A man who relied on traditional Aboriginal ceremonies when he wound up in jail is using his experience to help others beat their addictions. Brad Fisher is our Inspiring Albertan this week.

Fisher works outreach at the Aboriginal Friendship Centre of Calgary. The non-profit organization helps Aboriginal people adjust to life in the big city. It partners with Alpha House to help those whose lives are affected by alcohol and drug dependencies.

Fisher uses traditional Aboriginal ceremonies, which he says helped him years ago when he had hit rock-bottom.

“While I was in jail, they had a program similar to what we have here for folks in jail. I participated in my first ceremonies and things like that and then there was no looking back,” said Fisher.

Every Friday, Fisher conducts a sweat ceremony at the big teepee on the Tsuu T’ina Nation. John Horseman attends every ceremony and appreciates what Fisher has done for him.

“He’s an inspiration in himself. When he talks, you listen – because of his voice, because of the trust, because of the authority that he’s got in his voice,” said Horseman.

Kathy Christiansen, the Executive Director of Alpha House, says Fisher’s ability to connect with their clients is inspiring because he’s been where they are.

“Half of our client-base is Aboriginal at Alpha House,” said Christiansen, “and access to ceremony and the ability to leave the city behind, or the streets behind, and get out in nature is just such a significant day for us.”

“Life is important and it’s not very long. We like to think that we have a long time to be here, but we really don’t,” said Fisher.

For the way he uses his experience and his voice to help those struggling with addictions, Brad Fisher is our Inspiring Albertan this week.

(With files from Darrel Janz)