Thursday, April 12, 2007

Here Is The Recovery Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel embraces the Four Directions, Four Grandfathers, Four Elements (fire, earth, water, air), Four Winds, Four Peoples (races of those in the human family - of black, white, red and yellow). We the people have four aspects to our nature, four major realms of human existence.

North - the physical realm
East - the realm of knowledge & enlightenment
South - the spiritual realm
West - the realm of introspective thought

Walking the Steps

Walking the steps of the recovery Medicine Wheel means selecting a starting point or origin and working your way around in a sun-wise direction until you come full-circle back to the place of origin. Because a circle has neither an authentic beginning nor a true end, once you have circled around back to your place of beginning, you will then be able to 'begin again' - a new circle, with a new understanding - unending. This is your life-long journey.....quite literally, it is a life-long quest of new beginnings.
This concept of The Medicine Wheel is Ancient, having passed along and down through many generations. It is a model for physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual improvement. The model's purpose is for initiating a healthier mind and body as well as spiritual strength and inner peace to those honestly and sincerely seeking these. Those recovering from addictions can use The Medicine Wheel to strengthen their recovery and their resolve to maintain their recovery.

The Medicine Wheel, however, is a tool that requires 'participation' and effort. You must propel forward through it, moving through its quadrants, experiencing the journey in order to best benefit from it.


The north is the place of beginning, the place of rebirth. You must make a decision in your life to stop physically abusing your body.

1. Beginning today I will take good care of myself.

If you are abusing drugs, alcohol or food or yourself in any way, you must start by realizing the damage you are doing to your body. You must take aggressive action toward securing treatment for your addiction.

2. Beginning today I will regain a balance in my life, by developing an understanding of the important connnection between the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual parts of my existence.

This means that you will start to see the whole scope of your life. In this, you will come to understand that physical well-being involves becoming enlightened. It also means you will learn of the connections between emotions, life stress, sense of self and the effect these life elements have on your physical health.

3. Beginning today I will stop inflicting pain (physical & emotional) on myself and others.

If you hurt inside, if you have anger/pain you must release it at a safe time and in a safe manner. Causing pain in any yourself or must stop...immediately.

4. Beginning today I will come to an understanding that change is a process.

People from dysfunctional families are not accustomed to the "process" of living. Typically, they jump from crisis to crisis. People in 'Recovery' need to LEARN to live life as a process instead of a series crisis situations. They need to understand and accept that learning and changing takes time. You may not be able to see miracles overnight, but wonderful things will occur over time.


The east is the morning direction. It is the direction of 'new.' New day, new light, new thought and new resolve.

1. Beginning today I will reawaken to all creation and all of the beauty that exists in the world around me.

Like everything worthwhile, opening up once more requires work. Open yourself up to new experiences, new people and new awareness. Begin live.

2. Beginning today I will release myself from a narrow view of life and begin to grow, learn and gain new knowledge.

You must begin to give up your narrow and self destructive view of life. Venture forth. Challenge yourself to grow...and to gain new knowledge. Go beyond fear to begin feeling that you are a worthwhile person and that you can, indeed, make a positive life change.

3. Beginning today I will remember that I have a sacred right to live my life as I wish and need to bring harmony and balance into my existence by respecting the life right of others.

You have the right to be you. You do not have the right to play a role assigned to you by your dysfunctional family. We require love and need to respect others at the same time. We must learn to balance our rights, needs and desires with those of others in order to achieve harmony.

4. Beginning today I will work on understanding the changes I must make in order to achieve personal harmony, balance and freedom.

Consider the cognitive and behavior changes that will bring you freedom from your addiction. Move away from old, dysfunctional, destructive life patterns and move toward new balances and functional, healthy ways of living. Fear must be replaced with a feeling of personal strength and this is done through caring support of the self - by the self and of the self by others. Cooperation must replace tyrannical control and love must replace self-hatred.


The south is the realm of existence. Here is where we connect with a spiritual power greater than ourselves. Some may see this greater power as the collective essence of all people. Others may see this as being pure energy. What matters is that every recovering person should connect with a spiritual essence, a power that is greater than him or herself.

1. Beginning today I will come to an understanding of my special relationship with Mother Earth and release my pain to her.

We see the Earth as the Mother of all living things. The soil provides us with food, and stones, soil, and the trees in the earth can provide shelter for us. If we know and respect the earth, she will always provide for us. In your recovery, Mother Earth will heal you with her beauty and energy. Touch Mother Earth and ask her to remove your innner sadness, anxiety and fear. Ask Her to allow you to let go of negative thinking and negative self perception. Release your pain to Mother Earth and you will be refreshed, released, reborn and freed.

2. Today I will come to understand my relationship with Father Sky.

Father Sky is wind, rain, snow, thunder and lightening, stillness, movement, clarity and cloudiness. Father Sky can either take or give life. He will act as a reminder of the feelings within you, both gentle and destructive. If you watch and respect the ways of Father Sky, you will understand the meaning of balance and feel within you a sense of strength and ability.

3. Today I will seek the connection I have with all of the universe.

This step teaches us to understand humility and belonging. We can continue to heal ourselves by sharing knowledge and love with others. Connections must be supportive and uplifting. You must convey unconditional love rather than the kind of love you expected in the past or have experienced when drugs and alcohol were involved. Love combined with drugs and alcohol was never and is never love at all. You must say, "I am going to begin caring for myself and accept the love and support from others."

4. Today I will reconnect with and nurture my own spirit.

This is the most direct, yet difficult step within the spiritual realm. This step asks you to nurture your own spirit. To do this you must connect with your inner self, with that most private part of you. You must be able to acknowledge your fears, desires, emotions and feelings of distress. Most of all, you must learn to care for your own spirit. Think of your spirit as a child. Find out how to help that child. Learn whether the child needs love, reassurance or comforting. Is the child angry? If so let the child express some anger. Find a safe time and place for that child to release his or her anger. That safe time may be in a therapist office or in a sweat lodge, in a support group or in the solitude of your own room. Find someone who will be caring, supportive and nonjudgmental. Treat your spirit with love. Treat yourself with love. Seek to know your inner self. Heal your spirit.


This is the realm where we must look within ourselves and be honest with what we see or find.

1. Today I will speak honestly with myself.

This step demands that you stop suppressing feelings, stop turning off emotions and stop denying that problems exist. An adult child of an alcoholic may wish to appear helpful, calm and in control. In reality this 'acting helpful' is often only a way to avoid rejection. The 'calm' may be a tool to mask inner tension and fear. A controlled exterior is often used as a fog to cover up feelings of failure and of inadequacy. In order to be healed you must begin speaking honestly with yourself. As you become aware of the truths of your current life experiences and of your path to recovery, the choices you must make along the way will become clear.

2. Today I will look at my problems and my accomplishments with a willingness to commit myself to positive growth and change.

The ability to look at both problems and accomplishments can be an indicator of one's growing sense of self. At this point in the Medicine Wheel, acknowledgements of both problems and accomplishments can return balance to your life. Commitment to positive growth and change provides the path to healing.

3. Today I will examine the ways in which I have tried to manipulate, control or manage the lives of others. I will make a commitment to stop these behaviors.

This step has a great deal of meaning for recoverying addicts, adult children of alcoholics and co-dependent persons as well as those from dysfunctional families. One must realize that when performing controlling behaviors, he/she is inflicting harm to 'self' as well as to others. Other people must fix their own problems and the recovering addict must do likewise. Recovering addicts will need to stop trying to manage others and, instead - focus on accepting responsibility for their own life, their own recovery.

4. Today I will acknowledge that change in my life must begin with me.

This step is an action step in which you empower yourself to make positive life changes. No one except you can make changes in your own life. No one else can stop your addiction. Others can help you, encourage you, support you, but only you can stop your addictive behaviors. Discover your personal path to recovery. A recovery/support group, a therapist or trusted other, along with your own insight will help you to unravel the meaning of each step within The Recovery Medicine Wheel. Many traits of this Medicine Wheel are like other therapeutic healing methods; 12 steps, reality therapy and behavior modification therapy, just to name a few.

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