So in my early days of recovery I found a sort of meetings called “Wellbriety” and it changed my view of fellowship. I was introduced to it when I went to detox and it was a way to get out of detox if only for a couple hours. You see it takes a different perspective on AA, NA, CA and all those different types of Recovery Groups. This one is a Native or Indigenous view and reading the book “The Red Road to Wellbriety” is the equivalent to AA’s Bog Book. The meeting starts out with whom ever is facilitating it saying, “My Name is ______ and I am in Recovery” The reason to this is that we already know we have an addiction and we promptly admitted it. The term “Recovery” is a more positive aspect to healing. They can also read “The Daily Elders Meditations” pertaining to that particular day. They than explain that if woman are on their “moon time” they need not to smudge cause they are already doing a cleansing process that is far more greater than smudging, one thing as well, they are not to touch the smudging feather or sea shell. The meeting than goes into a smudging ceremony where each person can cleanse themselves with the help of the person holding the meeting. Everyone smudges different and there is there is no wrong way of doing it wrong. There are some pointers though that you can take into consideration and that would be to have your thoughts pure to healing, cleansing and understanding that this is ceremony and is sacred. After cleansing depending on which meeting you go into and there are varieties a simple one would be to start sharing… This to me is the cool part because not everyone is there just for alcoholism, they can be there for drug addiction, domestic violence, dual diagnoses, mental health, gambling, childhood trauma, inter-generational trauma etc……. It can involve anyone who wants to join so Indigenous and Non-Indigenous alike and the ages can range from couples, teens and elders. I believe Addiction has no barriers from one to another and each individual can help outside their addiction in some way and can learn from others stories. Sharing commences. Usually a meeting can last from an hour to two hours depending and ends with the Serenity Prayer.
There’s a book like I said called “Walking the Red Road to Wellbriety” and like the “Big Book” it explains, it teaches, it gives a little history behind this up and coming movement and gives some peoples stories. The one thing that really popped up in my mind about the whole issue was that Indians have noticed addiction long before the Big Book came out, like 200 years before and natives didn’t actually call it addictions but they knew there was a problem about liking certain things or situations to much and it would take their life in that different particular direction and out of their ancestry and moral values. The teachings were like the Big Book but they were passed orally and it was a movement that took the shape of a church called the shaker church. Interesting to say the least that Natives knew of this overwhelming experience before hand.
I know I am biased on what I am talking about here cause AA wasn’t so great to me in the past and I never knew my culture or traditions growing up so this was a sort of healing and bonding with those in a fellowship kind of way. I met one of my personal best friend through Wellbriety and I value her so much. It brings me peace and my higher power is my Creator. By doing this it has brought teachings of the sacred medicine wheel and how diverse those 4 parts actually are and the 4 distinguished parts represent our life. Below I will explain a little about how I was taught from an individual that was taught by Lee Brown himself which is a well known person for the work he does in regards to what I am healing about, A very knowledgeable person that I wish to learn from when I start to do my schooling in Merritt at NVIT (Nicola Valley Institute of Technology)
Here’s a little about the Medicine Wheel
The Medicine Wheel has been with us for a very very long time and it represents 4 different areas in our lives. There are many interpretations of animals and views within the 4 sacred sides but I am going to show you the way I was taught.
First we have the 4 colors that represent the 4 original races on earth. White (North) for Europeans, Red (East) for North American Indians, Yellow (South) for Asians and Black (West) (Dark blue sometimes depending on what Medicine Wheel your looking at) for African Natives.
Now each race what given a gift and a guardianship to possess, protect and share with the world.
The Europeans (North) were given the guardianship of Fire, Thomas Edison is white mans fire (The Light bulb) one of their contributions in the world. Their gift is is “Movement” and what that entails is they are allowed to move about the land (Medicine Wheel) to each and every part of the medicine wheel to fill in what needed to be filled.
The Native Indians (East) were given the guardianship of Earth, to grow foods(plants) almost everything grown came from north and south america, after the grown food was shared with the world there was a spike in humans around the world. They were given the gift of Vision, to see into the future and prophecies (Hopi people) Dreams and spiritual experiences, if we have special dreams they are for us and we don’t need to share them.
The Asians (South) had the guardianship of of Wind, the teachings of the sky and breathing techniques (yoga the science of breathe and breathing) they were given the gift of Time, to look forward and backward in time.
The Africans (West) were given the guardianship of Water, It was Dr. Charles Drew who was an African American that discovered blood plasma and it could be used to save lives, he may have looked white but his roots was African and their guardianship was Balance, to bring Balance to the world.
More of the Medicine Wheel entailed of how they were split up.
North represented the White Buffalo, to face problems head on or goes head first into the storm and to rest and regenerate and Fire for the smudging ceremony and Winter.
West represented the Eagle which the eagle is closest to the creator and helps bring the message to the creator (why we use the eagle feather in a smudging ceremony) and it represents the Earth in a smudging ceremony(sage) it also represent Spring, new beginnings.
South represents the Mouse, the grounding and humility of how we should be. its the life (Smoke or Air in a smudging ceremony), Its the Summer, the growth, seeding and sun shining.
And the West represents the Bear, the strength in what we need, the Fall time, harvest and thanks, its protection courage and reason. Its the Water (the sea shell in the smudging ceremony)
I know this is quite a bit to read but its our traditions and culture and I hope you walk away with a little more knowledge knowing what I’ve told you. like I said there are many variations of the medicine wheel depending on where your from and all are true, this is only one of many.