For those who are in or seeking recovery from a substance use disorder, few things are more encouraging and valuable than talking to someone who has been in their shoes, knows exactly what they’re going through and has come out on the other side.
This is the role peer support specialists play in our treatment and recovery ecosystem, and their work is critical in helping Kentuckians reach and sustain long-term recovery.
To honor Kentucky’s peer workforce, Governor Andy Beshear has for the first time issued a proclamation recognizing Peer Support Appreciation Week (December 11-17, 2022).
“When you’re dealing with something as difficult as addiction, having encouragement and help from someone who has come out on the other side is really special – and takes a special kind of person,” said Gov. Beshear. “Peer workers are saving people, one life at a time.”
Peer support specialists use their lived, firsthand recovery experience to help others who are in and seeking recovery from SUD. According to SAMHSA, peer support workers – through shared understanding, respect and mutual empowerment – help people become and stay engaged in the recovery process and reduce the likelihood of relapse. Peer support services can effectively extend the reach of treatment beyond the clinical setting, to everyday life.
Addiction Recovery Care is helping to lead the charge to educate people on peer services and to develop more pathways to grow the peer workforce.
“We are so grateful for Governor Beshear’s support for peers in Kentucky,” said Samantha Dowden, Addiction Recovery Care’s Peer Support Manager. “We look forward to continuing the conversation around the peer workforce so that we can help more people reach long-term recovery.”
“For peers like Samantha and me, our recovery, happiness and freedom depend on our ability to carry a message to those who are going through the same challenges we’ve had to overcome. The unique insights we share with those navigating the recovery process are part of the foundation for long-term recovery,” added Brandon Conlin, Director of Peer Support Services for Addiction Recovery Care. “We want to empower peers and give them a voice and a seat at the table so that we can increase access to peer support services and help more of our neighbors and loved ones find hope and healing after addiction.”