So What Is Peer Support?
We hear this term thrown around now all over the place in the community. Peer Support in its basic form is two people coming together that have like experiences but one of these people is farther along in recovery or on the journey than the other. Now it is more intricate than that but that is basically what it is. Peer support also has a few names including peer mentorship and coaching.
You can have peer support and Peer Support Specialists in a ton of different life experiences but it can be narrowed down to three main categories. Mental health, physical illness and substance use. In general, peer support works by the fact that people who have like experiences can better relate and can consequently offer more authentic empathy and validation. It is also not uncommon for people with similar lived experiences to offer each other practical advice and suggestions for strategies that professionals may not offer or even know about.
Maintaining its non-professional vantage point is crucial in helping people rebuild their sense of community when they’ve had a disconnecting kind of experience. I am a Veteran Peer Support Specialist I specialize in veteran issues and reintegration. I also have personal experience with mental health, substance use and eating disorders. As a Peer Support Specialists, I help veterans and others get their feet back under them after they have fallen. I help them get up, will carry them to treatment if needed, them dust them off after they get the professional help they need.
Playing The Victim Card Will Get You Nowhere
What I do is a two-way street the people I help must make progress, take my advice or use the tools and resources I give them to find a better way that works for them. I will not help people that are playing the victim card and doing nothing to help themselves. If it is identified that you need treatment, then go to treatment. Recovery from trauma, addiction, abuse and shitty life choices is not easy. It takes hard work, but if you want to get better it is always easier with a guide.
The biggest downfall I see in people I deal with is the lack of honesty with themselves. Once they are truly honest with themselves and identify their problems and talk about them we can get to work. I have three things that must be achieved to live a basic fulfilling life those are forgiveness, trust and gratitude. You must have these three things to move through life especially after trauma, moral injury, addiction and abuse. I will cover these in detail in a later post.
What Is It To Be A Man?
Another issue I have really been focusing on as of late is the aspect of being a Man. Helping men be a better man; a lot of men are tired of coming up short as a man, father, husband or leader. In my journey I have found eight tools that have changed my life and my families for the better. I have started integrating these tools into my peer support and have seen great results.
I will also go over these tools in a later post and podcast in the very near future. If you are interested in looking deeper into peer support look to your local community for resources. Every state and community has different resources but there are a few organizations that can be used in multiple states. You can also reach out to me on Facebook or my email at Bennett@warriorhall.org.