Recovery for our times and our town

In my village travels recently, as we talked about village problems, one of the Anvik teachers Betty Amos said something that really impacted me.

Betty taught in Anvik 22 years ago for several years, and now at 80 years young, has returned to stay in Anvik for the rest of her life, welcoming the kids and community to the school and creating a real learning environment.

“All the answers are right here,” Betty said. “There are people here that can step forward and get together and solve our alcoholism and addiction issues, our need to heal the trauma and to raise up outstanding leaders to carry on this incredible culture and tradition as we make this community healthy and happy.”

I know having everything we need to solve our problems right here is true of Cordova, too. We have wonderful people who work together!

I’m so grateful for the Sobriety Celebration this weekend to inspire and encourage us! We will have world class drumming and dancing that stretches back thousands of years and the latest in research and personal experience that can help us put addiction of ourselves, our friends and our family behind us as we travel the road to recovery.

Right now, I’ve been reading Harold Napolean’s Yuuyaraq: The Way of Being who brings his understanding of the Yupik world view and gives his ideas on recovery from intergenerational trauma.

He reminds that no one starts out wanting to bring suffering to themselves, their friends and family. He says the “primary cause of alcoholism is not physical but spiritual. And to carry this one step further, since the disease is not physical or caused by physical or biological factors, then the cure must also be of the spirit.”

I’m looking forward to all of our organizations, churches, youth, adults and elders coming up with creative solutions so that Cordova is a role model for Alaska, the nation and the world!

St. George’s will be focusing on Recovery this year and we are beginning this Sunday by saying together the 12 Steps as we go from our opening prayers to Holy Communion.

The sermon text will be Finding Strength to be Free from 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

Matt Rush will be sharing a little of the latest research on ways we can help solve addiction. The children will be learning some of the great Bible stories that bring hope to all of us.

We welcome your suggestions and ideas as we reach out, support and strengthen each other.

I’ll see you at the Sobriety Celebration at the Cordova High School gym! It’s an excellent time to come together as a community. We’ll have a chance to dance, greet, talk with and support each other and heal.

Steve Darden of the Navaho Nation told me once that, “that’s how we get rid of sickness – by dancing!” and after the amazing potlatch dinner, there is a Saturday night square dance at the Pioneer starting at 8 p.m. for a fitting end to an awesome weekend!

The Rev. Belle Mickelson is the rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church. She also travels bringing music to village schools with Last year Dancing with the Spirit spent 37 weeks in villages. For more information on St. George’s visit and