This is our final post from CMWN intern Savannah Christie.

We wish you the best of luck in all that you do!

We’re here, we’re your peers

Walking into the first day of training felt like walking into the first day of high school; feeling nervous but at the same time curious and excited to see what peer specialist training entailed.  I was uncertain of the people I would meet in training and nervous to discuss some potentially touchy subjects.  But as I walked through that door and was met with nothing but smiles and “how are you,” I knew I was in a safe place.  Despite all of us having different experiences and being at different places in our recovery, we were all there for the same reason: to use our lived experiences and recovery tools to assist and advocate for peers dealing with mental illnesses and/or drug and alcohol addictions. In fact, many of my peers reminded me of family members or friends.  Not only because they carried themselves like them, but because I truly felt comfortable confiding and listening to everyone in the class.  Don’t get me wrong, certain topics like trauma informed care and crisis scenarios were hard for me to be fully engaged with because of the thoughts it brought up for me.  However, the simple sentiment of knowing that my peers in the class have had similar experiences and were probably experiencing some unsettling emotions as well was comforting for me.  Such topics emphasized the importance of self-care and the necessity of reflecting on my own recovery at the end of the day and how I could apply tools learned in training, from the instructors and peers, in my recovery. For example, one peer often utilized mood charts, another peer introduced the benefits of drinking alkaline water, while another student brought in “crisis kits” for each peer.  I often found myself jotting down little phrases and quotes from other peers that just clicked and really resonated with me.

I can only hope that I was as much of an inspiration as my instructors and peers were to me.  The passion and hope that I saw in every one of my peers in this class was simply heart warming.  My peers were in this training because they genuinely want to help others get to a more positive, safe and confident stage in their life.  I am extremely grateful that I had the privilege of meeting all these influential and strong people, an opportunity and experience that I probably would not have gained from elsewhere.  Not only do I feel more confident in my recovery process, but in myself and my ability to provide my peers with support.

We’re Here, We’re Your Peers