Life experience is key for certified peer support specialists

By Andy Steiner, MinnPost

A few years ago, Chris Shaw was in addiction treatment at the Minneapolis VA when he met a man who changed his life. The man was a peer support specialist, a person in recovery from substance use disorder and mental illness who had been trained to provide support to people with shared life experiences.



We heal each other as we heal ourselves. –Janet Watson, Certified Peer Specialist since 2014

To me, recovery doesn’t mean being “cured”. It means knowing that you can handle whatever’s thrown at me. –Charlene, Peer Support Program Participant for 3 years

That I am treated like a normal person. That peers can achieve greatness. It has helped me to know someone was in the same shoes I walk in. –Peer Support Program Participant

I am motivated by the strength of others and the hope that others have shown me. I look up to those who are moving along in their recovery in positive ways and are setting examples of healthy recovery journeys. –Judy, Peer Support Program Participant for 5 years

I want to be a peer support someday. —Peer Support Program Participant

They validate my feelings and care about me. They have helped me reach my goals. –Peer Support Program Participant