First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Recovery – Helping Those in Need

Substance abuse and interrelated mental health issues have had, and continue to have, a strong negative impact on First Nations, Metis, and Inuit (FNMI) communities throughout Canada. Whether on the reservation or on the streets of Toronto, FNMI people who could be vital to their families and communities are struggling with drugs and alcohol. Many of these people, young and old, attribute their battles with substance abuse to issues of trauma such as:

  • Systemic abuse and discrimination
  • Alcoholism/addiction in their families of origin
  • Poverty
  • Intergenerational and childhood trauma
  • Loss of traditions and attempted erasure of cultural identity by the dominant culture
  • Tragic events and abuses such as Residential Schools

While Premier Wynne has officially apologized to FNMI communities, words only go so far; there is a long way to go for those who have suffered generations upon generations of cultural and physical genocide. With a past informed by such pain, FNMI communities often face barriers to moving forward. Substance abuse is one such barrier.

Addiction Recovery to Meet the Needs of Indigenous Peoples

While there are proven strategies and methods around getting sober and staying that way, it’s important to acknowledge the unique experience and issues of concern to FNMI people when it comes to substance abuse recovery. Understanding that people who identify as First Nations, Metis, or Inuit belong to a systemically marginalized group, and coming from a recovery model based on an anti-oppressive framework, ensures our recovery program at Renascent can provide an excellent treatment option for FNMI people.

While some government-sponsored addiction recovery programs for FNMI Canadians are strictly for those who identify as Indigenous, at Renascent, we have woven programming into our addiction recovery services to better meet the needs of FNMI youth, women, people with mental health issues, and other people of proud heritage who are struggling with the destructive effects of alcohol and drug addictions.

Abstinence-Based Approach to Recovery with a Healing Difference

Our abstinence based approach to substance abuse recovery is founded on the Twelve Steps philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous, whose principles are entirely compatible with FNMI teachings. Renascent facilitates recovery, education and prevention relating to alcohol and drug addictions through a full range of individual and group programs as well as services for individuals and families. Taking a spiritual approach to recovery as well as a very practical evidence-based approach, has helped over 45,000 people recover in the past four decades – and helped countless families heal from the searing effects of drug abuse on their lives.

Our fully certified counsellors have lived experience with addictions and embrace a strengths-based approach to recovery wherein the client’s core abilities and beliefs are true assets to recovery. Thus, we welcome First Nations, Metis, and Inuit clients who wish to integrate their culture, traditional healing methods, spiritual practices, and beliefs into the healing process.

Your pathway to recovery begins at Renascent. Call to find out how.

About the Authors

Renascent Staff
The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery – with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.