Somalis struggling with alcoholism find a lifeline at local mosques



In the midst of her struggle with alcoholism, a local 20-year-old Somali woman didn’t know where to find help. She was overwhelmed with guilt while attending mosque for religious observances.

“That’s a feeling you tend to feel when you’re in a situation that you shouldn’t be in,” said the woman, who asked not to be named because of the stigma substance abuse carried in the Muslim community.

Alcohol abuse carries stigma in practically all communities. But for many Muslims, that is often magnified because Islam prohibits alcohol consumption of any kind.

The same place that caused the woman deep shame later offered her a lifeline. She noticed a group of people meeting in the mosque regularly to support each other. Soon, she was attending the meetings and sharing her own experiences with alcoholism among a group of mostly strangers grappling with the same issues.

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