this past year brought a new level of fearlessnss into my realm. i have been working on a new idea to direct some energy towards. i have wanted a new passion and this seems a natural fit.
as i conducted the two searches for a job this year, i compiled and updated a resume and a profile on linkedin. i decided to create a list of the peer-to-peer related endeavors i have engaged in since the onset of my recovery and was a bit surprised at the information i gleaned. i am posting that list:
- Certified Trainer of Peer Recovery Coaches via Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery
- Engaged in blogging with a post named “kickintina” in 2007
- Developed peer-to-peer quarterly newsletter “On the TEN” for HIV Community 2008-2014Established Peer Advocacy 501C3 organization named TEN – Treatment Education Network in 2009
- Recognized as Advocate of the Year 2010 by Advocates for Recovery Colorado
- Implemented Meth Treatment and Recovery Program for Englewood Agency 2012
- Created and maintained recovery oriented blog “The Climb” for AFR Colorado 2011-2012
- Served as Recovery Rally Chair for AFR Rally for Recovery 2011 and 2012.
- Co-Facilitated HIV+ Recovery Support Group as peer in tandem with LPC at A.R.T.S. 2005-2006
- Implemented a peer support group for LGBT seeking recovery from methamphetamine 2006
- Co Chair Denver Office of HIV Resources Planning Council 2006-2010
- Strength In Numbers Colorado Moderator 2007-2009
- Managed Cicatelli & Associates training for Peer Mentoring and HIV One on One Colorado in 2009
reviewing this list rekindled an interest in developing a new peer project. i drafted the following letter and sent it out to 25 colleagues. have received 12 responses and am now considering a place and time for a brainstorming session, while i research the not-for-profit checklists i have discovered. my desire is to create a framework for peer mentor education – from a few angles-
a peer mentor academy which can hopefully standardize some basic elements of peer interaction which might create some consistency for peers regarding boundaries and self-care not simply for substance recovery, but health issues such as hiv, hcv, cancers, tbi’s, ptsd of many forms, and a host of other possibilities.
a media based outlet to disseminate the power of peer to peer support through personal interviews with peer mentors and mentees.
compile a library of interviews which can be utilized for educating individuals, organizations, and foundations and increase dialogue around the value of experience and survival to be included as standard practice when developing research and treatment.
posting the letter here:
Friends and Colleagues….
i am toying with the idea of starting a new volunteer-directed enterprise sometime in 2015 which will focus on peer to peer education and support- mentors sharing their experience with thriving and surviving, change and recovery, acceptance and success. perhaps with focus through a media outlet and a peer academy. it would include a platform for other interested parties to begin their own programs or develop their ideas, utilize media to create, educate, inspire and inform and to reassure others they are not alone.
i remember how empowered i felt when i started helping others address their HIV issues. i had no idea that i had experience in that area of life that was worth sharing and i remember a palpable shift in my own acceptance of my abilities.
i also remember how lost i felt when i was trying to get sober because i had no idea how to “normal” things like have dinner or be social without using or drinking. i needed help from other experienced people to figure it out even though i hated to ask for help.
the feeling of being “alone” while dealing with big health issues is a connecting thread in so many issues that people encounter during the course of their lifetime. peer support and connection can carry enough weight to change the course of treatment and recovery in this process.
this in our varied sub-cultures (and society at large) is a worthwhile endeavor in my mind. it may add value to the lives of others. visibility of this concept and availability and access to this support mechanism may change the course of an individual’s recovery/ resiliency process. what we teach we learn, and while people are learning new skills to live by this may enhance their skillset, their sanity, and their survival.
will you consider joining me in developing this idea? if time is a consideration, perhaps feedback as well as other types of support can be solicited from you.
i would very much like this to carry the perception of professional and/or certified peer support with a focus on education, opportunity, and personal development utilizing evidence-based practices and strength based outreach and support.
this is in the infant stage in development and i plan to follow some protocol such as the following. i will set up a general meeting sometime in late january/early february so-
please rsvp if you would like to attend or participate on some level.