East African Women and Recovery

You are unique, worthy, and resilient. Let’s explore recovery together and make Women’s History!

I am an East African woman in long term recovery. What this means to me is that I get to be the mother my children deserve to have in their life. It means not being defined by the shame and stigma that my community/family instills on me for being in recovery.

We didn’t know how to navigate through western society and this new found freedom so we thought we had to change everything about ourselves to fit into it. Oftentimes, addiction and substance use disorders are something that aren’t discussed at home. When girls become women, they may have had a few binge drinking episodes, hospital visits or have gone to a detox center. During this time and phase, family members aren’t aware of what’s happening and miscommunication increases within the family. 

There are bruises on her face. Oh, I fell and tripped” she tells them. When what really happened was she was jumped by a few American born females at the club because their boyfriends were staring at her. She doesn’t come home for a few nights and leaves her children with her mother. The mother is endlessly worried about the safety of her daughter. Is she alive, dead, in a ditch somewhere?

The mother doesn’t tell anyone else what’s happening because of the shame she will get from other mothers (neighbors, tribal members)  for having a daughter “like that”. Then the daughter comes home hungover smelling of booze and tells her mother “I was at work” and falls into the bed. Her mother doesn’t say anything and makes prayers to God to help her daughter. This becomes the family secret and this cycle of addiction and secrecy continues. 

Farhia Budul

I am here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be a secret anymore and you don’t have to change yourself to fit into society’s standards. That we East African women can RECOVER too! I know you are tired, anxious, and probably scared. I was there too and found recovery. I am here to tell you that recovery is possible for you too.

At Minnesota Recovery Connection, I am here to help you discover what your recovery looks like to you. You are unique, worthy, and resilient. Let’s explore recovery together and make Women’s History! Let’s make recovery a lifelong journey. I look forward to connecting with you soon. 


Farhia Budul, Certified Peer Recovery Specialist

Farhia Budul is Manager of East African Programs at Minnesota Recovery Connection and can be reached at farhia.budul@minnesotarecovery.org

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