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We can’t wait to introduce you to Samantha, our February Specialist Spotlight! Samantha was nominated by Kara, a previous Specialist Spotlight feature! When we read Kara’s nomination, we were blown away by her kind words for Samantha:

“Samantha is one of the hardest working people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. She goes above and beyond for people in and out of the recovery community. She truly cares about her clients and will go to any means to help them find their footsteps into recovery. Samantha is an all around an amazing human and I am so lucky to have her as a colleague and a friend!” 

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: My name is Samantha Gilman and I am a woman in long-term recovery. What that means is that I have not had a drink or used a drug since March 1st, 2004. I used to live a “looper” lifestyle. For 20 years during my active addiction, I would go from home, to jail, to treatment, to a half-way house, and back through the loop again. It took 10 rounds of treatment and a 48 month of a prison sentence hanging over my head to turn my life around. I am now a mother, wife, daughter, friend, co-worker, and part of the Mankato recovery community for the past 15 years. Becoming a Peer Recovery Specialist has truly been a dream come true!

Q: How long have you been a peer specialist?

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A: I have been a Peer Recovery Specialist for a local non-profit for 2 years. I am knowledgeable in all recovery resources in our area and have recovery check-ins with my peers to find a pathway to recovery that will work for them to better their lives.

Q: What inspired you to become a peer specialist?

A: From day one I dove headfirst into helping other people in recovery achieve greatness and live a meaningful life. I never knew that my passion could be a career! As a Peer Recovery Specialist, I love to watch my peers succeed and grow in their recovery.

Q: What advice would you give to a new peer specialist just entering the field?

A: The number one advice I would give a new Peer Recovery Specialist is to take it slow and watch for “burn out”.

Q: What other ways are you involved in the recovery community?

A: A person close to me and I hold annual recovery events to help end the stigma of addiction and to show newcomers that it’s possible to have fun in recovery! I am always willing to lend a hand to a person who is trying to come into recovery and for those with years of recovery.

Q: What hobbies do you like to participate in outside of work?

A: In my spare time I love to go cave diving, play with my child, plan events, and just be with family and friends.

If you are reading this and are new to recovery, stay with it! Find people to talk to and reach out to them. We can do anything as long as we live this “new” way of life!!! Keep showing up for life!

Thank you for the nomination Kara, and thank you, Samantha, for all you do for the community!