People of Color in Recovery – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging – 394

Mary is an Al-Anon member who is Korean. She brings her experience as a person of color in the rooms of recovery to the podcast. Our conversation touches on all the points below, plus more.

  • How diverse is my group?
  • How can we bring the message of recovery to a greater number of people of all backgrounds, ages, and genders? (From page 382 of Many Voices, One Journey.)
  • Step 12
    • Carry this message to others.
  • Membership survey
  • Anonymity
    • Or lack thereof
  • Searching for People of Color meetings
  • Traditions 10
    • The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
    • How the tradition is used.
      • My experience of doing service at a conference
      • WSO
  • Safety
  • Tradition 3
    • The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al‑Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.
    • This tradition is used in the service manual as a reason why “all Al‑Anon groups welcome anyone.”
  • Tradition 4
    • Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.
  • Concept 5
    • The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.

Readings and Links

We read from Courage to Change page 61, March 1st, and from Many Voices, One Journey, Al-Anon's story of growth and recovery as experienced by individual members and the fellowship as a whole over Al-Anon’s first 60 years.


Please call us at 734-707-8795 or email with your questions or experience, strength and hope. Or just leave a comment right here.

Music from the Show

It's Quiet Uptown – from Hamilton
Rihanna – Lift Me Up

8 comments on “People of Color in Recovery – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging – 394

  1. Laurel says:

    Very divisive episode. Lois and bill are turning over in their graves. We are all one in the program.

  2. Mary says:

    Thank you so much for having me on your show Spencer! It was great to talk to you about this important topic. If any of the listeners are interested in attending the Asian Pacific Islander Diaspora meeting, or if they are looking for People of Color meetings, they can email

    1. The Recovery Show says:

      From Mary: I wanted to let you and your listeners know that the Asian Pacific Islander Diaspora meeting is moving our time! Starting in June 2023, we will be meeting on Sunday at 6 PM Pacific, 9 PM Eastern Time. I hope that the earlier time will make it easier for more folks to join us. Please email us at for the meeting link and password.

  3. Mary says:

    Thanks for having me on the show Spencer!

  4. Patrick B says:

    Thank you for focusing on this topic. While there are probably a myriad of reasons there are few members of color in recovery meetings, we all can do what we can to make all who come to our rooms feel welcomed and accepted.

    You mentioned about listening to a talk by a mother and son about using the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts in their interpersonal relationships. Do you have a link to that talk?

    Patrick B.

    1. The Recovery Show says:

      I found the recording of this 2 hour workshop by Anu and Alex on the “Recovery Radio Network” podcast.

      You can also listen to their indidividual stories:

  5. Bonnie says:

    A thank you to both of you, and a shout out to Mary, for this enlightening, and very important piece of information on diversity and discrepancy! At the beginning of the pandemic, when George Floyd was brutally, publicly murdered, and my son is a man of color (I identify as a woman of color because of my religion), I was asked not to wear a hat on zoom that said “make racism wrong again“ by my home women’s group, all white. As you can tell, that sat very wrong with me because it was not an outside issue for me. There have been a couple of times over the past 10 years with this white women’s group, where I have felt silenced and not welcomed , including when we had gun violence in our community (12 children/people killed!) in 2018, but it was “an outside issue” to talk about guns, which I figured out are sacred to white people.
    All that to say, I truly appreciate the conversation, the readings, the tradition, the concept, and the badass approach to making it safe for all people.

    1. Mary says:

      Hi Bonnie, I’m sorry that the members of your meeting weaponized the traditions to try to control you. This kind of behavior is exactly what I’m talking about. Sadly this has been experienced by many BIPOC in recovery, including me. And some choose not to come back, ever. I have been told so many ridiculous things in the “name” of Al-Anon by other members. Thankfully, I can take what I like and leave the rest.

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