Warriors in Recovery held its first Recovery Drug and Alcohol Awareness Walk this past holiday Monday in Dakota Tipi First Nation. Jonathan Pashe is one of the organizers and says about 50 people showed up as they strolled throughout the community.  

Pashe says the atmosphere was very positive for everyone. 

"We had Del Assiniboine come out with three horses, so the kids were able to ride along with us there while we walked," continues Pashe. "They had a great time with that. They did horse rides for a BBQ also. Councillor Trent Gladue joined us with his family."

He explains the effort to spread drug and alcohol awareness became a passion for him after he personally battled addiction for about 15 years and began his healing journey in 2021. 

"I've lost a few family members and some friends to addiction, so I hold this really close to my heart," notes Pashe. "This is a way we're able to help people. Right now, we do our Warriors in Recovery in person and in online Zoom meetings. It's catching on really well. We have people joining us from up north -- from Nelson House, Split Lake and The Pas. They're joining us in group settings now."

He notes they also do sharing circles every Monday and Friday, as well as Dakota language classes on Wednesdays, and Sweat Lodges every two weeks in his community. 

"We're trying to bring people back to culture, so they could start their healing journey," adds Pashe. "So far, it's been catching on very well. We've been getting quite a few participants, and we just finished going to a conference for the Manitoba First Nations Police. We actually did a 30-minute seminar there. We all spoke about our journeys and it just means a lot to us. It really does. And it was a very successful day with the Manitoba First Nations Police. We were invited out next week to Waywayseecappo for the same kind of event. It's pretty much a prevention for drug and alcohol, that kind of stuff. This is very important to me right now." 

Pashe describes how he personally struggled most admitting he was an addict and reaching out for help.

"It's one of the hardest things I could have done, but it's also the best thing that I have ever done," notes Pashe. "I realized that I wasn't alone in my journey. I was welcomed with open arms from people in similar circumstances and I've never looked back since. It's been a very, very amazing journey for me. I was unemployable at one time, so I'm working full-time in my community. I started my own small business and I'm in school. For people who are thinking of coming and joining us or joining N.A. or A.A., I would say just walk through those doors like that. It's the very first step --  it's the hardest step. I know that for a fact. It's one of the hardest things you can do but the benefits from it are absolutely amazing."

He adds that a return to culture is very important to him, as well. 

"We started in March and it's just been nothing but positive," says Pashe. "We're finally getting our names out there and we're getting more and a lot more participants because of that. Just walking through those doors and knowing that you're not alone in this fight, basically, I would have to say, will probably be the best."

Pashe says they're focusing on their meetings from here on out, and are ready to soon start their training.

"We're transitioning to our wellbriety and that's more of a traditional approach to recovery," notes Pashe.