Quick Exit

SoBar – Not So Straight Up aims to reduce alcohol-related harm within the LGBTIQ+ communities in the ACT through increased awareness of the health and wellbeing impacts of alcohol and to challenge the social norms around drinking behaviour and alcohol culture.

ACT Health has funded this two-year project as part of the Healthy Canberra Grants Program. The project will help sexually and gender diverse people and people with HIV reduce the harms associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs by providing a range of relevant support services.

We work with our communities in a supportive and non-judgmental way, whether their interest is to be more informed about alcohol use, be able to use more safely or to get support to reduce or stop use.

Health promotion and communications

SoBar is online with both an Instagram profile and Facebook page where we share all our tips and tricks for navigating the world sober or considering it, keeping your cool if cravings hit and finding like-minded humans to mingle with, either online or in physical proximity appropriate circumstances.

SMART Recovery

Focusing on harm minimisation and reduction rather than suggesting you need to give alcohol away entirely; we’re now delivering Self Management And Recovery Training (SMART) meeting groups for LGBTIQ+ Canberrans to address any risky drinking behaviour they may be indulging in. The SMART Recovery model is utilised to address why and how to foster a healthy relationship with alcohol that suits your own life goals and sense of wellbeing.

Meetings are held online through Zoom and face to face in the Pride Hub, located at Havelock House, 85 Northbourne Avenue, Turner on Tuesdays at 5:30 pm. Registration is essential, please email [email protected] to secure your place or visit https://notsostraightup.org/ to find out more information. To register for online Zoom sessions please click here.

Because we love a community success story, there is also an opportunity for program participants to join our peer navigators, and they will have the opportunity to self-nominate for development opportunities including becoming SMART Recovery Facilitators themselves.


We’re conducting in-depth research into why we drink like we do, both as a nation and as our unique cohort of communities. This research will assist us in aiding in policy development for LGBTIQ+ health needs, resource development for support services and messaging around alcohol and how to harness its positive benefits while avoiding its pitfalls.

We would love for you to share your experience with one of the below surveys, we have one for those of you that no longer drink also as your insights are equally valuable! If you would like to add your voice to ours, please follow the below links.

SoBar – a pop-up bar

We have a pop-up bar that serves boutique non-alcoholic drinks, and this is available at all our community events. We created SoBar (showcased at CBR Fair Day 2019) as a vehicle to challenge traditional bar culture and to open the conversation on how great it can be to be offered a different option to the usual alcoholic suspects and remind us that we actually get a buzz from the company we surround ourselves with rather than just what’s in our glass.


LGBTIQ+ [Ai] Awareness and Inclusivity Training

Organisations are realising that being LGBTIQ+ inclusive can provide their staff and services users’ with healthier outcomes. It is not uncommon for organisations engaging with LGBTIQ+ communities to feel like this is new territory. Meridian in partnership with A Gender Agenda (AGA) is able to provide professional and engaging training in order to help your staff and service users embrace diversity.

We collect data via a pre-session questionnaire we send to all participants prior to delivery. This is a useful tool used to gauge the number of participants, the existing level of LGBTIQ+ awareness of the group and provides an opportunity for participants to ask anonymous questions, all of which can determine the structure of the sessions, which are typically 2 hours in duration.

Training outcomes include:

  • Understand and recognise diversity within the human experience.
  • Explore evolving concepts of Sex, Gender and Sexuality.
  • Gain confidence in the use of language and terminologies around LGBTIQ people and communities. 
  • Identify and develop ways to enhance workplace inclusive practice and policy.
  • Focus on topics of learning and discussion specific to your organisational needs.

Get in touch with our team by email or phone to find out more about these training offers.



Other Support Services

Directions ACT
Direction’s focus has always been on addressing the needs of clients in a non-judgmental way and their service is available to anyone impacted by alcohol, drugs and other addictions, including those for whom abstinence is not the immediate goal.

Karralika Programs Inc. has been operating in the ACT for 40 years, supporting adults and their families in Canberra and surrounding regions through a range of alcohol and drug programs. “We exist to provide specialist end to end drug and alcohol services to support the needs of individuals, families and communities.”

CatholicCare (Canberra & Goulburn)
CatholicCare Canberra & Goulburn have been providing specialist Alcohol and Other Drug programs to the Canberra community for over 10 years. CatholicCare employ qualified Alcohol, Tobacco & other Drug workers who provide a professional, non-judgmental service following a harm minimisation approach.

Rainbow LGBTIQA+ AA Canberra
4pm Saturdays, Uniting Church, Corner of Fawkner & Farrer Streets, Braddon.

National Alcohol and Other Drug hotline –1800 250 015
A 24/7 free and confidential hotline for anyone being affected by alcohol or drugs – support includes counselling, advice and referral to local services.

Alcohol and Drug Services ACT
Canberra Health Services offers information, advice, referral, intake, assessment and support twenty-four hours a day.

Counselling Online
A free and confidential online service that provides 24/7 support to people across Australia affected by alcohol or drug use. Support includes online chat counselling, peer support forum, self-help tools and information articles.

Family Drug Help – 1300 660 068
Information, peer support and referral for family, friends and partners of people with a dependence on alcohol or other drugs.

Hello Sunday Morning
Changing Australia’s relationship with alcohol one Sunday at a time.




Meridian acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders both past and present.

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