Are you a Lifelong Alaskan?
I am a lifelong Alaskan.
What part of Alaska did you grow up in?
I am from Hughes, Alaska on the Koyukuk river where I grew up and then went to high school in Tanana Alaska on the Yukon river, I have been living in Fairbanks Alaska on the Tanana river since 1985.
Alaska can be a challenging place to live. What are some things you do to cope and thrive in our unique Alaskan environment?
Get up off the couch and get outside or work in the garage, keep your mind occupied with planned projects or things that need to get done, do something constructive, build something, not only because you’re trying to cope but just because it needs to get done. Wood cutting is a great way to be active, snow machining is always a good way to get out. I think getting up and getting going is the hard part!
…do something constructive, build something, not only because you’re trying to cope but just because it needs to get done.H. Attla
During a time of great uncertainty and turmoil and transition, what gives you hope right now? And what makes you proud?
For me in times of uncertainty and turmoil I always try to stay positive or if I’m talking to someone about my turmoil I try to get reassurance from them that my thought of “everything is going to be okay”. One’s reassurance of that goes a long way. One will find by “never giving up” or “giving in” that things do get better.
During difficult times, is there a mantra or some sort of touchstone that you return to? Something that gives you strength or offers perspective during challenging times?
I think during my most difficult time I “head to the mountains” a lot of times. I take a drive and it kind of gives me time to process things – up in the high country is my happy place!
Many of us have experienced trauma in our lives. The path to healing looks different and follows a different timeline for every one. Would you feel comfortable sharing a story of healing or recovery from your own life?
The trauma in my life relates back to when I used to abuse alcohol, and grew up when I was young with alcohol consuming my community for periods of time, then everything was good again and life was great. So of course when I grew up I abused alcohol and all the negative consequences that come with it. I struggled for years to try and quit drinking but once I made up my mind I was able to quit! “One day at a time”. One of the difficulties I had at first was that it “seemed like I wouldn’t have fun again” But it turned out to be the opposite. I have been having a blast after quitting allowed me to excel in ways I never thought possible.
The trauma in my life relates back to when I used to abuse alcohol, and grew up when I was young with alcohol consuming my community for periods of time…One of the difficulties I had at first was that it “seemed like I wouldn’t have fun again” But it turned out to be the opposite. I have been having a blast after quitting allowed me to excel in ways I never thought possible.H. Attla
Looking back on times of acute stress and crisis in your life, what advice would you give yourself?
To “think positive” and “Just keep on going”
Feeling joyful can seem complicated after times of crisis. What are some ways that you have let joy back into your life?
Myself I concentrated on competing in Yukon 800 boat racing and became very successful at it, because I loved to be on the river that was where I grew up, and it was something fun and positive and, of course it was a challenge and that was what makes being successful at it so fulfilling! Also I have done snow machine racing which I wasn’t very good at but it was a challenge. Challenge yourself to do something that you dreamed of and it could possibly come true, if not you’ll find the path to getting there was worth it and most satisfying – and that in itself is to have lived.
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