Monday, April 14, 2008

Hope Is

from Gerald Butler:


Hope is here in the sense that it is a power, which drives those of us who love peace and truly work for it. We must decide at this moment to love, at this moment to be just, at this moment to be devoted to the great principles of life. The Kingdom is already here in that it is in you. Desire has an “I” quality; hope always has a ‘we” quality, and can never be selfish. Dr. Martin Luther King

When we first get into recovery, there are some basic questions we ask ourselves, and they are: Who am I? What am I? Why am I? What are my limits? How should I behave? In reality, these are similar to questions most young adults ask of themselves prior to becoming independent. They then seek out people who will help mentor them in whatever direction he/she has chosen to go in life. Many of us who are now in recovery were in various stages of our illness during young adulthood and are just now seeking answers to these basic life skill questions. The mentors we seek are those referred to in the Freedom Commission Report as ‘The New Leaders of System Transformation”.

No one ‘hopes’ for a pleasant outcome without having a reasonable belief that it is possible. Our recovery is largely dependent upon our level of involvement in the process. To do well in recovery, we must seek out and work side by side with the ‘New Leaders’: those provide us with a belief that we are worth investing time and effort in. Armed with this belief, the next step in the recovery process is hope, which provides us with the strength and desire to work toward a better future for ourselves, and others in recovery. The ‘New Leaders of System Transformation 1) help us to answer the question ‘Who am I2) Provide us with the dignity, respect, and hope; we need to become the best of who we are.

Years ago when Pam Werner and Irene Kazieczko (Michigan Department of Community Health) first introduced Person Centered Planning to Michigan they were quite proud. However, after a few years they begin to notice it was not quite enough, something was missing. Not knowing exactly what she was looking for, Pam Werner spent nights and weekends for at least a year, surfing the net until she found ‘Georgia Mental Health Peer Support’. That still was not enough for them, so they established the ‘Recovery Council’ and spearheaded the drive to bring in ‘The Recovery Center of Excellence’. When I asked Irene if she thought her efforts would have as great an impact as they have she said “I knew that as an administrator, if I applied pure love in my decisions, I could help consumers heal”.

HOPE is unselfish and given freely. Sharing hope and love is why we have Empowerment Day. A consumer originated ‘Empowerment Day’. This year the flyers, agenda, decorating, themes, absolutely every aspect of this years celebration is being done by consumers. Our sole purpose is to demonstrate that ‘Recovery is Possible’. HOPE is a ‘we’ thing, and at this years celebration one of our ‘New Leaders’ will offer something very special. Veda Sharp (Detroit Wayne County CMH/ Director) will speak on the Agency’s progress toward System Transformation and on a bright future she has in mind for Wayne County consumers.

Leading up to Empowerment Day, ‘Recovery’ the consumer band will be playing the Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards Spring Conference, opening and closing the International Self Determination Conference, and The Gateway Consumer Awards Banquet. By Empowerment Day we will have gained a lot of love and encouragement and will be passing it on to those for whom the day is all about. The Peer Support Empowerment Committee is proud of the work we have done to be able to dedicate this one-day to the consumers.

Gerald Butler

Peer Support Specialist.

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