Women at Wayside House now have yet another cheerleader in their fight towards living a healthy sober life. Regain self-esteem and control over their lives. Susan Chandler, a six-year employee, has been named Peer Specialist for the women’s addiction recovery center. Her mission, to help women with addiction regain their self-esteem and change their lives. What is a Peer Recovery Specialist? According to the Association for Addiction Professionals, “Recovery Support Specialists are individuals who are in recovery from substance use or co-occurring mental health disorders. Their life experiences and recovery allow them to provide recovery support in such ways that others can benefit from their experiences” For many of us in recovery, it can sometimes be a challenge to get support from therapists or techs that don’t know what we have been through. Sometimes we feel judged or patronized by people that haven’t been in our shoes, which can be detrimental to our recovery. It couldn’t be more the contrary with Susan. As a certified peer recovery specialist, Ms. Chandler draws on her own experiences to not only engage the women but to relate with them. They see her as a friend. She has become someone who accentuates their positives and helps them minimize the negatives. This building of self-esteem boosts both short and long-term recovery. She shows them that they are able to create and meet the personal goals they set for themselves. She guides their development with the confidence to see recovery as something that can really be achieved. Creating Independence Ms. Chandler creates a personal recovery plan for each woman and utilizes strategies based on their own specific abilities and goals. She encourages them to be their own advocates. She stays focused on self-management skills by promoting each woman’s individual strengths. Her personal experience in recovery is living proof that everyone can do it too. For women with dual diagnosis or in need of outside resources, Ms. Chandler helps facilitate the women with access to get the help they need. Why She is a Blessing for Wayside Not only does Ms. Chandler’s unique insight provide her with an even playing field with the women in the center, but she genuinely finds joy in the work she does. “I really enjoy working with the women in recovery because it allows me to use my experience, strength, and hope to help them, and to give back to the program that which was so freely given to me. It is just like paying it forward because I have been in their shoes.” -Ms. Susan Chandler. Ms. Chandler encourages women to identify and overcome negative and defeatist thinking that can creep up so easily in the mind of a newly recovering addict. Far beyond just survival and existence, she guides her clients toward a meaningful life in which they can achieve goals and maintain positive relationships. How Can Recovery Specialists Help Change the Recovery Field Peer recovery specialists are a crucial aspect of the recovery process. As a whole, they are highly valued and welcomed by clients. They are effective listeners, communicators, and role models who offer inspiration. A peer specialist helps a client see that they are not their disease. They show their clients how to evaluate their mental thought patterns, and separate the symptoms of their condition from the reality of their real selves. A peer specialist instills hope and a positive self-image to the client by providing examples of situations where they have made positive changes in their own lives. They empower the client to participate in their own recovery, and to get involved in wellness activities that take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. The peer recovery specialist offers reassurance that the future can be bright and full of change. It is important for both client and the peer recovery specialist to understand that recovery is not a single accomplishment and that it is a process that takes time and has ups and downs. This understanding helps to encourage continued commitment to recovery even when the road seems difficult. That is why it is of the utmost importance that those new to recovery are provided with the top level of care and guidance possible. We are so happy to have Ms. Chandler as a part of our team. She is a crusader in the field, and we are sure that she will be a vital instrument in the recovery of many women’s lives. Need More Tips to Help an Addict or Alcoholic You Love? If you or a loved one need help to overcome addiction, treatment is a proven effective option. If you are a woman looking for treatment, Wayside House can help you. A woman’s treatment center, Wayside House offers a safe, supportive environment and our programs are developed specifically to address the unique needs of women. Call us today at 561-278-0055. Our trained specialists are standing by to help you or a loved one.