INDIGENOUS: Recovery based upon the Native American Wellbriety model. Coping with addiction involves ridding the body of the toxins that have been an escape for an extended period of time. A Forever Recovery’s Indigenous path focuses on those toxins as a way to get rid of addiction. Instead of seeing alcohol or drugs as the problem, this philosophy sees them as a symptom of a deeper issue.
“A year ago I was sitting in the airport waiting for this program to come pick me up, wanting to die,” said John A. at A Forever Recovery’s annual reunion picnic. “Wanting to run. Because I don’t know how to deal with life on my own. I realized finally that I wasn’t going to just be able to stay sober by having a good job and having things in my life. Because all that means nothing if I’m not happy on the inside.”
The indigenous philosophy believes in the Four Laws of Change: change is from within; in order for development to occur, it must be preceded by a vision; a great learning must take place; you must create a Healing Forest. To those who have never heard of this program, “creating a Healing Forest” may sound silly, but it is a model for overcoming addiction. The diagram shows trees labeled as “alcoholic”, “drug abuser”, “prison”, “co-dependency” and others, rooted in fear, shame, guilt and anger. These roots are the key to overcoming addiction.
“This place changed my life,” said Tara, a graduate of A Forever Recovery. “It saved my life. I would say it gave me a second chance, but it didn’t really. It was like the fourth, the fifth, the sixth chance”
Just as Alcoholics Anonymous is rooted in looking to an undefined higher power, so is the Wellbriety program. The White Bison Philosophy states that all Native people believe in a Supreme Being. With that being undefined the way it is, it opens up the possibility for clients to explore that recovery method without identifying with a particular religion.
“I tell real people outside that, ‘okay is not okay’,” said Adam, a graduate of A Forever Recovery. “I work really hard on myself every single day because I want to be able to come back here to you guys (clients at AFR) –people like me –and tell you that once you get out of here, your program is all you have and you’ve got to work it. I take it as seriously as possible.”
The programs these clients learn throughout their time at A Forever Recovery are crucial to their maintained sobriety. That is why the Five Tracks offered at the facility give those who attend a much better chance at success –they can choose the road that best fits who they are.