Content Note: Teachings In The Air periodically introduces content that may impact the wellbeing of individuals who have experienced corresponding traumas in their own lives. Such individuals are encouraged to have necessary supports (such as Elders, counsellors, your doctor or therapist or a trusted friend or relative) accessible in the event that one's mental health is impacted. Such content is not engaged with lightly; however, our aim is to openly acknowledge and accurately illustrate the oftentimes abnormal history of Indigenous peoples. Because as Gerry says "You can't say goodbye to your problems until you say hello to them.”

Gerry’s special guest today is Sam Alec. Sam’s grandfather was one of the people that laid teachings at a younger Gerry’s feet, and on this episode, Gerry and Sam share their experiences of healing relationships within their community. Gerry expresses gratitude to Sam for sharing his story about how he found his way back to his circle. We learn about Mr. Alec’s life, as he tells a very personal story and reveals the teachings that have emerged from the core of it.

“When I was abusing substances, I did not stop and think of anyone. My ego and my pride got in the way; I was not thinking straight. Even in that state, my spirit was still looking after me.”

- Sam Alec

Drugs and alcohol had been running Mr. Alec’s life until the consequences of his actions caught up with him in a tragic turn of events, eventually landing him in a federal prison. Mr. Alec shares the story of how he made it through that experience. It wasn’t without the help of his Elders that he was able to finally begin reflecting deeply on his life. Becoming involved in a spiritual community through sweat lodge and fasting brought Mr. Alec to realize that he had to take a look at himself in order to begin his healing journey. There came a moment when Mr. Alec said to himself,

“I have to break the cycle, and that starts with me. There must be some other way to live; a healthier lifestyle.”

Learning to cope, learning to relearn, and persisting to transform his medicine from substance abuse to embracing his culture took time. Prayer, smudge, songs, and his community helped him to persevere through many difficult experiences.

A special kustkum’ckcuw goes out to Mr. Alec for sharing his story for our listeners.