edvard-munch-1332621_1920I had a nightmare last night . Last night I was haunted by the spirits of my past; addictions and drug use. I was using cocaine, alcohol, marijuana and pills in my dream and I was selling cocaine. It was so realistic that I felt the effects of all these substances, I could barely walk or speak, and while selling drugs I could see the spirit of addiction in the addicts eyes as they were buying off of me. Those of you who know me should know that a couple of years ago that’s exactly where I was, selling drugs to feed my addiction. It went against everything I believe as a wholehearted, compassionate and caring individual; it caused me pain every time I sold to anybody. But the spirit of addiction enveloped my entire being. I sold to my own friends and saw them become consumed by the drugs I was giving them, begging me for more, willing to offer their car, their ID, their phones, I’m sure they would have offered their children if they had any – all so I would spot them until they had more money.

The demons of my past still show their faces in my nightmares; though I have been clean off opioids and narcotics for a year as of January, I still carry guilt for the things that I have done to feed that evil spirit. My soul was completely consumed and it truly was the most awful spirit I have ever encountered. It steals everything from you, your morals, values, your money, time, your body, your children, and ultimately, your life.

I find myself wondering if I will ever heal from the guilt of my past, of the negative decisions I have made, that haunt me deeper than any trauma or violence that has been instilled upon me by another person. I have had guns cocked to my head, experienced sexual assault and rape, and still I feel heavier for my own poor choices and negative decisions, and for the people I have hurt around me.

When I feel weak there is nothing I can do but give my pain to Creator. Creator, ancestors, and the powerful spirits that surround me in ceremony are what saved me from those drugs and that lifestyle and I will continue to pray, burn medicines and share my stories through music or poetry when I am suffering. The journey is long but I believe someday I will be freed of this guilt. Someday, through prayer and perseverance, I will forgive myself.

Mary black
Mary Black

I am blessed and thankful everyday for the life, the second chance I have been given by Creator. I am thankful beyond expression to have my loving, gentle partner Gabriel Guiboche by my side in this journey, my best friend whom I can pray with, create with, cry with and smile with. I am thankful for the blessing of our beautiful children and their health and happiness. I am thankful for this beautiful way of life and for sobriety and to escape the evil spirit of addictions grasp and once again reclaim my Spirit as a Powerful Anishnaabe’kwe.

I am Blue Thunderbird Skywoman. My Husband is Everyday Sun. We are VOICES OF THUNDER. We share our stories and experiences through speech, music and poetry, and combat intergenerational trauma through our work. We implement Ojibwe traditions, language, drumming and dancing in our performances, and are an active part of revitalizing our culture.

We have overcome addiction, abuse, poverty, gangs, violence, sexual trauma, and identity loss; and if we can do it, so can you!

Reprinted with the permission of Mary Black.

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