Knowledge is the Anti-Drug
This series of mini-retreats or classes addresses the opioid/co-dependency crisis we are in through the creation of what is called ethical space in current educational practices. Ethical space is defined as:
…the in-between space that connects Indigenous
and Eurocentric knowledge systems…the space that is created
when Indigenous and Western thought are brought together…
It is not a merge or a clash, but a space that is new, electrifying,
even contentious, but ultimately has the potential for an interchange
or dialogue of the assumptions, values and interest each holds.
Adding ethics to this space entertains our personal capacity and
our integrity to stand up for our cherished notions of good,
responsibility, and duty. (De-colonizing Education, p. 105)
When seen through the lens of ethical space, the 12 Steps of the Recovery Movement have a striking similarity to the ‘medicine wheel’ of those who lived in Ohio before colonization.
This is especially true as regards the nature of human beings. The 4 Directions of the wheel express that human beings are mental (North), emotional (East), physical (South) and spiritual (West) beings.
The 4 ‘seasons’ are also understood as seasons of life. Childhood is the East and adulthood is the South. It is just in this place in the wheel that we are losing our citizens. The central reason is because what worked well in an earlier season of life becomes destructive in the next. In childhood, if there is pain, the wisdom is to move away from it. If there is emptiness and hunger, the wisdom is to cry out and ask for help. In adulthood, the opposite is true. If there is pain, the wisdom is to move directly into and through it, to make the pain a central teacher. If there is emptiness, the wisdom is that we become full by giving away. It is possible to see the opioid epidemic as a failure to develop an adult relationship with pain and emptiness.
It is tempting to place all the blame for addiction on the shoulders of those who suffer. This suffering, though, belongs to all of us. It is a collective question and requires ways to address collective suffering together as a community.
- Christopher Reynolds, M.Ed.