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The Problem with Alcoholism on Turtle Island

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Alcoholism has been a problem for many years on Turtle Island. Turtle Island is the name of North America according to some indigenous groups based on a Lenape story of the “Great Turtle” which was first recorded in archive between 1678 and 1680 by Jasper Danckaerts. The story has been shared by the Northeastern woodland tribes, most notably the Iroquois.

Since the pilgrims first started arriving in the Americas alcohol has been a major difficulty with Native Americans. Studies show that 12% of deaths within the Native American community are alcohol related. The studies go on to state that traffic collisions, liver disease, homicide and suicide. Alcoholism is more present in men within the Native American community.

An old Cherokee Wives’ tale about the “Good Wolf and the Bad Wolf” (short version)

The Cherokee Grandfather says to the Grandson, “Do you know the story about the war going on inside of us?” The Grandson reply’s, “No. Who is the war with?” The Grandfather says, “The war is between a good wolf and the bad wolf.” The Grandson reply’s, “Which one wins?” The Grandfather reply’s, “The one you feed my son.”

The reason I tell this old wives’ tale is because the problem with alcoholism could be very easily associated with this story. As we grow up we’re never taught how to deal with emotions and we lose touch with our true spirit. The emotions, trials and tribulations we grow accustomed to experience as we get older become the callas that blocks us off from our spirits. Once we pick up the drink, we come to know it as a solution to not feel. As we repetitively use alcohol as a solution for the inability to deal with emotion, our brain becomes dependent on the solution, causing alcoholism.

What is the Solution for Alcoholism?

Alcohol has been around for thousands of years. Alcoholism has been identified for the last couple centuries. There have been several solutions presented and only some of them take. Many go to a rehabilitation center for alcoholism. Their family’s hang onto hope thinking this is the solution only to find their loved one relapses and gives up. There has been one solution that has presented success called Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous or A.A. as it’s call in short form, has become a staple of sobriety. This makes a lot of sense, in the light that rehab for alcohol may get you sober, but it won’t keep you sober. Where Alcoholics anonymous has seen, some success is through what some may call “moral psychology”. In the words of one member, “It’s like going to therapy, but much quicker.”

The solution goes back to where I explained about the driver for alcoholism within the Native American cultures and other cultures as well. The inability to deal with past and present emotions presents a major problem when the bottle is sought as a form of medication for them. The steps Alcoholics Anonymous presents allows someone to work out their past and present resentments and a process for dealing and coping without the use of alcohol.

Is this the only solution?

No. there are several solutions like cognitive behavioral therapy, and other forms of therapy that work. The only reason I bring AA up is because it’s free. However, the main message here is that one must get back in touch with their spirit again. They need to remove all the ties to the past to essentially be reborn. After years, of thickening the layer to the callas over the spirit, it needs to be set free. The only way top free it is by working on all the clutter of the past and learning a process for coping without alcohol.

In many cases a detox for alcohol or 30-day rehab may be necessary. However, the message is that if you’re struggling with alcoholism you need to ask yourself, “How will you stay stopped?” This message comes from a recovered alcoholic himself. When I say “recovered” it doesn’t mean “cured”. It means I have found a solution for living in which I don’t need alcohol as a solution anymore. It’s like, a sick man who found medicine or a diabetic taking insulin. A solution is available if you need it and anything is worth a shot if you suffer from alcoholism.

My name is Peter D. I work at a Men’s Addiction and Alcoholism Treatment Center. I won’t promote the name I only wish to promote the message. God Bless us all.

~Peter D.

 

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