i can’t say i i had the benefit of getting a good education a lot of black people don’t have that like i went to perryville high school back when they first built it right i don’t know billing is but back in uh i went through that when it was a brand new school so we had a really good school a lot of people in the inner cities don’t have the advantage of getting a good school but they’re black just like me right but um i’ve had those advantages right where many like as i was saying at the beginning like everyone’s experience is different like they have barriers that they have just because they didn’t get the benefit of a good education some people coming out of high school can’t even read yeah right it’s real that’s that’s part of that’s part of the racism that we’re talking about right the resources aren’t there right the resources go to the privilege because they’re paying the tax base right why aren’t black people paying the tax base because of the systemic system that take off took all the jobs out of the black community right so there’s no jobs there why are there so here’s a here’s a prime example that i tell my kids all the time you go through a white neighborhood matter of fact where i live i live in a white neighborhood i don’t see any newport signs i don’t see any gin smyrna vodka signs billboards i don’t see any of that right but you go to the inner city every other billboard is a cigarette or a liquor billboard right why is that

why is that well i mean it’s discrimination oppression and racism it’s part of the systemic racism that we deal with now if you if i grew up in that neighborhood that’s all i saw well that’s all i know right i don’t know and am i going if you were to take me out of that and then transplant me into where i live like well i’ll be able to survive i’m outside of my familiar environment right it’s almost you know like i hate to bring this up but i will bring it up because i think about it sometimes you know we had slavery right slavery okay so emancipation game if all you’ve known is slavery and they set you free give you no direction on what to do right or how to is the majority of them going to be able to come out there no most of them are going to become sharecroppers as they did which was right illegal slavery right right right right right right so some of them had the courage to say we’re gonna figure this [ __ ] out right right right but that was only a small percentage right so

the whole system we just need to be honest about it right see what we’re dealing with in america is a a great lie america was never the home of the free right never the home of the brave right it was it was home for people white men who would own property if you’re on property then you had a right to vote right when they said um and the uh uh constitution you know what i mean it’s all [ _ ] a bunch of lies let’s just be honest about that instead of living on this non-existent virtue of this is what america is no america has never been that right let’s deal with what it is and i think right now we’re coming to a place where we’re having to face our truth right i don’t think that this whole uh trump era is a bad thing i think it’s really showing us who we really are and it’s not a pretty picture right and it’s interesting in the last few years like and just i i like a lot of pockets we talked about this sylvia doesn’t listen to a lot of podcasts i love pop right that’s all i listen to and there’s a couple one um it’s actually called god socialists and it’s about jim jones and what his early days what he did for the black community and it then it goes into the diatribe of history about like the black struggle and things like that and they explain how and this is stuff like i never knew you know you think oh the north it’s always been free slavery you know they were all about emancipation but what you figured out is they wanted emancipation you know for the slaves but it more was like a political thing it was more a monetary thing sure and when a lot of the you know black freed slaves left and went to the north and went to the city chicago and philadelphia and new york they were not welcome there and they were abused and beat and pushed out and they said well glad you’re free but you can’t be free here right you know it was it wasn’t this great oh welcome you know we love you okay come share with us it’s almost like that phenomenon not in my neighborhood right yeah i want it but just not in my neighborhood and just you know growing up just whatever the predominantly white public education system you’re just taught oh yeah the all the north you know wanted to free all the slaves and they were great and they were all about freedom and it was like no not really like that’s only a tiny piece of the story right and that’s what it is we we get these half truths right and then they and they have outright lies you know i mean the history books that i read u.s history books i read full lives yes it’s full of lies but you know because it’s been taught for so long they want us to buy in like that’s true it’s not true right america was based really built on genocide right genocide is slavery that’s who we are come on let’s just say that’s who we are as america but knowing that living in your truth i mean if we start from that you know in recovery we have to own our truth right we have to be honest about who and what we’ve become this is what i’m i’m [ _ ] up right right we got to say like i’m [ _ ] up but then the road of recovery is available to us after we admit that i think we have to come to that same impasses in america right and it all starts with us right so teaching our children what the truth is right it really does right and teaching our nieces our nephews right what the truth is and then we could grow from there but as long as we try to live continue to live on this lie and try to make the lie the truth that’ll never work so the u.s needs a 12-step program absolutely true education well and just so i’ll plug another podcast there’s another podcast to listen to it’s called nice white parents and it’s about you know i guess up in new york you can kind of pick different schools that you get to in certain areas you’re not assigned to a school right and so what’ll end up happening and you’ll have some of these like predominantly black and brown schools and you’ll get a couple of nice white parents that want to come in and fix the school and they’ll get a group of other white parents and then they come in and they will in the nicest intentions possible sort of trample over the people that have already been in that school for six eight years and just start taking over [ _ ] yeah exactly and what that because it’s assimilation right and i talked about it like our way is the best way if you just do it like we’ve done it you’ll be fine just negating all together that we as a people have a whole identity a whole culture of our own no you can help but help us build our you know and and also for black america is it we’ve come to a place where we have to stop asking white america to help us [ __ ] that you think yeah because basically we have a three trillion dollar uh uh wealth within our black community it’s just that we are so broken we are so broken that we don’t even contribute to our own well-being right because hatred marginalization like not being valued has been internalized so deeply it’s become cellular you see what i mean and i watched it there’s a documentary or a series whatever reality show whatever you want to call it on netflix about that i can’t remember the guy who does it off the top of my head but uh he’s a black guy and he wants to go out and spend all his money in the black community and give some statistics on how quick like the dollar stays in the community and how quick it goes out of the case um

but you can watch it yeah it’s pretty fascinating and so he goes into these different cities and he tries to like keep his dollars in the black community to find black grocery stores black you know restaurants black whatever he needs a haircut you know whatever and how much of a challenge that he runs into trying to do that before that money you know ends up in the white community or just outside of the black community and the statistic says that the the dollar stays in the white community like not even a day yeah like hours yeah yeah black community and it stays in the white community for like a couple months or something yeah it’s he gives us statistics in that and it’s like you think yeah that’s incredible did you see he went he actually found a he found a muslim-owned uh grocery store yeah he bought beans but he couldn’t open the beans because he couldn’t get a can i don’t remember that but yeah that’s the kind of challenges that he runs into because it’s like you know trying to find all the resources you need in the black community yeah i can imagine that’s pretty but those are things like say just growing up you know my parents weren’t like overly racist or anything they never shielded us from any sort of black people i just never you know we grew up in the city we grew up in hamden which is a predominantly white neighborhood yeah i did go to a private catholic school when there was some black kids in there one of them was my best friend and you know i would go to his house but they were i don’t know probably more lightified than you know it wasn’t like black culture they were going to a private catholic school so you know exactly but um but i had been to his house and it seemed more like my house than anything um and it wasn’t until probably in the last 10 years that just getting into liking history and listening to like history podcasts that are based more on reality than they are on what you learned in history class and then hearing some of these stories or hearing like there was a guy talking uh wood i can’t remember his first name anyway he was a a police officer in baltimore he was explaining he’s a white police officer but he was explaining some of like the racism and how that works and the historic red lining like they oh my gosh

so they just wouldn’t let black people live in certain neighborhoods like you just gotta stay here the neighborhoods that they allow them black people it’s still red lighting is still still here and alive today so predominantly black neighborhoods have been redlined right i can take philadelphia for instance right and now since they want to gentrify those areas right the black people that live there can’t get money to upgrade their homes to sell it because right they could sell their homes if they were able to fix them up for you know like 400 500 000 but they can’t get the mortgage right to up because it’s red line but when drencher when they go in and buy the house it’s like when white people go it’ll become totally different right they’ll re-zone the whole thing so that the money becomes available this is just part of what you have to deal with and you try not to like anger will only destroy me internally right so you try to find a way not to be angry at this [ __ ] right right so you can have some peace but then it’s like something every day yeah and then well even and now i’m gonna just try to anger you more but then learn and it’s all stuff like say just growing out like i was fascinated and even as white like i’m shocked and was like appalled

and uh but then that’s the school systems a lot of these schools are based on the tax dollars of the houses and you can’t get the money in the community to fix the houses or bringing businesses so you know half the houses are vacant so the school system is drastically underfunded because you know that’s what the school system is funded off of is your you know the property taxes and since the property tax is so low no money goes to the school and it’s a yeah it’s a domino effect people in a cycle and then you know drugs and crime seems to be a better opportunity out than trying to work in his brokenness system that you’re stuck in exactly it really is a domino effect so you know and then someone comes along and says well just pull yourself up by your straps well if i don’t have any boots how can i pull myself up right now you know what i mean it’s just it’s it could be overwhelming but then again like i said like i’ve been very fortunate you know um even though uh i i still feel the effects of it i’ll give you an example so 57 right so when i was watching tv this is something that never occurred to me until i was older right i like leave it to beaver light was one of my favorite shows i dreamed of genie one of my favorite shows a couple of other ones but i didn’t even realize there were no black people in those shows until i was older so psychologically it had an impact on me i didn’t even know it i was completely unaware like i’m invisible right like do i really do i really live in america i’m not only with the people right then when the cosby coach came it’s like yeah he’s our hero then he turned out to be a serial women right so you know it’s always something it’s like i didn’t know that back in the eighties everybody loved the background yeah and then it was such a number he was a doctor and she was a lawyer you know like yeah no my dad’s a steel worker you know what i’m saying right but yeah so to get just a little bit back into and i’m enjoying the conversation for sure you were talking about assimilation right yes and i’m i’m over here pondering like maybe that’s why there’s not as much feeling of racism in recovery in a meeting per se because our program is kind of all about assimilation at least early on it’s it’s all about like uh hey come be like uh stop doing what you’re doing stick with us for 90 meetings in 90 days you know start to change change everything everything i mean there’s the old you know brain martian people say we’re getting brain marched here and maybe we need it and all that great stuff but is that why it doesn’t seem like it’s there’s as much racism is that why maybe coming in when your whole life has been a disaster and you’re at the bottom and you’re like you know what i just need something that works to help me live please you’re more willing to just go with the flow and it doesn’t feel you don’t have to think you’re not there’s a bigger focus right then right the focus is jesus christ let me live without going to cop every five minutes let me live yeah that’s how i came in i just wanted to live without intentionally killing myself every day right so when you’re at that level of desperation you don’t care what hand is feeding you as long as you’re getting fed right you don’t even see the hand you just see the bread right just getting something right and it’s not until you really begin to mature emotionally spiritually eventually right that you really become to really understand yourself right understand who i am as a as a person basically as a human being because i wasn’t even i was living on an animalistic level tasting for a long time right you know instinctually just living right so who am i as a human being and then you discover like oh yeah i am i’m an african american what does that mean you know what i mean um how do i internalize that right how do i really embrace that right so and that’s where i that’s where i started to seek out people like me in recovery because i can’t come to you even though you very loving caring and willing to help you can’t help me embrace my my my blackness right you can’t do that so where can i go so people can understand when um the [ _ ] on the zoom meeting um you know is uh doing this macro aggression [ _ ] microaggression [ _ ] and who can i go share that with where somebody could yeah me too you know what i mean you can’t do to me too you’re like oh yeah sylvia i really feel yeah that really sucked but i needed me too let’s go fun i know it sucks but i need to me too like yeah you feel that you know that right so that identification the identification right so as i matured for me i went to places where you know people looked like me right people had some of my same similar experiences because it is it’s a different level it’s almost like a special interest group right um like if i go to a gay meeting sometimes they talk about gay [ _ ] right and most times they talk about recovery but you know if i go to a uh like my sponsy group i can tell them about you know what happens on a job because they are professionals too and they’ve experienced some of the same [ _ ] right dealing with people like for instance we have these zoom meetings in this you know virtual environment now and when my white colleagues bring up an idea the white people were like oh yeah that’s a great idea yeah that’s really good yeah but when my director my ad he’s also a blogger he brings up an idea and it’s like and it’s analyzed and it’s picked apart but they don’t see that right but i do so i get off me like that [ _ ] [ __ ] right but i gotta make my i gotta make myself uh i gotta find a way to be okay because i like the checks that they give me right so my one sometimes i ask myself this question uh jason and billy am i one of those people that would be willing to sacrifice it all for the greater good

most days i say no yeah it’s a big question it is it is but it’s going to come a time where we have to ask that question of ourselves i think i think you’re right too i mean i i remember back when a guy said you know you just shared about the concept of am i all in right just for recovery at that moment in time but am i all in on any given day and like most days i can’t say that i’m all in i’m like eh i dabble my toes are in maybe my ankles but i got other [ _ ] going on that has my focus right now right maybe it shouldn’t but it does right whatever that may be and so to think can i sacrifice it all for the greater good right i don’t know right and my significant other she works for princeton university right she does very well too and we talk about all the times that we would not unless we really had to you know to be sacrifice our way of life for the greater good um yeah right well so you talk about some history and how all our history is false what i did enjoy was uh my college-level history classes because i got some reality there yeah and it was very eye-opening to learn all these real troops you know the revolutionary wars like rich white guys that are pissed off their tax money is being taken honestly and then they they get this propaganda and they sell a message of this is what we want that people can get behind but the revolutionaries generally what they taught us there aren’t people who are older with children or established or living comfortable lives like revolutionaries or the young people because they don’t have anything to lose really all right right that’s just the way it goes like once you start getting things to lose you got to really second guess like i don’t know about that anymore and you’ve already figured out the system by then you know how the system works you function in it you know if you’re succeeding in it right you don’t want to change it too much yeah but if you’re not succeeding then you’re like yeah let’s tear this let’s burn this [ _ ] down but i’m like no you brought it down won’t get paid so it’s the younger people they’re really um going to have to um in all areas like global warming we’re lying in that [ __ ] universe cave in on us but we’re like no it’s not it’s not true yes it is right right do you look at memes no the meaning of pictures i just picture that dog with the fire going on around him or whatever and he’s like it’s okay right right right right so and we have a lot to uh really come to terms with right and racism is a big piece of it right but right now the country is at uh you know a high level of unrest right so um which side am i going to be on you know i mean as a as a black person who’s kind of you know been able to you know meander through and become acceptable uh i got to pick a side

you know but uh each day you know you kind of just like go to work come home go to bed get up go to work come on so you know i don’t know so you’re you’re a black woman who got clean in a white area yeah and started venturing out to maybe some meetings that reflected you more personally yeah uh i spent some of my recovery time in the dundalk area where every so often there’s some black man or black individual who comes into the neighborhood into a recovery house and they’re like the black person in the neighborhood not the only one usually but it’s very slim pickings right at some point in time and and i don’t want to say they say the right things but they they do what needs to be done they get time they share about how they appreciate how much they’ve been accepted right and i don’t know if that’s by everybody or just by the people to talk to them maybe there is half the meeting that goes out and talks about them afterwards right maybe they are the not to the face racist right but over time what i notice is they go back to a black area and get a sponsor then they go back to a black area and get a network and and so do you find that that’s more just for the comfortability of being around your own or is it is it something that’s missing i think it’s just human nature you know they did this cafeteria experience they called it right the lunchroom experiment right so uh the whole class goes into the lunchroom you naturally gravitate to the table of people of your likeness it’s just natural it’s human it’s human to do that and it’s not to say that you know i used in a city i lived in a city so i started you know the practice of not using

long before i got clean this last time right so um it’s i had been going to beatings of color the entire time since 2000 since 1989 right i didn’t get clean until 2004 right so it’s not like those areas were foreign to me right i just happened to this is where my mom lives so you know i i was homeless so i came back to my mom’s house so this is where i recovered my sponsors were from here you know i had you know wonderful white women to be my sponsor right i was gonna ask that yeah yeah yeah yeah um and you know but but eventually like i was saying during my my period my journey of maturing right coming into some identification self-identification of who i am you know i went around people that look like me right that kind of like felt like me that identified like me right just it was i think it’s human nature interesting now so um let’s take like military culture so like in military culture races well what was it called there quite yet but oh hell yes so um well i just meant for the like a challenge of recovery like in the military you know there’s a you can’t admit like a weakness you can’t emit a fault so in that culture you know it makes like that’s a challenge for people to get into recovery are there any like challenges like maybe specifically in the black community that would create barriers obviously the health insurance and having insurance and access to treatment um many cultural things or many people um from black families will tell you that you know um first of all which what goes on in the home stays in homes you don’t go share your business you know what i mean so that was like a departure from what i grew up with right like sharing what’s happening in my life because you know we we’re learning to keep secrets right so coming into an environment where it says no share how you feel right i don’t know your mistakes i don’t even know how to articulate my feelings i have feelings you mean i have feelings right so uh it took me a long time to even learn how to articulate what i was feeling because we been oppressing them for so long and then it’s like don’t ask anyone for help right so that’s another barrier right uh so yeah there’s a lot of cultural barriers within our community and then the mental health thing you know we’ve always had crazy people but you know we never got rid of or they never went anywhere they were just crazy in the back room and you know what i mean they come out and talking to themselves she’s like oh yeah that’s uncle so he’s just crazy right but no one sought mental health treatment yeah white people lock them up in a hospital somewhere right right so even going to seek mental health a treatment is like a big deal it’s a departure from the norm for us right so um so seeking help there’s a lot of black people that use every day and use every day for years but don’t even consider getting help in narcotics anonymous very normalized in the community yeah well i think about even even like outside of narcotics anonymous so some of the work you know through voices of hope is like community outreach trying to connect people to resources and even if you can get them into whatever like a maintenance anything yeah get them get them to stop using um you know i know there’s a really low percentage of black or brown people in our meetings here obviously in our recovery meetings but it’s definitely not representative even of the community i know there’s more black and brown people in this community that are using and struggling and you know i guess are can you think of any good ways to reach out to those communities you know not just through narcotics anonymous i mean i know some of the things that voices does they do community walks they send people just to go walk through different neighborhoods talk to people hey how you doing what do you need you know do you need some stuff you’re looking if you need to get into treatment we can help you out you know they do different harm reduction stuff and it might be that when we see a white person coming into the community that we’re suspicious of that person you know what i mean uh what are they going to do are they going to tell on us are they going to bring their cops here you know because every white person yeah your cop and typically so their their approach typically is to find a person that lives in that community okay to go with them at least in the beginning and then if they can keep that person engaged on okay you know because just that you know you just don’t want to send two you know sure happy smiling white people in the summer because they go into the bad neighborhoods and they aren’t just you know black or brown neighborhoods i mean we got some pretty bad white neighborhoods yeah every time around here too since i’ve gotten clean i don’t go into some blackberry yeah but it’s it’s a but that’s a great question and i think um the the solution is more complex um

because there’s of course there’s going to be hesitation when um an outsider comes into the neighborhood because why are they coming into the neighborhood you know there’s especially going to i’m not going to say i don’t you know i love my brown people right but many of them aren’t um don’t have paper work right so they’re not going to be forthcoming with anything you know so that’s that’s a that’s a challenge right but it’s a something to think about yeah and so far so some of the um it seems like from the black community the people they’ve been able to connect with so far and it’s been a few are mostly uh been through churches or christian groups that because there’s a lot of good people in churches and christians that just want to help people even especially they see addiction and how it’s rampant in some of these communities and in our neighborhoods um but it’s been i guess trying to make that connection like with the the and of course maybe because they’re not [ _ ] here in cecil county but like the black recovery community right but i guess it just ain’t enough and there are there are a few black people here but many of them are transient right they’re just coming through they don’t stay long right um i don’t know um and then you know you feel uncomfortable if you’re like the one black person that’s native to this area and then they want you to like i’m not uh captain save a hoe you’re right you know i understand the plight but [ _ ]

no but seriously it’s like it’s it’s uh because you know the cultural barriers that are there a lot of people don’t believe in narcotics anonymous they don’t even know anything about it but they say this it don’t work you know what i mean so i don’t know crossing that divide is it’s a it’s i don’t know people are trying yeah yeah that’s all you can do throw the rope out there yeah yeah we’re we’re getting towards the end of our our time in this discussion um this is been a great discussion thank you so much well thank you for coming on i really appreciate it for sure i guess a final maybe a wrap-up question i’d like to know is what can i do moving forward right what can i do to be more welcoming and inviting or to maybe just create an atmosphere that doesn’t make people second guess if they belong there what can i do that you would have liked seeing done for you when you got here and felt like the only person in the room like you to make that not feel so rough you know i think um in general like you have a lot of information you seem to you know have really inquired and gotten educated on a lot of the issues that the black community has to deal with right i think one of the major things that not that we want special treatment but we want to be acknowledged of our treatment just ask the black person are you okay right you know we never get asked that question it’s almost as if we have the expectation that we um can tolerate pain differently or or or you know have more tolerance for pain or more tolerance for marginalization or you know but it it’s hurtful you know and it’s impactful so i don’t know just uh basically just ask the person are you okay you know is there anything i can do i said awesome do you have anything else to add then no i appreciate you coming on billy this has been awesome yeah it’s been a lot of fun it’s good to see you yeah all right well that wraps it up for this week and uh if you have any comments or any input or experience that you’d like to share please feel free you know you find us wherever social media exists recovery sort of and we will see you next week if you enjoyed this podcast please feel free to share it with people you think might benefit from the conversation look us up on facebook twitter and instagram to join the conversation also and share your ideas with us we’d love to hear it