Wellbriety is a Recovery movement created by and for Native peoples. It comes from the White Bison organization, which has its home base in Colorado Springs, Colorado. For the leaders of this movement, Wellbriety is a conceptualization of recovery beyond simple abstinence, into healing and balance in other areas: the mind, the body, the spirit, and the emotions. The Wellbriety vision also includes thriving culturally and within the community. According to two of its leaders, Don Coyhis and Richard Simonelli, “non-Native recovery approaches often look at addiction as an individual disease, ignoring the social, political, or economic roots of addiction. The indigenous experience adds a dimension of acknowledging sociopolitical causes without removing an individual’s need to do the hard work it takes to heal. This is new, culturally specific thinking that can also add to the field of mainstream recovery knowledge.”
Wellbriety, along with White Bison, believes in these four Law 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
The Twelve Steps are understood as follows:
Step 1: (Honesty) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that we had lost control of our lives.
Step 2: (Hope) We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could help us regain control.
Step 3: (Faith) We made a decision to ask for help from a Higher Power and others who understand.
Step 4: (Courage) We stopped and thought about our strengths and weaknesses and thought about ourselves.
Step 5: (Integrity) We admitted to the Great Spirit, to ourselves, and to another person the things we thought were wrong about ourselves.
Step 6: (Willingness) We are ready, with the help of the Great Spirit, to change.
Step 7: (Humility) We humbly ask a Higher Power and our friends to help us change.
Step 8: (Forgiveness) We made a list of people who were hurt by our drinking and want to make up for these hurts.
Step 9: (Justice) We are making up to those people wherever we can, except when to do so would hurt them more.
Step 10: (Perseverance) We continue to think about our strengths and weaknesses and when we are wrong we say so.
Step 11: (Spiritual Awareness) We pray and think about ourselves, praying only for the strength to do what is right.
Step 12: (Service) We try to help other alcoholics and to practice these principles in everything we do.
Please visit http://www.whitebison.org or http://www.wellbriety.com to learn more. You can also purchase The Red Road to Wellbriety: In the Native American Way, available through various online vendors. Finally, http://12wisdomsteps.com provides interpretations of the twelve steps across eight wisdom traditions: Buddhism, Christianity, Cosmology, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Native American, and Taosim.