Equity and inclusion are important topics, and during this conversation on the ARCast podcast, which took place on Pride Day, Miss Violet talked about the training ARC team members had on these subjects.
Equity and Inclusion Training
Some staff members at ARC requested more training to better understand equity and inclusion and their role in it. The workshop and training are designed to help staff members better understand the unique needs of people within the queer community.
DJ was also a guest on the podcast this day, celebrating 13 years of sobriety. He struggled quite a bit in school, and due to a lack of inclusion, DJ often felt isolated. Around the age of 13 or 14, he began dabbling with crystal meth, which he said became his best friend. DJ was able to bond with it, and it was always there for him. It was a rollercoaster of hell. Crystal meth often got DJ into legal trouble, which he’s worked to put behind him.
He’s quick to state that he tries hard to be a better person each day. “Sometimes I fail, and sometimes I succeed.” He’s gone from being a five-count felon to where he is today, succeeding at staying sober.
One of the things DJ mentions is that he made a pact with the universe that if he did not have to do hard time, he would devote his life to service work. That’s exactly where he is now, and he’s thankful for that opportunity.
LGBTQ Community and Lack of Equity
There is a significant gap in equity in the LGBTQ community; LGBTQ people are at a much higher risk for violence and substance use, and there is a lack of equity in healthcare. It’s vital for people within this community to have a feeling of safety as they work through substance abuse. A great deal of what ARC is doing for this community is creating more security for people within the program. Sometimes, this is the first opportunity a person has to feel safe.
DJ, who went through treatment, understands the importance of safety. He says there’s ample support at ARC, noting that really understanding therapists and case management are available. He believes that ARC is one of the most nurturing and loving campuses he’s experienced.
What Advice Do You Have?
When asked about any advice available, DJ offers insight into what young people can expect. He says, among other things, that if you are young, you will be lost for a good portion of your youth until you find the goal that you are working towards. He says that this is a big part of his sobriety success is that he is continuously working towards a goal.
For those who are going through their life right now feeling bullied and unsupported, recognizing that this portion of your life is a small part of it and that there is an amazing future available to you is critical. “it’s really finding your passion and drive to what you like. Keep that goal in mind, hold it close to your heart, and go after it with everything you have,” he says.