Native American Teachings
Our Native American program is designed to allow patients to move past their addiction and grow spiritually, rebuilding the bonds they have with their culture. We find that this is also appropriate to those who are not receptive to 12-step programs, but still desire something spiritual to help them find their way to recovery. We use materials similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous 12-step programs. Participation in the program provides a culturally significant recovery path and a connection to native ways. We combine materials from our curriculum with Native American ceremonies conducted by Tribal Elders, who as cultural educators are dedicated to healing through the power of ceremonies, culture, tradition and history.
In Native American teachings sacred ceremonies are used to heal the whole self. Olalla Recovery Centers is honored to have Native American elders facilitate the Spiritual Circle ceremony once a month. This ancient ceremony encompasses all aspects of a higher power. Patients tell us this was one of the most moving and spiritual experiences they have ever encountered.
Patients also participate in a class that incorporates the Medicine Wheel, a Native American traditional teaching. This involves seeing the whole person-body, mind, spirit and emotions as an integrated part of creation. Patients are shown how addiction involves the whole person and that recovery must encourage wellness and healing in all aspects of life including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. In the Fall 2015, due to a gracious donation from the Suquamish Tribe, a walking medicine wheel was constructed on the property at Olalla Guest Lodge. Patients and guests are invited to walk the wheel to connect to the aspects of the medicine wheel teachings.
In addition to the spiritual circle, patients participate in "burning/smudging" ceremonies. During the ceremony, patients are given the opportunity to "let go of the past" by burning written material and are smudged (blessed) with an Eagle feather and sweet grass or sage.
Patients and staff have long believed the site of Olalla Recovery Centers is a highly spiritual and sacred setting. Perched high on a hill in the midst of Northwest shoreline forests, it is home to eagles, deer and other wildlife. The setting is natural and remote, perfect for introspection and recovery. We honor some of the Native American ways while providing opportunities to be “in the now” by connecting with nature, and one’s own spiritual center.