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 … Continued
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.
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.
When I sobered up I started to learn about my native culture and traditions such as the sacred medicines: tobacco, sage, cedar and sweet grass, and the seven grandfather teachings: honesty, love, humility, courage, respect, wisdom and truth. These are the same principles as in AA. Today I want these traditions to be a part of my life.
God made the universe in a way that didn’t leave things to be a secret. Everything is either in harmony or out of harmony with the principles, laws and values of natural law. Inside every human being is the innate knowledge of your own well-being – knowledge of how to be a well human being. You inherently know what to do. The only thing remaining is choice.
Within us is a sanctuary. And in that sanctuary is an altar. And that’s the living flame of the Creator that lives in each one of us. It’s not in anything outside. Jesus said it pretty well: “The kingdom of heaven is within.” And so the first issue at hand is, how do we take responsibility for the ground that we stand upon?
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.