“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It's a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others.” -Pema Chödrön
I believe this quote captures the essence of 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.
Unlike the medical model, where treatment is something that comes from the outside in, focusing on treatment of the illness or overcoming the symptoms of the illness, Peer Recovery Support Services look at recovery as a process of something that happens from the inside out. Through validating the recoveree’s experiences, Recovery Coaching uses a strengths-based approach focused on building the recoveree’s recovery capital (social supports, spirituality, culture, physical and mental health, employment, education, etc). Not only does this process support treatment engagement and enhance motivation for recovery, it is working toward maintaining a sustainable life in recovery.
It is an exciting time to become a part of Peer Recovery Support Services. Minnesota is currently undergoing a substance use disorder reform that will add Recovery Coaching or Certified Peer Recovery Specialists to the Medicaid benefit set. This is a vital step in moving our system of care for substance use disorders from an acute care model to true continuum of care. By including Recovery Coaches in the treatment process, we are inviting the voice of the recovering community to the table where treatment plans, policies and procedures, and client care decisions are made. This is a way to reduce stigma and provide concrete evidence to those we serve that recovery works.
Written by guest blogger Kris Kelly, Director of Programs at Minnesota Recovery Connection (MRC)