What is Wellbriety?

For many years, the term “wellbriety” has been used in Native American communities to describe the process of moving beyond addiction and into health and balance.

The term itself comes from the word “wellness” and the Cherokee word “baste,” which means “sober.” Wellbriety is a holistic approach to sobriety that includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

The concept of wellbriety is based on the belief that addiction is a symptom of a larger issue. To address addiction, we must address the underlying causes.

For Native Americans, this often means addressing historical trauma, which is the cumulative emotional and psychological wounds inflicted upon a group of people who have experienced oppression, violence, and persecution.


The Four Directions Model

The Four Directions Model is a framework for wellbriety that was created by the White Bison Association. The model includes four directions:

* East – Physical wellbeing

* South – Mental and emotional wellbeing

* West – Spiritual wellbeing

* North – Cultural wellbeing

Each direction corresponds to one of the four sacred elements: water, fire, earth, and air. The model also includes four stages of wellness: prevention, intervention, maintenance, and aftercare.

Ultimately, the goal of wellbriety is to help individuals achieve balance in all four directions so that they can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.


Wellbriety & Indigenous 12 Step Values

As explained by Akasha Recovery, wellbriety’s substance abuse recovery program is oriented around character and values.

Each of the 12 Steps is presented in relation to a specific value.  These values are meant to encourage and reflect:

Step 1—Honesty

Step 2—Hope

Step 3—Faith

Step 4—Courage

Step 5—Integrity

Step 6—Willingness

Step 7—Humility

Step 8—Forgiveness

Step 9—Justice

Step 10—Perseverance

Step 11—Spiritual Awakening

Step 12—Service

As people traverse the twelve steps, they learn to embody these twelve values within their hearts and minds. They also incorporate these values in their worldly activities and interactions with others.


The Medicine Wheel & 12 Step Programs

The Indigenous Medicine Wheel (aka the Sacred Hoop) is an ancient visual symbol and tool. This tool is used for transmitting essential spiritual insights and wisdom regarding the healthy functioning of humans within the natural world. These insights and wisdom are transferred from generation to generation.

Many Native American communities use a Medicine Wheel, though the colors and symbols vary depending on the tribe/culture.

While the symbols may vary, the purpose is similar across Native American cultures.

With its shapes and colors, the Medicine Wheel depicts the Four Directions. As well as Mother Earth, Father Sky, and Spirit Tree. All of which symbolize various dimensions of health and the cycles of life that all beings share.

When skillfully applied to one’s life, the Medicine Wheel teachings have the power to initiate significant positive transformations. These transformations can occur in attitude, behavior, values, and aspirations.


Seeking Help for Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction, know that you are not alone.

Millions of Americans suffer from addiction, and many of them are searching for a way out. Wellbriety may be a helpful approach for you if you are looking for an alternative to traditional approaches to sobriety.

Remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination.

Take it one day at a time and be patient with yourself. Seek out support from friends, family members, or a counselors if you need it. Most importantly, never give up hope.

You can overcome addiction and achieve balance in your life.