Articles

Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a health issue that impacts many people. It is not a weakness or mark of bad character. It can happen to anyone.

People who misuse substances are often surprised by the ways drugs or alcohol crept into their lives and became an issue. The reason for this is simple- addictive substances (like drugs and alcohol) actually change the way our brain works. In fact, one of the first brain changes that occurs is that substances hijack the part of our brain that controls our cravings, tricking us into wanting drugs or alcohol more frequently and in larger amounts.

Blaming ourselves or our loved ones for addiction is not useful. For many people, recovering from substance misuse requires help from a health care provider, counseling, and possibly medications. Try to keep in mind that judgement and unkindness stands in the way of getting help and recovering. On the other hand, compassion, love for others and yourself, and support opens doors and saves lives.

To navigate life’s journey without being pulled off course by substances, consider:

Building a sober network – Be open to new relationships and build a sober network of reliable, trustworthy friends who you can call at any time of need.

Going to 12-step meetings – Being part of a 12-step program can offer a way to reduce or stop substance use.

Participating in traditions and growing your wellness – Speak with an Elder who can connect and guide you with traditional principles, values, and stories to promote balance mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Building overall wellness is tough, but the payoffs can be huge.

Learning mindfulness meditation – Use mindfulness meditation techniques to help calm your mind, body, and emotions.

Keeping busy – Replace old actions with positive ones. Check things off your to-do list. Do things you have been putting off. Watch TV, dance, play music, read a book, do what will make you feel good at the end of the day, and the morning after, too.

Staying healthy – Part of the recovery process means getting healthy physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Treat yourself to nutritious, satisfying meals and nourish your body with vitamins and nutrients. Exercise regularly. Being strong and active was part of native daily routines. Turn exercise into an outlet to recharge your energy and relieve anxiety, stresses, and feelings of depression. Connect spiritually and work on your mental resilience.

Journaling –Writing can be a great way to work out any thoughts that you are struggling with. It can also help you deeply reflect on substance use and finding ways to stay healthy and balanced.

Talking to a therapist, counselor, health worker, or your sponsor –Your sponsor or your counselor/therapist are there to listen to you and create a plan for coping with substance misuse and staying well. Because substance misuse is a medical issue, your doctor can help you as well. At times, this may include medications that lessen cravings for substances or block the effects of substances. They can also connect you with valuable resources to support your recovery journey.

Practicing gratitude – Gratitude is one of the most important and empowering coping skills you can have. Take time to appreciate the sacredness of the things around you. For many of us, practicing gratitude and appreciation for the good things in our lives is important. Plus, focusing on the things we appreciate trains our mind to see the positive beautiful things in the world, rather than focusing on the negative. Although having gratitude may seem too simple to be effective, it can actually help rewire you brain and have a big impact on your life.

For more information on Wellbriety, check out White Bison. White Bison offers sobriety, recovery, addictions prevention, and wellness/Wellbriety learning resources to Native Americans or call 1-877-871-1495.

Acknowledgements: The coping strategies in this article were originally developed by turnbridge.com, a website that is a resource for people seeking addiction and mental health recovery information and inspiration. Also, information about substance misuse was adapted from materials that can be found at npaihb.org/opioid, which includes a variety of resources on opioid misuse, like the Trickster Tale: Outsmarting Opioids Through Education and Action.

Self-Love Made Me Do It

When a candle is lit, the fire comes from another source- whether...

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem

Your self-esteem is the way you look at, or perceive, yourself. If...

The Plants of Your Place

National Missing and Murdered Indigenous Person’s Awareness Day

Indigenous people have long experienced disproportionately high rates of violence compared to...

Environmental Racism and Seeking Environmental Justice

In the 1970s, the Grassy Narrows Reserve in Canada, home of the...

Culture is Prevention

Resiliency is in Our Blood

Resilience has become a bit of a buzzword in Native Country. A...

Indigenous People for Black Lives Matter

Today as I write this article the world is mourning Daunte Wright,...

Culture is Prevention – Sarah

Indigenous Feminism

Creating a world where people of all genders are respected and valued...

Healing the Land is Healing Us

Western colonial ways of thinking about health tend to focus on physical...

BRAVE: Episode 7

Land Back: Because Colonialism Does Not Spark Joy

In the opening scenes of Rutherford Falls, a Native-inclusive TV series launched...

Breaking Trauma Cycles

Ancestral Gifts We inherit many things from our parents, from their parents,...

BRAVE: Episode 6

What is the MMIW Movement?

MMIW stands for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. It’s a movement that...

Racism and Anti-Racism

Racism impacts all aspects of our lives. It impacts what policies are...

BRAVE: Episode 5

Indigenous Futurism

What would the world look like if tribal supernatural entities ruled? How...

The Judicial Branch

Sometimes, an advocacy group, business, church, or even a group of individuals...

Brave: Episode 4

The Executive Branch

After a bill passes both the House of Representatives and the Senate,...

The Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch of the U.S. federal government makes laws. The Legislative...

BRAVE: Episode 3

Advocacy in the Three Branches of Government

The United States federal government is divided into three branches: the Executive...

Lessons From Standing Rock

In 2016, the water protectors at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation created...

BRAVE: Episode 2

We Are More Than a Mascot

Native American mascots are one of the more controversial topics when it...

Native Cultural Appropriation

Cultural appropriation is when someone from the dominant culture (i.e. the most...

BRAVE: Episode 1

Who is Secretary Deb Haaland?

Deb Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and has...

What is Trauma?

Trauma is a distressing experience that can impact us emotionally, mentally, physically,...

Sunhawk / Managing Stress

Healing From Trauma

After you experience trauma, it might seem like you will never feel...

Honor Your Needs

To give yourself the energy you need when you face a difficult...

Olivia / Keeping It All Inside

Learn to Identify Your Emotions

Sometimes we can identify our emotions through how our body feels. When...

Learn to Be Present in Your Body

After trauma, we may feel like our mind is caught up in...

Nadira / Reaching Out for Help at College

Finding Balance in Your Day-to-Day Activities

Trauma often throws us off- mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically- but there...

Form Healthy Relationships with Trusted People

Coping with trauma on your own can be difficult. Think of the...

Maiya / Dealing with Anxiety Attacks

Cope with Things That Remind You of Trauma

Our brains are always scanning the environment for danger. When we have...

Reaching Out For Help

Sometimes the bravest thing we can do when we are struggling is...

Kennedy / Seeing Kindness

Managing Our Mental Health

 Mental health is how we think about things and our conscious...

Self-Care

Self-care is key for taking care of ourselves and achieving our life’s...

Kaytlynn / Combatting Stressors

Tips for Moving Beyond Blood Quantum

We know blood quantum, or “how much Native blood you have,” isn’t...

Blood Quantum Blues

“So… how much Native are you?” The dreaded question every Indigenous person...

Jowun / Self-Care For Me

I Strengthen My Nation Challenge #2

American Indian and Alaska Native Community Projects Created by Youth to Stand...

I Strengthen My Nation Challenge #1

Artistic Expressions of Resilience to Stand Against Substance Misuse The National Institute...

Isis / School Stressors

Indigenizing Your Self-Care

Self-care means taking care of the whole self – physically, emotionally, mentally,...

What Is Tribal Consultation?

Tribes are nations that have the right to make decisions about how...

Aurora / Connection

Self-Compassion

Treating ourselves with compassion can have a big impact on the quality...

Chickasaw Spaceman

John Herrington, born in Wetumka, Oklahoma, is an enrolled member of the...

Ashley / Self-Care Looks Different For Everyone

Lateral Violence

What is Lateral Violence? Lateral violence- also called internalized colonialism or horizontal...

Indigenous Comic Books

Comics and cartoons have existed for centuries, but it wasn’t until the...

#Indigilove Recap Video

Protect Your Peace from Toxic Relationships

What does it mean to protect your peace? Protecting your peace means...

Reclaiming Our Stories Through Media and Film

As Indigenous people, we know that storytelling is a powerful teaching tool....

Siletz DVPI PSA

Indigenous Star Stories

When you look up at the night’s sky, what do you see?...

Native Crisis Text Line

Sometimes things are too overwhelming to deal with alone. If you need...

MMIWG (Murdered Missing Indigenous Women and Girls)

IndigiLOVE Campaign

IndigiLOVE is a campaign designed by tribal youth to spread positivity, share...

Supporting A Loved One

It can be painful watching those we love struggle. We may feel...

Life Is Sacred

Why Do I Keep Saying “Yes?”

You have done it again! You’ve said ‘yes’ to something you don’t...

Coping with Stress

Everyone feels stressed at times, but stress is not always bad. Sometimes...

Elder Teachings

Eating Disorders

Eating healthy food is an important part of our well-being. After all...

Tips for Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep might seem like a waste of time. You could be doing...

Defined by my Ancestors, Not Dead Presidents

Talk About It

Does the idea of giving a friend negative feedback about their behavior...

Cultivating Self-Love

Want to build your confidence, self-esteem, and wellness? It all starts with...

Heart of the Land | Prevent Suicide

Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships

We all have relationships with a variety of people, including friends, boyfriends,...

Spiritual Connection: Being Part of Something Bigger

Do you remember the last time you had an awe-inspiring moment that...

We R Native Ambassadors

We R Native Ambassadors Class of 2018/2019

Food as Medicine

Indigenous teachings and ways of living kept our peoples well for centuries....

Indigenizing Movement and Mental Health

Movement is medicine – for our mind, body, and spirit. For our...

Healthy Relationships PSA

 

Mindfulness Meditation

Sometimes everyday stress can get to you. For some of us, it...

Diabetes Awareness

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14 is World Diabetes Day!...

Native VOICES Trailer

Check out the trailer for Native VOICES

Is My Relationship Healthy?

All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy...

Resources for Exploring your Sexual Identity

Your sexual orientation will emerge over time, probably little by little. Don’t...

WRN Ambassadors

Represent We R Native

Tips to Protect Yourself from COVID-19

The spread of COVID-19 in our state, threatens our elders, our families,...

History Through a Native Lens

Timeline Overview This timeline of historically traumatic events was authored by Karina...

Indigikitchen

Re-indigenizing our diets

Helping a Friend Who’s Been Raped

Getting support from people they love and trust can be invaluable for...

Tips to be an Engaged Bystander

Leading up to every violent incident (be it intimate partner violence, domestic...

I Like the minty ones

  Native VOICES – the best sex ed videos you’ll every watch...

Creating Safe Spaces

While the perpetrators of violence (like intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or...

Wearing Contact Lenses

So, you’ve made the switch from wearing glasses to the ease of...

Powwow Sweat

Jingle Dress

Introducing Uncle Paige

  We R Native is excited to announce that we have a...

Native VOICES Movie

Watch the most awesome sex ed video ever. You’ll meet Jamie and...

My Culture

We R Quileute

Native VOICES Episode 4

We all care about protecting ourselves and the ones we love. Embrace...

Native VOICES Episode 3

We R Native. We R Proud. Accept Yourself. Protect Yourself. Tune in...

Native Energy Odyssey

Visit from the Sustainable Development Institute to Lakota Nation – Pine Ridge...

Native VOICES episode 2

Winter is here and so is snagging season. Use condom sense and...

Native VOICES episode 1

50 Shades of Grey? Nah, try 50 Shades of Native VOICES! The...

Lived Experience: Reese’s Story

LGBT: loved & accepted

Fitness Challenge

Working out does not require having an expensive gym membership or equipment....

Infant Immunization Week

To promote the importance and achievements of vaccines, especially in protecting the...

Lived Experience: Randy’s Story

LGBT: loved & accepted

Consent

People often think consent is only important when it comes to sex....

Feeding 7 Generations

Food is a gift. Salish Elders remind us that true wealth is...

Lived Experience: Ceci’s Story

Two Spirit: loved & accepted

10 Tips for Staying Healthy & Happy in 2020

1. Smile every day and make a special effort to see and...

What to do with that pumpkin

Now that Halloween is officially over and your carved pumpkin slowly begins...

Dreamcatcher-We Need You Here

Our community is like a #dreamcatcher. Each strand has it’s own qualities,...

The Flu

What is Influenza? Influenza also known as the “Flu” is a highly...

Red Ribbon Week

It’s Red Ribbon Week® (October 23-31)! The Red Ribbon Campaign® is the...

A Gift from the Creator

LGBTQ-Two Spirit: You are a gift from the Creator. You are part...

Baked Pumpkins Seeds

Check out these awesome recipes for making different flavors of baked pumpkin...

Back to School Tips – College

Going back to school? Excited? Sad? Whatever your feeling, we’ve got some...

Lived Experience: Shea’s Story

Two Spirit: loved & accepted.

Mountain Meditation

Sit tall with a long spine and your head erect to allow...

Mental Health Month

May is national mental health month! It is time to spread the...

The Medicine Game

Brothers Miles and Lyle Thompson-two of the top college lacrosse players of...

Sleep Journey

Welcome back Shike doo Shidine (my friends and family)! I hope you...

Trouble falling asleep

Having trouble falling asleep? Try these awesome techniques used by the #WellnessWednesday...

Warriors Against Violence Society

“Women’s Honour Song”

Sleep Week

I love sharing good health and wellness material on our We R...

Taking Baby Steps to Get Off the Couch

It’s all about Netflix and gains! Take some baby steps to get...

Energy 101: Hydropower

Learn how hydropower captures the kinetic energy of flowing water and turns...

No Bake Energy Bites

Eating food for energy is a great way to start getting the...

National Nutrition Month – Smoothie Recipes!

March is National Nutrition Month and a time to focus, or refocus...

A Fish Tale

Lovers’ Yoga

With Valentine’s Day behind us, we’d like to remind you that everyone...

Banana Pancakes

February is the month of love and a time to recognize that...

Breaking the Statistics

Spokane area Indian youth showing how they’re breaking statistics.  

Bannock Bread

Eating healthy means getting the right balance of nutrients your body needs...

5 Healthy Resolutions That Aren’t Losing Weight

In an effort to feel healthy, a lot of us pledge to...

Gen-I

Meet more Indigenous youth whose plans to make a difference brought them...

Tis the season

Rethink the season of giving. The holidays have a way of bringing...

Recovering Addicts on How Rehab Has Improved Their Lives

People don’t leave rehab without having their lives changed. Getting clean by...

Vote Indian Vote

Students from Salish Kootenai College, Pablo, Montana promote the Native American Vote.

National Native American Heritage Month

A little proclamation from the prez in honor of National Native American...

Youth Activism

How to get started Youth have powerful voices, and those same voices...

Love Your Life

After serving multiple deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, like many veterans, Lyn...

Hi Auntie! I’m reconnecting to my mi’gmaq roots, but worry I may not be Native enough to do so. I don’t actually know when the last “full blood” ancestor I had was, but I’d guess traditions stopped being passed down about 3-4 generations ago.

see answer

Find Us

Contest

Substance Misuse

Follow Us

Enter Phone Number to Subscribe:

Msg & Data Rates May Apply.
Text STOP to opt out. No purchase necessary.
Expect 4 msgs/mo.Terms and Conditions

Menu