Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) Fairbanks AK

It is widely understood that about 1 in 10 people have the disease of alcoholism. That 10% of the population includes all races, creeds, ages, sexes, religions, and all other factors. Alcoholism does not discriminate any of these; it simple exists when the individual has the threefold illness.

Fairbanks Native Association
Ralph Perdue Center
3100 South Cushman Street, Suite 100,
Fairbanks, AK99701
(907) 452-6251x6411
www.fairbanksnative.org

Intake Phone Numbers:
(907) 452-6251x6400

Services Offered: Substance abuse treatment

Residency: Residential long-term treatment (more than 30 days), Outpatient

Payment Accepted: Self payment, Medicaid, Medicare, Private health insurance, Military insurance (e.g., VA,TRICARE)

Specializing in DUI/DWI offenders

For thousands of years Alaska’s first people, jointly called Alaska Natives, made their livelihood as subsistence hunters and fishers (Alaska’s History: The People, Land and Events of the North Country, 1993). In Alaska’s interior region the subsistence traditions of our ancestors were forever changed by the first successful expedition into the Interior by Lt. Henry Allen in 1885 and the discovery of gold in the Tanana Valley surrounding Fairbanks. The discovery of gold brought thousands of non-Native people to the area and the Alaska Native traditional subsistence lifestyle began to give way to one marked by permanent villages, which today rely in large part on a cash economy.

The increasing reliance of these villages on the cash economy has forced many Alaska Natives to leave their ancestral homelands for Alaska’s urban areas, including Fairbanks, to seek employment. In 1960, only 12% of Alaska Natives lived in urban areas. By 1990 the percent of Alaska Natives living in urban areas increased to 44%. Population changes between 1980 and 1990 reflect the highest rate of Native in-migration to urban centers. In 1990, for instance, 11% of the population of the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area (Alaska’s Interior) migrated to other parts of Alaska (Alaska Department of Labor, 1994).

The experiences of the first Alaska Natives to move to the city of Fairbanks were marked by discrimination. Many Alaska Native men serving in the United States Army during World War II at Ladd Airfield Base near Fairbanks were barred from Fairbanks stores, hotels, restaurants, and bars. At that time “No Indians” signs and attitudes were an integral part of the Alaska Native experience in urban areas.

By the mid-1960s most of the signs had come down, but Alaska Natives continued to find that they were welcome in few public places. “Even people who didn’t drink had no place to go except the bars,” said Poldine Carlo, Athabascan Native Elder and one of FNA’s charter members, when asked why she started FNA. “Because there was nowhere else for them to go, we started inviting people over to our house. For two or three winters, we even had different village mushers and their dogs staying here in the woods behind our house.”

It was these experiences that led Poldine Carlo and others, including her husband Bill and Ralph Perdue, Morris Thompson, Margie Wright, John Sackett, and Max Huhndorf to organize an association for urban Alaska Natives. While the Civil Rights Movement was shaking the nation, Alaska Natives in Fairbanks started meeting around Poldine’s kitchen table to design an association that would bring Alaska Native people living in Fairbanks together; an association that would give them a sense of belonging where there was none; an association that would speak on behalf of Alaska Natives, who had little political clout; and an association that would meet their cultural, social, and economic needs.

In 1967 FNA was incorporated as a nonprofit under the laws of the State of Alaska. Membership then as it is now was open to Alaska Natives and American Indians of one-quarter blood or greater who once a year elect a nine-person board of directors. Today FNA is a powerful and influential Native American voice in Alaska. Over the years our organization has changed public policies that were discriminatory to our people and our programs have helped countless people find new jobs, maintain sobriety, celebrate their culture, and receive an education.

As FNA continues to build a stronger community, we will hold true to our mission “to provide quality services in a professional manner for our membership and the greater Fairbanks community.”

The Truth about Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous

Provided By: 

The Truth about Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous

Cindy Weir

Friday, September 14, 2007 I have read many articles on the subject of alcoholism and AA. Most are full of misinformation, misunderstanding and untruth. This is my attempt, as a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, to help you understand this cunning, baffling and powerful disease and how AA helps us live sober, one day at a time.

The disease of alcoholism, (yes, it's a disease), is a threefold illness- physical, mental and spiritual. There is no cure for alcoholism. What we have is recovery and discovery. It is not a program of self-improvement of self-help. It is a program of self-discovery.

It is widely understood that about 1 in 10 people have the disease of alcoholism. That 10% of the population includes all races, creeds, ages, sexes, religions, and all other factors. Alcoholism does not discriminate any of these; it simple exists when the individual has the threefold illness.

The first aspect of the disease is physical. An alcoholic processes alcohol differently than the "normal" drinker. Of course the term normal includes all ranges of drinkers. But only the alcoholic develops what is known as the phenomenon of craving. In essence, an alcoholic is allergic to alcohol. This allergy manifests itself in this craving making it impossible for us to stop drinking. It is the FIRST drink that gets us drunk, not the last. When one drink is ingested it sets off this phenomenon of craving and makes us want more and more and more. We do not stop until we pass out, black out, go to jail, experience many consequences, and/or die.

The mental obsession is the second aspect of the disease of alcoholism. This obsession crowds out all other thoughts, including the reminders of all the pain, heartache, injury or other consequence that we have experienced. The disease of alcoholism centers in the mind. Therefore, the mind of the alcoholic cannot differentiate between the true and the false. We have just as much a thinking problem as we do a drinking problem.

If these two aspects sound grim, that is because they are what leads us to the desperation, futility and hopelessness that we feel while we are in the throes of the disease. We are either drinking, or we are thinking about drinking. Either way, we have no positive results.

This leads us to the third aspect of alcoholism- the spiritual. An alcoholic must experience an entire psychic change to overcome the physical and mental parts of our disease. There is a "black hole" that we feel and all we know to do is fill it with alcohol. Yet alcohol is only a symptom, our temporary solution to help us not have to feel. We self-medicate, and once we put any form of alcohol, including some in pill form, we set off this allergy/phenomenon of craving and we are gone. And, when we are not drinking, all we can do is obsess over the next drink- when and how we're going to get it. It is a vicious, never-ending cycle which leaves t...

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