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.
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.
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.
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.
For people who are new to peer support specialists, there can be a lot of questions about who they are, what they do and how they help people find recovery. Here's a quick overview to help you understand the value of specialists.
Greg Tehven is someone to know. He’s a mover and shaker, and most importantly a connector. As the executive director of Emerging Prairie, he reached out to Recovree earlier this year and inquired about our interest in presenting at One Million Cups Fargo. I leaned on Greg to help make our trip multipurpose and connect with organizations from the recovery community while we were in town.
In mid-January, during the heart of a snow storm, we convened eight talented and engaged stakeholders to share an update on Recovree. We invited 20 people to the meeting with the hope that half would attend. Even with the snow, we nearly achieved our goal!
The idea for Recovree started in December 2016. It was family week at Luke’s treatment facility. Family week is an opportunity for family members to learn, share, cope and process what has and is happening with their loved one who suffers from substance use disorder. It was my first experience with family week. I remember feeling anxious. I had to write a letter to Luke sharing how his disease affects our relationship and how it made me feel.