22 Recovery-Focused Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color to Follow
Every person deserves to feel seen and heard. This is true in relationships, work places, families, and it’s especially true in recovery.
In order for that to happen, people need to see themselves in others. They need a space that is welcoming. They need to relate to others who’ve been through something similar. That’s why it’s so important to have unique spaces for different individual experiences.
July is Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month. Why is this important? Because Black, Indigenous, and People of Color face unique struggles and barriers to mental health treatment that should be highlighted and addressed. For example, adult Black Americans are more likely to have feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness than adult White Americans. In 2018, 58.2% of Black young adults 18-25 and 50.1% of adults 26-49 with mental illness did NOT receive treatment. Latina adolescents attempt suicide at higher rates than other gender/ethnic groups, while suicide is the second leading cause of death for Asian Americans aged 15-34. Native American people who meet the criteria for depression, anxiety, or substance abuse disorders, are much more likely to seek help from a spiritual healer rather than other specialty or medical sources.
Because of these facts and more, we’re highlighting twenty-two Black, Indigenous & women of color in recovery you should get to know and follow for inspiration during this month and beyond.
Dr. Valerie (Vimalasara) Mason-John M.A (hon.doc) is one of the leading African Descent voices in the field of Mindfulness Approaches for Addiction. They are the co-founder of Mindfulness-Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR), and the co-author and co-founder of Eight Step Recovery, using Buddhist teachings to overcome addiction with meetings in several countries. They are also an award-winning author of ten books, a public speaker, and a master trainer in the field of conflict transformation, leadership, and mindfulness. Vimalasara’s #MentalHealthMonday session ‘When the Body Says No‘ explores the misogyny of the body, its impact, and how to love the body.
Dr. Masica Jordan-Alston
The Sober Black Girls community includes resources, blogs, in-person meet-ups, a mentorship program, and online meetings. This club understands the trauma Black women experience and the struggles to recover that Black women face, and has made it their mission to help them live a better life. The Sober Black Girls Club is for the sober curious, the social drinker, the problem drinker, or those living in addiction or recovery.
Shari is a life and recovery coach, speaker, anti-racism in recovery trainer and consultant, founder of the non-profit organization Served Up Sober. Served Up Sober is a community designed for sober and sober curious women of color and offers a range of holistic workshops and classes to help you move toward true wellness. Shari is also a SHE RECOVERS Trusted Advisor and Coach who leads the SHE RECOVERS Support for BIWOC weekly online gathering. Additionally, Served Up Sober and Sober Black Girls Club co-host an online gathering for sober queer people of color. Shari’s #MentalHealthMonday session ‘Redefining Vulnerability‘ is a powerful example of what it means to lead with courage.
Ester is an author, speaker, singer/songwriter, and workshop facilitator, as well as a SHE RECOVERS Trusted Advisor and Coach. She is also the founder of Soul Recovery, a process she developed to heal herself from addiction. It unifies the 12 Steps of Recovery with universally accepted spiritual practices—and has guided thousands to their recovery and higher purpose. Ester’s #MentalHealthMonday session on ‘The Healing Code of Forgiveness‘ explores how to get in touch with and heal core wounds of unworthiness, shame, and feelings of not being good enough using EFT.
Elaine Alec is an inspiring woman in long-term recovery, an Indigenous author, political advisor, educator, and spiritual thought leader. She is from the Syilx (Okanagan) Nation and Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation. Elaine is a first-time author of “Calling My Spirit Back” a memoir about growing up as an Indigenous girl in Canada and the impacts of colonization. It also provides Indigenous knowledge, teachings on how to cultivate safe spaces for diversity and inclusion.
Kiola is a nutrition and wellness coach who is happily living alcohol-free. She is co-founder of the Body Church, a virtual experience created to encourage you in mind, body, spirit, and soul. You can also find her hosting sobriety rooms on Clubhouse or speaking about her experiences on Instagram.
Nikki Myers is an accomplished speaker, teacher, and the founder of Y12SR, The Yoga of 12-Step Recovery. Nikki is also a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Addictions Recovery Specialist, and Certified Health Coach. Born from her personal struggle with addiction, based in its theme ‘the issues live in the tissues’, Y12SR is a relapse prevention program that weaves the art and science of yoga with the practical tools of 12-step programs. Nikki’s talk at SHE RECOVERS in NYC explores the concept of Codependency as the ‘Disease of Looking Elsewhere’.
Ebony is a mom, recovery coach, speaker, and author of her memoir Saved, Sober, & Sitting Pretty. Finding wellness and confidence in sobriety, plus sharing her story, has set her on an incredible journey of growth. She helps women transform from substance misuse to women of substance.
Franda lives in Dubai, UAE and is a Transformative Personal Development and Recovery Coach and a Coach Trainer (also a SHE RECOVERS Coach). From her own journey with alcohol to her massive addiction to enabling and codependency, she coaches women to reach a balance between helping and enabling, leading and being lead, being supportive vs supporting.
June is the founder of the Yard of Greatness where she teaches African-centered self-love, sisterhood, and sobriety. She started her recovery journey in 2009 and quickly found that the self-help world was missing a cultural context. From there she has created many powerful resources for Black women including courses, classes, retreats, a book club, and a membership program.
Cheyenne is a descendent of the Blue Eagle family from the Mvskoke tribe, a yoga teacher, and birthworker, and has been sober since 2009. She has used yoga and movement to heal and has chosen to share this healing with the world. Cheyenne founded Three Medicines Longhouse – a membership that helps people grow through Indigenous wellness paradigms.
Mouna, also known as Boozeless Bliss on Instagram and TikTok, details her journey from sober curious to zero-proof drink lover. She recently celebrated 9 months alcohol-free and is serving up some fun recipes on her TikTok channel for those interested in fun drinks without the booze.
Sharla’s lived experiences with grief, depression, trauma, and relationship loss (to name a few) led her to take up coaching as a vocation. She is a SHE RECOVERS Coach and works with a broad range of women but has a personal passion to support mature women over sixty and young single Mothers of Color. Her lived experiences are directly connected to these two communities.
Lindsey is a yoga and meditation teacher and has a SHE RECOVERS Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Designation. Lindsey is sober and helps women tap into their divine feminine. She hosts virtual and in-person events and workshops that include full moon circles, sound healings, and sober sisterhood circles.
Sober Brown Girls is a safe place for sober and sober curious women of color founded by Kirsten Walker. Sober Brown Girls is host to a free Facebook group and a blog full of resources. Kirsten is also a Recovery Coach at Tempest providing a voice to sober women of color.
Elora is a sober woman and veteran who has created a company called Elora Song, where she uses literary and visual artwork to encourage and promote spiritual growth and personal development. You can find greeting cards, apparel, her books, journals, and gift boxes in her beautiful and uplifting shop. Elora is a Friend of the SHE RECOVERS Foundation which means a portion of her sales are donated to SRF! She is also training to become a SHE RECOVERS Coach.
Alicia is an educator and author who is creating new spaces for people to explore grief and grieving. She is committed to making sure conversations about grief don’t stop in the hospital rooms and funeral homes, but become common publicly, in workplaces and in our personal relationships. She is currently creating a comprehensive collection of mental health and grief resources by and for people of color.
Dee is a sober queer Indigenous womxn who has witnessed firsthand the damage and violence alcohol has caused indigenous communities. Dee believes there is no right way to get sober and that sobriety is more of a state of consciousness and a spiritual state rather than just “not drinking.” Dee’s mission is to decolonize sobriety and undo the colonial teachings that came along with drinking.
Pamela Rueda Devenport
A proud Latina, Pamela is an inspirational speaker and coach (and a SHE RECOVERS Coach), and the creator of the program My Badass Recovery. She has been on the journey of recovery from an alcohol use disorder for 10 years and her mission is to create clarity and grateful empowerment around addiction and recovery. Pamela proudly calls herself an alcoholic in recovery, believing that sharing our truth shamelessly helps smash stigma and inspire those who are still suffering. Pamela coaches in both Spanish and English and is a facilitator for the SHE RECOVERS Support Encuentro Español Gathering & Group.
Although these are only a few of the Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color who are speaking about mental health, we hope you feel inspired, seen, and connected to some of them and the many resources they offer. SHE RECOVERS offers their own BIWOC Facebook support group as well as a weekly Zoom Gathering for BIWOC if you’re interested in joining a safe place to share your own unique experiences. Many of the folks featured on this page also presented the SHE RECOVERS Critical Conversation: Healing the Effects of Racism for Black Women in Recovery.
If you are a woman of color, being in or seeking recovery doesn’t have to be an isolating experience.
Gather with fellow travelers each week @ 11AM PT / 2PM ET in the SHE RECOVERS Together BIWOC Online Gathering. Join the SHE RECOVERS Support Group for Black, Indigenous, & Women of Color – an intra-community closed space designed for women of color to connect and heal.