Wellbriety Programs for Re-Entry Support and Relapse Prevention

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1 Wellbriety Programs for Re-Entry Support and Relapse Prevention Building a community network for supporting those in recovery who are returning from prison or treatment centers Purpose: Provide a relapse prevention and recovery support program for Native Americans who are completing treatment, returning to the community from incarceration, or who have been working on their recovery journey using traditional method or 12 Step methods and who wish to provide support to others experiencing the same Why is Community Support Necessary? Recovery is not just staying sober. It is a way of experiencing life through new eyes, new thoughts, and a new spirit. Reestablishing one s life following treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, or following incarceration requires a community effort. Without the support of a knowledgable family and community, many who try return to healthy, productive lives find themselves frustrated by the need for job, training, education, housing, transportation, mental health care or medical support, social services, spiritual and cultural support or connections with others who value sobriety and healthy life ways. Cultural and Spiritual Support for Recovery and Re-Entry Wellbriety Programs provide a network of supportive programs for individuals within the prison system, in treatment centers, half-way houses, pre-release centers and in the community. These programs provide resources, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual support for Native Americans who are looking for a traditional alternative fore recovery support and relapse prevention. For many Native American people the path to healing is found through traditional cultural and spiritual practices. Healing processes might include talking circles, healing circles and traditional ceremonies. Ceremonial activities have a distinctly spiritual focus, and the incorporation of intergenerational activities that include both elders and children in the healing process are essential for the well-being of men and women in Native communities. Re-entry and relaps prevention also require the addition of family and community support. The Wellbriety Programs foster emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual healing.

2 Reentry Begins in the Prison Environment: Wellbriety for Prisons is designed to provide a continuous recovery support system for people who are in prison, those who are transitioning back to community life and those who have returned home. The consistency of the program, the cultural and spiritual foundations and the social support that is built into the program will enable individuals to develop and maintain healthy new thinking patterns. Phase I: Programs for Re-Entry within the Prison Setting Medicine Wheel and 12 Step curriculum: A 12 Step recovery program designed to meet the spiritual and cultural needs of Native Americans Therapeutic Communities: A community approach to recovery using traditional practices and based upon the 14 Competencies fortherapeutic Communities designed by Dr. David Kressel Fatherhood Initiative: A traditional approach to learning principles and strategies for effective fathering for Native American men who have been separated from their families by prison or treatment.

3 Phase II: Re-Entry Continues in the Pre-Release and Half-way House Environment Medicine Wheel and 12 Step (Circles of Recovery): A 12 Step recovery program designed to meet the spiritual and cultural needs of Native Americans, facilitated by Firestarters who are peers in the Native American recovery community. Sweat lodge at the Prison Warrior Down: A community support program for relapse prevention that helps individuals find work, get back into school, connect with emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual resources. Peers in the Native American recovery community provide support as recovery coaches to help the individual find the resources needed while gaining confidence in the recovery process. Families of Tradition: A facilitated support program to help families learn to work together following the incarceration or treatment of one of its members. Many of these programs are sponsored by family and social services agencies to help reunite families and reintegrate children who have been in foster care. Phase III: Returning to the Home Community Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps (Circles of Recovery): Firestarters in local communities have set up Circles of Recovery that are available to those returning from prison or treatment centers. Native American recovery community. Warrior Down: A community support program for relapse prevention that helps individuals find work, get back into school, connect with emotional, mental,physical, and spiritual resources. Peers in the Native American recovery community provide support as recovery coaches to help the individual find the resources needed while gaining confidence in the recovery process. Community Circle of Recovery Wellbriety Drum Traditional Healing Approaches: Communities are encouraged to invite the Elders and spiritual advisors to participate in the Recovery support and relapse prevention processes. In addition, many communities have institued re-naming ceremonies to help reintegrate people into the community. Sweatlodge and pipe ceremonies are often used to support recovery and prevent relapse. Wellbriety Drums serve to inspire and help participants make the commitment to Wellbriety, a sober and healthy lifestyle that is balance emotional, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

4 Firestarter Training (Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps) The Firestarter Training is designed to teach individuals how to facilitate a cultural approach to recovery, as peers, using the Medicine Wheel and 12 Step curriculum. In addition, participants learn how to provide referral and support services as Recovery Coaches. The Medicine Wheel and 12 Step program was developed to provide a culturally appropriate 12 Step program for Native American people. This program was developed by White Bison, based upon Teachings of the Medicine Wheel, the Cycle of Life and the Four Laws of Change. The program includes workbooks and videos: 9 videos for women and the 7 videos for men. The Medicine Wheel and 12 Step program is designed in a series of modules that enable people to meet their individual needs. Participants watch a video that explains Medicine Wheel teachings and apply them to the Steps. In addition, participants share their insights and experiences in a talking circle. They also learn how to mind map their own innate knowledge around these teachings and then apply that knowledge to their daily lives and decision making processes. Steps Finding Your Relationship with others Steps Finding the Wisdom of the Elders Steps Finding Yourself Steps Finding the Creator Wellbriety Drum Provides Spiritual and Cultural Support Peer Led Training - Those who have been there share their experiences Talking Circles Provide Spiritual and Emotional Support Sweatlodge experiences foster cultural and spiritual healing

5 Therapeutic Communities in Prisons Settings The Positive Warrior is a unique program that can be used as a resource for therapeutic communities in prison settings that include Native Americans. This program is designed to introduce traditional Native American values, cultural and spiritual teachings that facilitate healing and cognitive reframing. In the program, these concepts are illustrated by values from a number of Alaska Native communities as expressed by Elders from those communities. In addition, the program introduces teachings from the spiritually-based Medicine Wheel and 12 Steps curriculum. This program was developed through a cooperative effort by the Akeela, Inc, White Bison, Inc, and the Alaska Department of Corrections. Why The Positive Warrior is Important Many who have been in prison or who are just leaving treatment centers have forgotten, or never really understood, their traditional community values and traditions. Part of the healing process is re-learning and re-claiming the significance of those values. In addition, the program addresses thinking patterns that are part of the core curriculum used in the Wellbriety Movement. Finally, the bridge between the values of the therapeutic treatment community and those of the home community are facilitated through the 14 Competencies for Therapeutic Communities designed by Dr. David Kressel. Lessons are based upon these Competencies. Finding the Values for Community Learning the ways of the Elders Examining Thinking Patterns Understanding values Teachings are Grounded in Tradition and Culture The teachings of the Elders and the Clan Mothers provide wisdom and guidance. The spiritual practices provide pathways to meaning and purpose in life. Cultural activities create a social and emotional foundation for reconnecting to family and community. Participants reestablish a sense of belonging and identity. Culturally appropriate aftercare and re-entry programs provide opportunities for Native Americans to reconnect to their communities and to create a healthy, balanced life.

6 Who Participates in Warrior Down? The Warrior Down Program is designed to assist Native Americans already in recovery, those re-entering the community after treatment for alcohol or substance abuse, mental disorders or after incarceration. The Warrior Down program reaches out to those community service, social and family service and law enforcement agencies who provide service to support Native Americans who are reconnecting with family and community after treatment or incarceration. Half way houses, work release centers, and other community after-care organizations are also included in the outreach. It is important to let Native Americans in recovery know that there is a culturally responsive recovery support system available for them in their community. How Does Warrior Down Work? Orientations for new participants occur on a regular basis. At the orientation the individual will learn about the variety of services and support available to help with their recovery journey and re-entry process. Some of these include: the Four Laws of Change; cultural and spiritual practices used to help prevent relapse including talking circles and participation in sweat lodge experiences; educational experiences that promote personal growth, decision making, healing family and interpersonal relationships, and learning to apply Native American teachings and principles to personal recovery efforts. Participants will also learn about the referral resources and the role of the recovery coaches and the Warrior Down Team. Once the Orientation is complete the members of the Warrior Down Group are scheduled to participate in the Firestarter Training. The Four Laws of Change These laws were given to White Bison by Native American Elders. 1. Change comes from within. 2. In order for development to occur, it must be preceded by a vision. 3. A great learning must occur. 4. You must create a healing forest.

7 This training explores family dynamics, relationships, roles, parenting, conflict management, and the development of trust and respect in the family. It is based upon the teachings of the Medicine Wheel and how to use family Talking Circles to help families heal. Workbooks and videos support this training. Each of the teachings provides a pathway to the development of trust and interconnectedness in the family that might not have been reachable in the past. What you can expect in this training: A train-the-trainer program that enables local community members to implement Family Circles within their own families. The four videos that provide teachings of the Elders around handling conflict, respect, and creating family connections. Present an overview of the teachings of the Medicine Wheel as they apply to family systems, family relationships, and family problem solving. Teaching people to facilitate Family Circles Fathers of Tradition This program is designed to teach fathers how to use Talking Circles to develop their skills as parents. Featured in this program is the Seven Philosophies for Native American Men. The Five Promises provide opportunities for fathers to create a healthy and nurturing environment for their children. Five Promises for Parents: 1. Be the caring adult in a childs life. 2. Create a safe place. 3. Create a healthy start. 4. Develop skills for learning and literacy. 5. Develop a healthy emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual foundation.

8 Other Educational Opportunities for Warrior Down Participants and Family Members Those who complete the Firestarter Training also have the opportunity to participate in other learning circles that explore personal growth (Natural Path to Growth), family healing (Families of Tradition), or Adult Children of Alcoholics (recovering from the effects of being a child of alcoholic parents). Each of these programs is designed to provide the individual with the skills to also facilitate the process with others, including family members. Family members of the Warrior Down group are welcome to participate in educational programs as well. Of particular value are those trainings that assist people in reconnecting with family following treatment or incarceration. These include the Medicine Wheel and 12 Step for Friends and Family (Al-Anon) and the Native American Children of Alcoholics Program, designed to help youth who have parents with alcohol and substance abuse issues. The Families of Tradition program is also helpful for healing family relationships and for reestablishing healthy and effective parental roles. Some communities also implement the Fathers and Sons of Tradition or the Mothers and Daughters of Tradition. Training for facilitators, who are called Firestarters, includes the following types of people: Correctional and community counselors Social workers Halfway house and pre-release center personnel Community workers Teachers Members of the clergy Individuals in Recovery Native American Counselors Traditional practitioners Probation and Parole officers To find out how you might implement a Re-Entry Program for your community or how to become a Firestarter, contact White Bison: White Bison, Inc Wellbriety for Prisons Be sure to visit the White Bison website to see recovery resources, descriptions of trainings, Firestarter applications, and a calendar of trainings:

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