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Holly Peters

Her mother died when she was born, so Holly Peters was raised by her father and 13 uncles in a Lakota tribal community in Gresham. "My dad's grief created alcohol problems," she says. "I became alcoholic at age 12. I detoxed in a sweatlodge at a Lakota center in Idaho when I was 14, and I started doing traditional ceremonies." Peters finished high school, then got a degree from WSU and a master's in social work from Portland State. After several years in the mental health field in Portland, she came to Eugene in 2004 to work as a drug and alcohol counselor for Integrated Health Clinics. She is now clinical supervisor for IHC in Eugene and Milwaukie. When her father, who had never stopped drinking, died a year ago, Peters was motivated to start a Lane County chapter of Wellbriety, a wellness/sobriety program rooted in Native American traditions. "The solution is in the culture," she says. "We have weekly meetings, open to native and non-native people. A lot of non-native people feel drawn to these traditions." Learn more about Wellbriety at whitebison.org.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 20 September 2007

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