Culture as Healing

Months ago, my life hit rock bottom - I was so deep into my alcoholism. My health quickly deteriorated and I completely isolated from my family and friends due to shame and guilt. I truly became powerless over my addiction and I lost control of my life.

I ended up in detox and in the ER twice, where I was referred to Aaron, who ran the Medicine Wheel Group at Atlohsa. I was in desperate need of support after getting clean from the detox centre. I started attending the Tuesday night meetings, where I slowly started to open up about myself and my struggle with alcoholism. After my mother’s passing last year, I felt very alone which led my alcoholism to spiral out of control.

But I learned that the opposite of addiction is connection! I am so grateful for the new connections I was creating within the group. I felt my sobriety strengthening! I found the group dynamic and Aaron’s words of encouragement to be a comfort to me. I could openly share in the circle without worrying about judgement, and it felt like a safe space for me. I enjoyed when Aaron smudged sage, followed by him singing and drumming – connecting to the Creator. This was the first time I’ve ever been completely clean and sober – this time felt different... in the most positive way. I found myself reading the Native Elder Meditations every morning on my own. It started my days off into a fresh direction, bringing me peace and clarity. I’ve also been studying the twelve steps by reading the literature Aaron provided. I truly have been connecting to my higher power – the Creator!

I recently completed treatment and I have strong goals to help continue on my sober path. I’m going to attend another rehab treatment, Rainbow Lodge up in Manitoulin Island, where I’ll connect to the Creator on a deeper level. Until then, I am attending Recovery Support with Westover for the next nineteen weeks. In six months, I’ll be attending Stage Two by going back to Westover for another week in treatment. This will strengthen my sobriety even more.

Once again, I’m incredibly grateful for being able to be a part of the Medicine Wheel group, it has helped me immensely and I’ll continue to attend the Tuesday night meetings. This has become part of my recovery plan going forward. Addiction is a lifelong chronic disease, so I must continue attending meetings and reaching out for support, for as long as Atlohsa provides it. Thank you."

- Participant, Medicine Wheel

Can you help support the healing of community members?

Medicine Wheel is just one of Atlohsa’s programs where the reconnection to cultural identity is assisting participants on their lifelong wellness journey. It takes a village to offer all these programs and services that support, educate, and re-integrate. Please contribute to our good work.