I am a 41-year-old Native American Alcoholic. I was born and raised in Minneapolis. Drugs and Alcohol have plagued my family with abuse, disease, and death. One of my earliest childhood memories is when I was about six years old. One of my cousins found a joint, and we got caught smoking it. The weird thing I remember is we knew how to inhale it and hold smoke in. After getting caught my grandfather held a family meeting. He scolded the adults and told them the children shouldn’t be punished for doing what they learned from watching them. Drugs and alcohol have affected most of my family to the point where it was socially acceptable and considered normal. Not a surprise I turned out to be an alcoholic. I lost everything important in my life. So there I was divorced, unemployed, and hopeless in a shelter.
Thankfully, that is when I decided to get help and check myself into treatment. There were a few options, but I heard there was a program culturally specific for Native American men. When I first got here at Juel Fairbanks, I was greeted with happy, healthy, smiling faces from the clients here. Everyone was more than willing to help me with any questions I had. It was a great first impression for me to see examples of what this place is like.
I wondered if it was too late for me. After meeting with my counselor, I realized that with patience and self-discipline the goals I wanted to accomplish were possible. I just have to want it and stick to my program. It took some time, but with an open mind training from my counselor, and the incredible support from my peers, I began to notice changes in the way I felt about myself and had a new outlook on life.
The program taught me about the long-term effects drugs and alcohol can have on the human body, both physically and mentally. I also learned about the irreversible damage it can cause if not treated and that’s just the individual not including the loved ones also affected by this disease. I’ve learned a lot about how to communicate, express my feelings and emotions, anger management, and coping with addiction. The facility is willing to accommodate needs for housing, transportation, and education. There are a lot of other outside resources that are available to clients in need.
Juel Fairbanks has staff that directed me in finding cultural outlets and resources to surrounding classes, meetings, and support groups for my specific interest.
I believe there is a cure in the culture. Which has helped me reconnect with my higher power. The cultural aspect of the program encouraged me to get back in touch with my roots and allowed me to attend ceremonies, take language classes, join a drum group, and led me to the red road to wellbriety. I have a whole new appreciation for life that I know I could not get anywhere else. I can honestly highly recommend Juel Fairbanks to anyone that can relate or is looking for a program that offers culture and structure. I have completed the program. I am registered for school. I am now a happy, healthy, proud, son, brother, uncle, father, and grandfather. I have Juel Fairbanks to thank for the second opportunity that I have made for myself. And last but not least the support from peers that also suffer from this disease is vital to recovery, just know you’re not alone in this.