Substance abuse and interrelated mental health issues have had, and continue to have, a strong negative impact on Aboriginal and First Nations communities throughout Canada. Whether on the reservation or on the streets of Toronto, First Nations men and women who could be vital to their families and communities are struggling with drugs and alcohol.…
The first time I smudged, I felt a connection to something I can’t fully understand. When I was surrounded by the smoke from the burning medicines, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. It felt like going home to a place I’d never been before. I can’t explain it − I just felt better.
The Aboriginal way of treating alcohol and substance abuse encompasses more than the biological and experiential explanation provided by mainstream medicine. Traditional healers perceive alcohol as a spirit that has been destructive to Aboriginal ways of life. It is believed that the alcohol “spirits” continually wage war within the spiritual arena and this is where the healing needs to start.
We participate in a cycle of seasons. Every four years when it looks like everything has turned to crap, it really hasn’t. It’s part of the natural growth process for each of us to go through a winter season. One season is not better or worse thanthe other. Each season has its purpose. So we should not dread winter. The winter time is a time for renewal.