Natasha's full story

Natasha Gamache tried a lot of different things to find recovery from substance misuse. Finally, after listening to one woman's story, she found the solution she needed. Here's her story. She hopes it might be the one that will help others find their answers, too.

12-steps and lots of detours on the road to recovery

Natasha grew up surrounded by alcohol and abuse. By 11, she was drinking to help manage her anxiety and depression. Now, 26 years later, she's in recovery and in college. Her journey was long and filled with partial solutions, but the final 12-steps helped her begin to heal.

Transforming perspectives on trauma through paintings of hope

Traumatic childhood experiences can lead to problems later in life, like addiction. But these problems don't define a person, and stories that start with trauma can end with hope. A new set of murals illustrates the transformation of seven Alaskans, and the process of creating them transformed the artists themselves.

Covey Cafe gives young people a chance to shine

A new coffee house is teaching at-risk youth life and work skills. This story was produced by residents of Covenant House, a youth shelter in Anchorage.

Taking action to reduce substance misuse

Substance use disorders are diseases caused by many factors. Preventing and treating them requires input from everyone, not just law enforcement and health professionals. Those are some of the key messages in the state's new opioid action plan. On Talk of Alaska, we'll discuss the plan and the ways you can be part of the solutions.

Envisioning recovery

Karen Mitchell is the Behavioral Health Aide in Noatak, a small village in the Northwest Arctic. Twenty-five years ago that would have seemed impossible. She shares her story of recovery.

When a step back into prison is really a jump forward

Alexandria Niksik was only out of prison for 16 days before being sent back. But that brief trip home taught her what she needed to remain sober long into the future.

Community in Unity: Building connections

Being incarcerated is hard. So is being released. How are people from rural Alaska connecting with their communities and their cultures while in prison, and preparing for what's next? What's happening outside of prisons to help make the transition more successful for everyone in the community? Join us for a conversation inside Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome, Alaska to hear from inmates, staff and other community members.

How little organizations make a big difference through collaboration

Chickaloon is just a little tribe with a little reach, but through the power of collaboration, they're trying to make a big difference for the people of Sutton.

Filling in the medical gaps with Community Health Aides

Fifty years ago, Alaska had a really big problem: it was hard to get medical care in small, rural communities that could only be reached by snow machine or airplane. To solve it, the Indian Health Service worked with local governments and Congress to create the Community Health Aide Program. And it's still making communities healthier.

Working together to end child abuse

A few years ago, residents of the Mat-Su Borough identified child abuse and neglect as one of the area's major problems. In response community organizations teamed up with government agencies, schools and judges to develop a comprehensive solution and build connections throughout the region. And it's working. Find out how they did it.

Stopping the opioid epidemic through new partnerships

The U.S. Surgeon General spoke in Alaska recently about the opioid epidemic. He says the way to solve the problem is to build partnerships across sectors because solving the opioid epidemic means solving larger issues, too.

Spicing up connections to traditional foods

One way to make money in a slow economy is to fill a gap in the market. But a local spice blend company is doing more than building bank accounts--it's also connecting people with Native dishes in a new way.

Challenging systemic racism in Alaska

Over the past few centuries in the United States, laws and policies have favored some racial and ethnic groups over others. It's led to racial inequity in Alaska and beyond. Now different groups are working together to educate people about these problems and develop solutions.

Prison art market has its limits

Inmates at Spring Creek Correctional Center are producing beautiful art, like silver bracelets and intricate paintings. But like prisoners across the country, they have few places to sell it.

Philanthropic horticulturists and other prison community leaders

The world inside Spring Creek Correctional Center is in many ways just like the world outside. Prison clubs function as nonprofits, filling service gaps and trying to build healthier communities.

When prisoners own the store, everyone profits

Prison commissaries around the country make millions each year, and most of the profits go to private companies. But not at Spring Creek Correctional Center, where the prisoners own and operate the store and use the profits to benefit the communities inside and outside the prison walls.

How little investments can lead to big community change

Seward, Alaska used to host a lot of bake sales. It was the only way to raise money for small organizations. Now, instead of buying cupcakes, people can donate little bits of money that are invested and help the whole community go a long way.

When traditional banking isn't an option, try this out instead

Let's say you want to start a business or buy a house. You'll probably need a loan from a bank. That means you need a good credit history or collateral – something to prove that you'll pay it back. But if that's not an option... then what? Welcome to a Community Development Financial Institution – or CDFI.

Community in Unity: Recovery Behind Bars

Many crimes are fueled by drug and alcohol addictions. So what can prevent some criminal activity? Helping people receive treatment. During Community in Unity: Recovery Behind Bars, inmates, staff, and other community members gathered inside Goose Creek Correctional Center near Wasilla, Alaska to share stories about treatment, crime, and recovery.

Guiding peers on the path to recovery from addiction

The path to recovery from drug or alcohol addiction can be long, arduous, and isolating. But guides who have been through it all can help people navigate the challenges along the way.

Can opening a liquor store solve alcohol-related problems?

Alcohol abuse is an issue throughout the country, even in areas where it's illegal. Banning alcohol doesn't always solve the problem, so should communities try swinging the other way and make it more available? Could opening a liquor store help a community, not harm it? The village of Kiana in northwest Alaska is finding out – and reviews are mixed.

Turning a temporary stay into long-term stability, 30 days at a time

Life at the Fairbanks Rescue Mission isn't bad — the beds are warm, the people are supportive, and it's safe. But for some, the emergency homeless shelter was too comfortable. People wouldn't leave. So staff developed a new way to send people out the door quickly while helping them stand on their own two feet.

Improving Alaska's Foster Care System

Alaska's foster care system has problems. Caseworkers don't stick around for long. It can take years for young people to find permanent homes or be reunited with their families. But new legislation could provide solutions that will help everyone involved with the system.