Class for Crazies

I’m having a wonderful time so far this week (and am scheduled through the end of next week) taking a Peer Support Training class.  This class has been giving me wonderful tools in working on my own recovery, with the goal of teaching others how to take control of THEIR recovery, and includes what were probably the major missing links in why some people resist my help.  I’ll talk about that later, but the fact is, I’m too goal-oriented, here’s-what-you-should-do, controlling… I’m learning to help people become Their Own Expert, not show them how *I* would run their life.  Wow.

The company is Meridian Behavioral Services, using tools from Recovery Innovations, Inc.  RI has offices in 30 states so far, and SOMEHOW the state mental health systems are letting them get away with EMPOWERING the clients, not just babysitting them and making sure they’re taking their medications.  Meridian is the local management entity for the most-western 7 counties in  NC, and they’ve been working for the past 3 years to implement the Recovery Innovations program, which has forced them to part company with many or their former employees who could not get their heads out of the “medical model”.

On the first day, I told them that I had been successfully off psych meds for over 5 years.  In the past, this is where they would predict that I would relapse some day and need their drugs — but the group leader said: THAT’S WHAT WE WANT TO HEAR!  THAT’S GREAT!

Wow.  Something has happened here.  The world I’m living in is becoming the one I wished for, not the hell I’ve been living in for 56 years.  Sometimes I cry out of sheer surprise and joy, sometimes out of fear that I might not fit in…  but I keep moving my feet forward.  That’s the only way I got to where I am, and the only way I’m going to move ahead from here.

Recovery Innovations, Inc. Mission Statement:  To create opportunities and environments that empower people to recover, to succeed in accomplishing their goals, and to reconnect to themselve, others, and meaning and purpose in life.

Their definition of “recovery”:  Recover is remembering who you are and using your strengths to become all that you were meant to be. 

“Peer Support is about partnering with people to assist them in discovering the expertise they already have inside of themselves.”

Their training plan uses the CHEES principle:


They have also, along with hope and spirituality, restore the word “LOVE” to treatment.  If you don’t care about your clients, they won’t care about you OR themselves.

At the end of this course, I will be eligible for employment as a Peer Support Specialist — there are 20 students in the class, and 13 organanizations coming to Graduation to talk employment (and nobody said they only wanted one person each).  I will also have 3 hours of college credit in Mental Health Peer Support AND 3 hours of college credit in Substance Abuse Peer Support, from an accredited junior college.



[edited to correct some misinformation in the early paragraphs]

Comments (2)

  1. Moonlit_Lass

    That’s awesome! What a huge breakthrough to realize that and not only realize it but be open to change as well. Takes quite a spirit of openess to do that and not all are capable or willing. Kudos to you!

  2. mordewis

    @Moonlit_Lass – Oh, hon, I’ve been working ACTICELY for at least 5 years to make this happen… but I had no reason to hope it would happen anytime soon. For me, this is a bigger miracle than electing Obama.


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