Enjoy this article, which was written by our friend, Gerald Butler, a Peer Support Specialist at the Michigan Recovery Centre of Excellence – C.H.A.R.G.E. program.
C.H.A.R.G.E. – Center of Healing Arts, Recovery, Growth, & Empowerment
Believe It, Achieve It!
When Charlotta Gavin first came to the Recovery Band about singing with us, she was very meek and soft spoken. By the second rehearsal, she had begun to feel safe around the band members. She began bringing photos of her childhood to practice and sharing her personal life with us. It turns out that Charlotta grew up in a musical family so it was natural for her want to sing in a band. We literally watched her blossom before our eyes. Since then, Charlotta has become much more active in her own recovery, working closely with her therapists, becoming a Certified Peer Specialist, and spreading hope among other consumers.
Charlotta has no idea how deeply she affected the band. She made us feel so much better about ourselves. In fact she changed the direction we were headed. Since the band is based on peer support, it was natural for us to provide a safe, growth and recovery-centered environment at rehearsals. What Charlotta showed us was how well it works. We are honored that she trusted us enough to let us into her life. We were proud when she bought tears to folk’s eyes by singing the Gospel song “Order My Steps” at the MIAPSRS Conference in Frankenmuth.
We have mixed feelings about Charlotta taking charge of her life. She has set a personal goal of reducing the amount of medication she has to take. She realizes that to accomplish this she must work very closely with her doctors and therapists. The band practices nights and weekends but the new medication she is taking requires her to be home early. She feels that if she is going to take charge of her recovery she must: keep an open and honest relationship with her therapist, follow her physician’s orders, and keep herself healthy both physically and spiritually. This leaves little
Hear My Pleas
If there is one statement I hear from just about every consumer it is “No one listens to me”. All we did was provide an environment where she could be herself and Charlotta showed us that God’s perfection exists in everyone, no matter who they are. We did not teach her anything or provide any sort of therapy. We simply listened to her dreams of singing with a band and did what we could to make it possible. We all grew as a result of this positive exchange of energy, which is why we consider Charlotta Gavin the pioneer of CHARGE.
When I was first diagnosed I felt so hopeless that I became dependant on others to tell me who I was, and what I had to do. I now realize that I cannot heal without a basic understanding of who I am, and what I am capable of. Just as toxic environments can damage a person’s psyche, safe, nurturing, environments have the power to heal. In fact, studies indicate that a healthy, positively charged environment could have a positive effect on the physical body.
CHARGE is not treatment, therapeutic, or an arts program. CHARGE is an environment where folks in recovery can focus on their talents and abilities. It is the embodiment of the Georgia model of Peer Support .