Peer Recovery: The Ultimate Weapon – One Addict Helping Another
Question: What is Peer Recovery?
Answer: A Peer Recovery Support Specialist aids in the process of giving and receiving encouragement, while assisting in the overall goal of achieving long-term recovery and building community relationships.
“A Peer Recovery Support Specialist is someone who has personally been through the fire and came out refined,” said Jimmy McGill, Office of Arkansas Drug Director-Recovery Coordinator. “Their addiction or mental health disability – that didn’t define them. That was the trials and tribulations that they went through, and they came out of that fire a better version of themselves. Now they use that lived experience as a tool to help other men and women who are in those same flames, engulfed, to come out a better version of themselves. They give a person in recovery the hope that it takes to inspire a desire to live a lifestyle healthy and free from addiction.”
Question: How can Peer Recovery help a person in early recovery find new social networks?
Answer: People, Places, and Things — “A person in early recovery is often faced with the need to abandon friends and/or social networks that promote and help sustain a substance use disorder, but has no alternatives to put in their place that support recovery.” [U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services]
A Peer Recovery Support Specialist demonstrates and coaches the person in recovery how to fill that unhealthy void of old relationships that often lead to self-destructive behavior. In turn, a Peer Recovery Support Specialist provides the person in recovery with guidance on building new community relationships, supportive friendships, new places, and healthy activities that promote long-term wellness and recovery. The Peer Recovery Support Specialist guides a person in recovery toward boosting their moral, promoting positive self-esteem and provides them with the tools to maintain employment.
“They’re no longer defined by their past. Their past has become a pathway for a productive future,” Jimmy McGill, Office of Arkansas Drug Director-Recovery Coordinator.
Question: How does Peer Recovery help a community?
Answer: Reflections of change in people involved in a Peer Recovery program, includes reduced recidivism lower crime rates in a community, and provides the workforce with rehabilitated men and women who might be limited due to a criminal background.
Recovery Support Services*
Recovery support services are non-clinical services that are used with treatment to support individuals in their recovery goals. These services are often provided by peers or others who are already in recovery. Recovery support can include:
- Transportation to and from treatment and recovery-oriented activities
- Employment or educational supports
- Specialized living situations
- Peer-to-peer services, mentoring, coaching
- Spiritual and faith-based support
- Parenting education
- Self-help and support groups
- Outreach and engagement
- Staffing drop-in centers, clubhouses, respite/crisis services, or warmlines (peer-run listening staffed by people in recovery themselves)
- Education about strategies to promote wellness and recovery