What Is a Peer Support Worker?

In society, we recognize the importance of role models for showing people that they can achieve their dreams. Peer support is a more targeted, specific version of this. For someone who is new to the recovery process, healing can seem impossible. Even when counselors, therapists and doctors tell you getting better is possible, it’s too easy to dismiss them, thinking of them as authority figures who don’t understand.

A peer support worker approaches the relationship from an entirely different angle. They are someone you automatically view as an equal, and you know unequivocally that they understand what you are going through. They share all the wisdom and experience that helped them to regain control over their symptoms and get where they are today.

Meet Our Peer Supporters

Shaun, Director of Peer Support

Shaun is an individual who has struggled with addiction for a good part of his life. After multiple trips to various jails and institutions, he has made a decision to turn his life around and to use his own experiences as a way to help those around him. Shaun spends his time raising a little girl and they share a love for outdoor activities like mountain biking, kayaking, and snowboarding.

Brianna, Peer Recovery Support Manager

After a multi-decade battle with drugs and alcohol, Brianna has maintained sobriety for over 5 and a half years. Brianna is passionate about helping others who are still struggling. She attends 12-step meetings and spends time with sober friends. In her free time, she enjoys music and singing, visiting with her family and spending time in nature. Brianna has two dogs, her “kids,” and loves snuggling up with them on lazy afternoons.

Mark

Mark has his B.A. in Communication from Youngstown State University and has been in recovery since 2012. In his spare time, Mark enjoys golfing, watching sports and listening to music.

Seth

“My name is Seth and I’m a grateful person in recovery. Throughout my sobriety I have learned new things about myself and allowed myself to grow and find purpose. In my free time I like to play sports, spend time with family and play video games. Going to recovery meetings, events and helping people is where I find myself most spiritually connected.”

Josh

Josh is an individual whose past is riddled with addiction and the consequences suffered because of it. Prison: both in the literal sense as well as the mental and spiritual aspect. After years of hurting loved ones, treatment and subsequent recovery has provided the necessary skills needed to begin to take the steps toward becoming a functioning, active, recovered drug addict. Professionally, he has counseled and supported men engaged in the recovery process. Personally, he sponsors men in early recovery to give back the gift that was freely given to him. 

Shane

“Hi, my name is Shane and I am a 38-year-old father of five with a sobriety date of 2/6/2016. I have a new found passion for living that I love to share with anyone who is interested in a better way of life. I didn’t get sober to be miserable, so lets have fun! Learning to combat everyday struggles in a positive manner is a goal that we can reach together.”

Nick

Nick found joy in being sober and the quality of life that comes with sobriety. Nick loves to exercise, specifically practicing mixed martial arts. He enjoys helping addicts and alcoholics find the same joys in recovery and helping them maintain long-term sobriety. 

All of On Demand Counseling’s Peer Supporters are ready and excited to work with you or your loved one in recovery and finding a new love for life.

Email us today to meet with one of our peer supporters or learn more about our program.

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How do peer supporters help in recovery?

When you’ve been struggling with addiction and all the difficulties that come with it, inspiration seems like a distant dream. However, inspiration, motivation and desire will be the driving forces of your recovery. The primary benefit of peer workers is the fact that they can help you access positive, helpful feelings towards yourself and the recovery process. Trust and understanding are crucial, so we always make sure you and your individual worker are an excellent match.

There are hundreds of myths about substance use disorders and recovery. When you first enter rehab, your mind will be full of expectations, prejudices and concerns. Most of these will disappear as you see how loving, comfortable and practical our recovery community is.

However, there are always some unhelpful beliefs about recovery that remain. Your support specialist can help you separate fact from fiction and provide reassurance. There might be questions you feel are too embarrassing or silly to ask a medical professional. In this case, you can ask your mentor. The chances are that they’re such an addiction recovery pro that they’ll know the answer. If not, they’ll find a way to confidentially get the answers for you.

In some cases, they’ll encourage you to seek out information for yourself. When it comes to healing from substance use disorders or managing mental health symptoms, education is crucial. The better you understand what causes you to feel the way you do, the easier it is to understand. Learning how drugs and alcohol affect the brain also helps to inspire the motivation necessary to move forward in your recovery efforts.

Some people describe addiction as a gradual lowering of interests until eventually, only the substance of choice is left. This can go on for months or even years before seeking help. During this time, your self-esteem and inner confidence usually suffer significantly. No matter how tough you are, excessively using drugs or alcohol puts an additional strain on your body and mind. Even highly functional addicts lose track of their hopes and dreams.

Your peer mentor will help you to identify your strengths and feel proud of them. You’ll work together to set short-, medium- and long-term goals. Quickly, you’ll start smashing your short-term goals — which is an excellent way of gaining momentum to grab any opportunities that come your way.

What Are the Main Benefits of Peer Support?

The benefits of peer support in mental health and addiction treatment are almost endless. Within the recovery community, these support groups have long been understood as the most effective form of aftercare. Alcoholics Anonymous and similar organizations have formed a blueprint for another variety of peer support: sponsorship. This is where a member who has gained full control over their symptoms offers guidance to a more junior person within the community.

All this guidance happens on top of the treatment you get from counselors at On Demand Counseling. This extra layer of care is designed to give you the absolute best chance of recovery from addiction.

There is a stigma attached to addiction — no denying that. The result of this is that lots of people who struggle with this debilitating medical condition feel shame and guilt.

Feeling bad about yourself or hiding away in shame won’t help you to get better or get back on track to living your best life. Your peer support person will help you to see the myriad of strengths you have to empower you to make the most of them.

When you have someone working as closely with you as your mentor does, the service you receive can be much more personalized. In one-on-one therapy or group therapy sessions, the relationship is close and you’ll open up to them. However, with your peer supporter, you’ll be able to speak to them about anything. This means you’re more likely to get what you need out of the recovery process.

Lots of people who suffer from addiction or mental illness have had struggles in their personal relationships. Whether this is a result of society misunderstanding you, a challenging upbringing or just falling in with the wrong crowd, it doesn’t mean you’re broken. These people can help you by guiding you gently through a healthy interpersonal relationship with boundaries and respect.

Find Out More About the Benefits of Peer Support Today

There is a multitude of evidence to back up the effectiveness of peer support in mental health. Call On Demand Counseling today at 330-270-8610 to find out more about these benefits in the treatment of addiction.

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For more information about how On Demand Counseling in East Liverpool, Austintown, and Newton Falls can help you change your life, call 330-270-8610.

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