Recovery the Native Way

A Client Reader

By:
Dr. Alf H. Walle, Erskine College

Published 2008

This book is written in the belief that many Native substance abusers suffer because their cultural heritage is being swept away or because they have lost contact with it. While Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide wonderful leadership to millions of people, they do not deal with the pain that can arise when cultures weaken and die or when people are cut off from their heritage. While not seeking to replace tools of recovery, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, this book deals with the fact that people often lose the ability to cope when their cultures are under attack. The resulting pain can lead to substance abusers. If strengthened, however, the traditions of a people can help people regain their sobriety. The example of Handsome Lake, a Native leader who lived many years ago, demonstrates the power of tradition. Handsome Lake was an alcoholic near death who, at the last possible moment, regained his sobriety and invented a method that helped the Iroquois people overcome their alcoholism and restore their culture. This strategy was made up of two parts (1) reaffirming and strengthening the culture and (2) living a sober life while undoing past wrongs. This book is written to how how Handsome Lake’s inspirational example can help today's Native people who seek recovery from substance abuse.

CONTENTS
PREFACE
PROLOGUE TO PART 1: A PUZZLING SITUATION
CHAPTER 1: THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY
CHAPTER 2: A PROUD TRADITION
CHAPTER 3: WHY ME?
PROLOGUE TO PART 2: CULTURAL DISTRESS AND INDIVIDUAL DYSFUNCTION
CHAPTER 4: DIVERSITY AND RECOVERY
CHAPTER 5: STRESS AND DYSFUNCTION
PROLOGUE TO PART 3: THE LEGACY OF HANDSOME LAKE
CHAPTER 6: THE TERROR FACING THE IROQUOIS
CHAPTER 7: HANDSOME LAKE: HERO OF THE IROQUOIS
CHAPTER 8: A PATH TOWARDS YOUR RECOVERY
CHAPTER 9: LANDMARKS OF THE PATH
PROLOGUE TO PART 4: DIFFERENT STRATEGIES OF RECOVERY
CHAPTER 10: HANDSOME LAKE AND SELF-HELP
CHAPTER 11: USING COUNSELORS AND THERAPISTS
APPENDIX: THE PATH AND LANDMARKS IN POSTER FORM