‘A look at the Indian experience since World War II reveals that a recovery, healing, and Wellbriety movement based in a return to the principles, laws, and values of traditional Native culture is vibrantly alive in Native communities today.
For many Native Americans, addictions recovery signifies a personal journey from intervention, to treatment, to conventional recovery, and then on to wellness. The process begins when something intervenes in a person’s pattern of drinking or “drugging.” One term for this is “significant event”.
It continues when the pattern is treated with any of the treatment methodologies known today. This leads to the phenomena of being “in recovery.” But for those following the Wellbriety movement, a further journey to wellness is understood to follow.
What is this new term, “Wellbriety”? It means to be both sober and well.
It is a translation into English of a word from the language of the Passamaquoddy nation of Maine given by an Elder in the mid-1990s. It means achieving sobriety and abstinence from substance abuse and misuse without stopping there.
It means going beyond “clean and sober” by entering a journey of healing and balance - mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
For many Native Americans, it also means recovering culturally. Return to the culture is a vision embraced by many American Indians as integral with addictions recovery. It signifies a desire to live through the best attributes of traditional Native cultures, while standing firmly on the ground of contemporary life.
Non-Native recovery approaches often look at addiction as an individual disease, ignoring the social, political, or economic roots of addiction.
The indigenous experience adds a dimension of acknowledging sociopolitical causes without removing an individual’s need to do the hard work it takes to heal. This is new, culturally specific thinking that can also add to the field of mainstream recovery knowledge.
The modern recovery journey begins just after World War II when over 25,000 Native American veterans were discharged from the American military and went home to their reservation communities.’
Check out the original article for references and more information. I’ll talk more about The Wellbriety Movement later this week.