Peer 2 Peer

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.

At the first Peer Support training someone relayed a quote which said ‘the hotter the fire the purer the gold’. Ancient tradition, Myth, and Religion, all stress that through suffering comes glory and you have been through the hottest of fires. Through your suffering you have amassed a large amount of spiritual glory, and you cannot expect an equal amount of praise from man. You may not have political clout, or a full time position with benefits. What you do have is a genuine desire to help others, and for that you should be proud. This is what makes you gold and you must use all your wisdom gained from suffering, to stay in that golden realm. Do not let yourself be dragged into dark situations by participating in gossip, anger, fear, jealousy, or any other negativity.  

Your recovery is hard to come by, and it was a long process to get where you are today.  However, it can be easily lost or you can unknowingly give it away. Each time you cast aspersions on someone who walks in your shoes, you begin to reverse the recovery process. If what people (who are not even in recovery) think of you, becomes more important than what you think of yourself, you are slipping back into darkness. Back in the sixties we used the phrase ‘Vibes’ as in someone having a good or bad aura. You have a highly developed sense good and bad, and must come to rely on your true feelings more. When you get ‘Good Vibes’ from someone be sure to get a # number, e mail address, or something to make sure you stay in contact. The same with the ‘Bad Vibes’: do your best to stay away from negative people and situations. Stay on the level where you are treated as the ‘Golden’ person you really are, find a TRUE Peer Supporter.

Remember the promises you made when life was at it’s nadir: that you would never treat another human being the way you were being treated, that if you ever got well, you would do all you could to help others. You also promised you would never think of yourself as ‘Better Than’ because of how it hurt you when someone did that to you.  You made those pledges sincerely and from the heart, and now you are doing all you can to keep them. This makes you ‘Golden’. However, you must remain strong and vigilant, and value your recovery as you would any other sacred treasure. In the eyes of your brothers and sisters of the Peer Support Movement, and certainly in the eyes of God, you are worth all the gold in the world. Hold you head high, walk proud, and respect yourself, and honor those who depend on you, and whom you depend on. Call a Peer Supporter.

By trying to bring peace and harmony into negative situations while walking in honor, you must expect unjust attacks. Often when attempting to defend yourself, before realizing it, you’ll find yourself alone in that dark place. We must be resolute, but also keep an open mind, and have the willingness to work with anyone who believes in our recovery journey.  Through your suffering you have grown closer to your higher power, and since you have free will, you can choose to leave that ideal place.  Instead I think you should enjoy your recovery, spread as much hope as you can, support you brothers and sisters in the Peer Movement. Mostly you must never, ever, purposely harm someone who walks and talks just like you do.

Gerald Butler
Peer Specialist/Advocate


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