2012


Musings, commentary, essays, etc.

Say no to drugs and alcohol

If not for yourselves or your community, then do it for the children


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My name is Patsy Kruger. I am from the Okanagan Nation, in Beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

There is a crisis in our community that is drug/alcohol related and needs to be addressed. The question is, where do we start to begin the process of healing and taking back our community?

Now, as many of you know, who live on a reservation, it's common to see the abuse of alcohol and drugs, and the drug trafficking, bootlegging, prostitution, theft, etc., but more so it's the drug trafficking that really corrupts our youth, and still kills off more of the older generation.

I am a part of a group of women who are fighting in our community, to take the community back, for the sake of our children's future. I am a mother of two small boys, and don't want my children to be raised in a community where drug trafficking, alcohol abuse, or any other criminal activity is considered "normal" - because it's not.

I've been clean and sober for four years now, and I want to be a role model for others in my community to see the strengths one can have when they "sober up". I get tired of the ol' saying, "selling drugs is the ONLY way to make money out here!" or "I'm not an alcoholic! I'm just having a good time with a few drinks!" (Of course, they say this when they're black and blue, from falling over so many times, and slur their words so you can barely make out what they're saying!)

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I feel that the way to deal with the drug trafficking is by educating the community on the effects of such drugs like marijuana, cocaine, crack, heroin, etc...and especially to the children. But it's becoming more and more difficult to educate the children when there are so many parents who consume large quantities of alcohol in a day, or do drugs, or even sell it, right out of their homes!!

I just got over having to deal with some drug dealers in my community and it was difficult because the lives of my children were threatened, and my own life was threatened because of this action. I want what's best for everyone in my community, because I'm related to everyone, but I don't want to have to pay the ultimate price from any of these drug users or dealers because of it.

The one concern a lot of us mothers have is, WHERE do we START in this process of cleaning up our community? WHAT step do we need to take in order to get the ball rolling and the motivation strong, so that all of our community members can see the impact that drugs have in our community.

There is so much denial in all of this. People turn away when they see someone in their family who uses drugs, who drink too much, or who suddenly have all these material things, because they sell the drugs. These people have this fear that because it's a family member, they don't want to ruin anyone's 'reputation'!! It's crazy, because when you see the way people react to these drug users, or heavy drinkers, people literally just turn away, and would rather not deal with them. I, for one, am not one of those people. I don't confront people and tell them they have a problem, but I do encourage them to do more with their life and tell them how I'm doing in my sobriety and invite them to my meetings, or ask them if they want to go for coffee, or something outside of what they're used to.

It's hard to find out where to start, because this one issue branches out into so many other issues and problems that need to be dealt with. It's these peoples' environment and background that brings out the way they live, too. How they were raised, and their home-life, etc. It's WHY they started drinking, selling drugs, doing drugs, that is the question for most people in our group.

We're just in the discussion part of our process, and we have a long way to go yet.

I would like to receive some feedback from anyone who has any suggestions on this matter - what you think should be done, programs that already exist out there, or other communities that you know of who are drug/alcohol free, or near that....anything to help me brainstorm more ideas. I want to keep this realistic, too, and even that can be hard, when all you want to do is wipe the slate clean, and wave that magic wand to sober people up with one touch!!

Anyway, thank you for allowing me to share this with you.

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About the author
Patsy Kruger can be contacted by email at: Kruger.is@shaw.ca

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