Peer Support not only involves asking open, honest questions and listening, but it also involves modeling recovery. The certification gained through training does not guarantee that the Peer Support Specialist will be able to effectively model recovery to an individual. There are a few things that go into modeling recovery that a Peer Specialist may not think about, but are important.
An holistic approach to recovery by definition means that it involves the entire life of a person. Community, family, body, spirit, and mind are interconnected in recovery, and in order to recover from a mental illness and/or substance abuse disorder, all must be considered important. This is difficult to model and is a delicate balance to maintain. The Peer Specialist must do so to prove recovery is possible.
How can a Peer Specialist maintain this challenge? He or she can participate in community-based support groups or volunteer. He or she can do yoga or meditation to balance the stress of the mind and body. A hobby is also a great way to deal with stress. If spiritual, attending church, or maybe just regularly praying, is an idea. Eating a healthy diet and exercising is also a great way to model recovery.
All of the things listed above can be described to someone with whom the Peer Specialist is working. Recovery isn’t just about leaving behind a drug or alcohol addiction; it encompasses the entire being and moves past the label of “mentally ill.” We must take care of our mind, body, and spirit to move on to brighter days. A Peer Specialist must try to model this to others
Rebecca Coursey, KPS
Peer Support Specialist