From the October 2012 magazine.

October 2012: Native Understanding

An AA trustee's thoughts on carrying the message to the Native American alcoholic

Image is illustrative and is not an image of the author

It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Pacific Regional Trustee on the General Service Board. I have been sober for 28 years, and I’ve been involved in General Service work for about 23 of those years. I am Dineh, a full-blooded Navajo, born on the Navajo Reservation in Tuba City, Arizona. I want to share some thoughtful reflections that could hopefully lead to more understanding to help us carry the message of AA to Native Americans.

There are 555 federal- and state-recognized tribes, another 208 are not recognized; alcoholism rates are 579% greater, suicide is 212% greater, homicide is 41% greater than national rates. About 2/3 of native people live off the reservation; the life expectancy is 59 years; the poverty rate is 3 times the national average; 1/3 of all outpatient visits to Indian public health services were related to substance abuse; and in the top 10 leading causes of death, four are directly connected to alcoholism: accidents, cirrhosis, homicides and suicides.

-- Rod B.

Salt Lake City, Utah

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