Winter Solstice and Wellbriety Tree Ceremony

Boozhoo, Tansi,

Aurora Recovery Centre has the privilege of being located on the Western shores of Lake Winnipeg within Treaty Number One Territory. These are the traditional lands of the Anishinabe (Ojibway), Ininew (Cree), Oji-Cree, Dene, and Dakota, and is the Birthplace of the Métis Nation.

We honor and respect the Treaties that were made on these territories in 1871 at Lower Fort Garry, we acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past, and we dedicate ourselves to move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities in a spirit of reconciliation, collaboration and healing.

Winter will soon be upon us and we begin to prepare for that time when we share our stories. The story of recovery is important as well and we take the time during the day of the Winter Solstice to recognize the importance of this chapter of our Story. The number of daylight hours on the shortest day begins at 8:24 am and begins to rest at 4:29pm.

Community members will have the chance to bond with friends and prepare themselves mentally for the new year, creating journals for their future hopes and dreams, and burning in the fire what they wish to let go of. Traditionally, the solstice signifies a symbol of new beginnings, much like the New Year does for many of us.

We will begin that story with the Wellbriety Tree Ceremony, placing our names and sober dates on White Bison ornaments and mindfully hanging them on the tree. This is a gentle reminder of the importance of remembering one of the days when everything has to change. The completed story has many unwritten chapters yet to come, but this action of confirming the sober date helps confirm what has been accomplished and what is yet to come.

The Red Road to Wellbriety movement’s mission is to disseminate culturally based principles, values, and teachings to support healthy community development and servant leadership, and to support healing from alcohol, substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, and intergenerational trauma.

The Wellbriety Movement is growing and becoming more self-sustainable each day. The meaning of Wellbriety is to be sober and well. Wellbriety teaches that we must find sobriety from addictions to alcohol and other drugs and recover from the harmful effects of addiction on individuals, families and whole communities. The “Well” part of Wellbriety is the inspiration to go on beyond sobriety and recovery, committing to a life of wellness and healing every day.

These words are but one way to find healing and recovery, and the buffalo that will adorn this tree are reminders of hope, healing and the bond of being together and the building of recovery capital as the story begins to unfold.

Respectfully wishing you peace, love, health and happiness.

Kevin Korocsil