Sober AF - Ali's Story

Being Sober AF means waking up in the morning and liking what I see in the mirror. It means living a life that is genuine and real. Being Sober AF means living a life I’m proud of and a life that others are proud of too.

Being Sober AF means I have bad days. But my worst day sober is infinitely better than my best day drunk.

Being Sober AF is more than just a catchy phrase. For me, it’s a lifestyle I’ve come to know and love. A lifestyle I plan on living as long as I’m on this planet.

The Power of Peer Specialists

Peer specialists are trained professionals in the behavioral health field who have personal experience with substance use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that a peer specialist (also known as a certified peer specialist, peer support specialist, recovery coach) is a person who uses his or her lived experience of recovery from mental illness and/or addiction, plus skills learned in formal training, to deliver services in behavioral health settings to promote mind-body recovery and resiliency.

Q+A: Peer Recovery Specialist Training with Chris

Peer support is the fastest growing service for people in recovery, but for those how are new to the field, there are still questions surrounding the service. Who are peer specialists? What does training entail? How do they help those in recovery? We sat down with Chris Falck, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist with Minnesota Recovery Connection, to learn more about peer specialists and the training they receive.

Peer Recovery Support Services

Recovery Coaching is rooted in using the tools one has gained in both addiction and recovery to partner with someone (the recoveree) who is looking to achieve or sustain long-term recovery. Together, the Recovery Coach and the recoveree explore recovery supportive resources and find pathways the recoveree can call their own. Peer Recovery Support Services are not prescriptive and are tailored to the needs of the individual being served.

Peer Specialist Self-Care

Working on recovery is no easy task. For peer support specialists, the journey of sobriety is especially difficult. They are inspirations to the clients they serve by being successful in their own recovery. To add to the challenge, the need for support is great – there are never enough specialists or providers to handle the demand in the treatment industry. Yet more, the emotional toll of helping clients through challenges can be punishing.

Recovree - A Game Changer

I sat in an outpatient treatment group nearly thirty years ago discussing the connections between emotions and recovery.  The counselor handed out a form laid out in a grid with a list of feelings down the left side and the days of the week across the top.  The idea was that we would do a “10th Step Inventory” every night, recording the list of emotions we had experienced that day, both positive and negative.  It was our way of keeping track of feelings and connecting our emotions to our daily living. This was the first time I paid attention to feelings and how they connected to my life.

What does a peer support specialist do?

A peer support specialist is a guide to a person in recovery.  A peer support specialist uses his/her own lived experiences and training to help discover a path of recovery that will work best for the individuals they are working with. This path will be different for every individual, and it's the peer specialist's job to help the individual find that path.