Peer Recovery Support Specialist
The first concept I had a hard time accepting as a role of a peer recovery support specialist is the concept of harm reduction. I have sponsored and continue to sponsor recovering alcoholics and addicts in AA, and in these rooms harm reduction is not consistent with being clean and sober. However, the training I attended led me to understand that sobriety, while indeed a long-term goal, may not be what is the most important quality of life an individual a peer recovery support specialist is hoping to help may initially need. For example, I have a friend who is working as a peer recovery support specialist in Austin Texas and he is working directly with the homeless population in Austin. It should go without saying that his helping a homeless individual with achieving any amount of sobriety will greatly increase if the individual has shelter, food, transportation, and other forms of recovery capitol. In addition to helping this individual accumulate recovery capital the peer recovery support specialist may be required to help an individual to have medical and mental health needs met, all while setting an example of the improved quality of life sobriety can lead to.
Most times peer recovery support specialists don’t initially encounter those they can help on the grounds of helping them to achieve sobriety, so who are they to demand it in the first place in exchange for any help they may be able to provide? I have seen people quit using every other drug besides marijuana and witnessed substantial improvements in the quality of life. So today its not hard to understand that as a peer recovery support specialist I would consider it a victory if I could watch a person’s life greatly improve in conjunction with a decreased in the amounts and types of drugs they were consuming.
I consider my relationships with my sober coaching clients as equal relationships built on a professional relationship. This differs as my role as a peer recovery support specialist where I’m helping an individual meet certain needs. As a sober coach I see myself as a guide providing many pathways towards recovery. While working for many, twelve step programs don’t work for everybody. Therefore, a good sober coach will be knowledgeable of several recovery programs while displaying the characteristics of a good sponsor in that the sober coach should be a great example of the quality of life that can be achieved as a result of long term sobriety.
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