from Gerald Butler:
The coolest thing about being a part of consumer directed events has got to be watching people’s self esteem blossom right before ones eyes. When the ‘Peer Support Specialist Committee’ was first organized it was meant to be an Ad Hoc committee for Empowerment Day. From the beginning we had all sorts of safe guards in place to assure the ‘Committee’ was involved in every aspect of the decision-making process. Due to our Peer Support training, we no longer look upon each other in terms of “I am better than you’ but more as “Lets help each other recover and grow? So over the past few months, we have been learning some exciting things about ourselves and about the system of change.
Whenever a group of people assembles to complete a task, its success is largely dependent on how much respect the members have for each other. If the entire group is on the same page as far as outcomes are concerned, then the odd of success are even greater. As Peer Specialists we place high value on self-respect, respect for others, and that recovery is possible. Therefore it was easy for the committee to get right down to the task at hand, ‘Empowerment Day’. Each member of the committee wants the exact same thing: one day a year dedicated solely and exclusively to the consumer. Both logic and the New Freedom Commission Report dictate that for an event such as this to achieve its goal of consumer empowerment, consumers should handle all aspects of the event.
As we met and decided what needed to be done, it also became clear there was a certain amount of ‘Stigma’ on both our side and administrators. Administrators must accept the fact that consumers are capable of doing great things; all we need is the proper support. Consumers must first believe in ourselves, and then find positive leaders in the system of treatment that believe in us. We expected and received a certain amount of opposition: what we didn’t expect was the large amount of administrators who supported us for no other reason than they simply believed in us. It is not the big leaders in the system who do us harm. The really big leaders of the system are walking by our sides on the road to recovery.
The ‘Peer Support Specialist Empowerment Committee’ is proud to have been able to pour our hearts, souls, labor, compassion, and pure love, into this gift to those whose suffering has entitled them to the best the world has to offer, the Consumer. The biggest thing we hope will happen is that by the end of the day at least one person will have come to believe that: Recovery is Possible.