In this episode, I’m in conversation with the wonderful Lazarus Letcher, a writer, scholar, and musician, who is currently pursuing a PhD in American Studies, with a focus on folklore, Black liberation, and queer and trans studies. Their work in the sober space focusses largely on intersectional approaches to addiction and recovery, which means taking into account how identity impacts substance use.
While I was doing my research for this interview I looked into statistics around rates of substance abuse among different communities – which confirmed something that I had long suspected: that, as a rule, the more oppressed or marginalized a people are, the higher the rates of substance abuse disorder. For example, Native American communities have the highest rates for addiction in the US, with LGBTQIA+ communities having a 30% incidence of substance abuse versus around 9% in the general population.
We get into all of this, as well as the work Lazarus is doing in an area called “Peace Studies” – a syllabus that looks at the work of grass roots and indigenous liberation movements throughout history and shows how disparate groups fighting for social and environmental justice are in fact all connected. In this episode we discuss:
-Using alcohol to perform a toxic hyper-masculinity.
-How 12-step fellowships are evolving to become more inclusive.
-Why the LGBTQIA+ community has such high rates of substance abuse disorders.
-The problem with the term “minority stress.”
-Why we all do better when we all do better.
-Racism and colonialism as a cause of addiction.
-How they think about “decolonization” and how we can enact this in our individual lives.
-Their work teaching “Peace Studies” – and what this means.
-Why we deserve a world where we all get what we desire.
-Staying sober to spite white supremacy and live their best life!