'This was something we've been waiting for': SRC creates new meetings for women and gender diverse students

The Student Recovery Community (SRC) has added a new meeting specifically for women and gender diverse students to its programming.

The new meetings, held every other Monday between 7:00pm and 8:00pm over Zoom, are inclusive of all recovery pathways and allow women and gender diverse students to express themselves more freely while sharing their recovery journeys.

Two SRC members, Sophia and Amy, whose names have been changed to protect their privacy and from facing stigma, organize and run the new meetings.

“Sometimes you just want to zero in more on the personal stuff because people experience addiction differently depending on their gender,” said Sophia.

The pair comes up with three topics each week, sometimes referring to previous SRC topics or their personal recovery journeys, and take turns hosting the meetings. At each meeting, they also open the floor up for discussion to allow anyone to bring up a topic of their own choice.

“We really want people to be able to share something that is kind of new to them and let them explore their own feelings in the meeting,” Amy said.

Shared experiences also help build a safe environment for specific topics to be discussed more easily, such as the challenges women and gender diverse people face when accessing healthcare to start recovery.

“We aren't feeling like we have to explain ourselves more because maybe our experience isn't as clear to others to understand,” Amy said.

“Even from people who have been in [the] community before and started attending these meetings, and our new people, they all generally had the same sentiment of, ‘we needed this,’ ‘this was something we've been waiting for’,” she added.

Both Amy and Sophia hope the SRC will have a dedicated space on campus one day.

“Hopefully, having a dedicated space also means that people are more comfortable coming in and out of that space and sharing within that space which I think would prompt more people to come,” Sophia said.

Since their first meeting, the co-facilitators have noticed new people joining the Zoom calls. The virtual format also made the meetings more accessible, as students can join from anywhere and with complete anonymity if they choose.

“I was so proud to see that this message had reached at least one new person, nevermind seeing a couple,” Amy said.