Wednesday, August 20, 2008

From Gerald Butler


If anyone still has doubts about consumers’ ability to do great things,
then you should have attended The First Annual Tri-County Recipients’
Rights Conference. Choices of venue, organization skills, workshops,
etc. were as good or better as any conference I have attended. Call
it recovery-enhanced environment; or a welcoming atmosphere; there is
just something about consumer directed event that leaves us feeling
better about ourselves. The better we feel about ourselves, the harder
we work on our recovery. Since this was only the first conference, I
am really looking forward to next year’s event.

As we transform the system of treatment and recovery in Michigan, consumer
directed events are becoming the norm. They provide us an opportunity
to practice and to hone life skills such as responsibility and working
with others. In addition, these events give us the self- esteem of a
job well done. Being responsible for something gives a person self-pride,
and working with others offers a sense of belonging. These are natural
human desires and play a vital role in the recovery process. We must
seek out the new leaders of the system who are willing to grant us the
same basic human desires due every human being. And with their help,
we can take responsibility for our recovery and our lives.

I remember years ago when a certain administrator treated me with respect
and compassion. My first thought was that she would soon realize that
I was flawed and would no longer have anything to do with me. She was
so persistent that I had to take a look at what it was she saw
in me. She made me realize that my shortcomings were not as valuable
as my good points. By utilizing my assets I have organized three Empowerment
Days and a consumer band, all because someone had faith in me. I appreciate
that there are many folks who are just like I was and who need someone
in their lives who simply cares about them.

If I were a theologian, a professor, or a physician, I could probably
explain why or how, all I know for certain is that love hastens the
healing process. It also seems that those who have been without love,
have a greater appreciation of how to give and receive it. When consumers
put on conferences, it is not for their own benefit or to help an organization.
Consumers stage events to pass the message of hope and recovery to those
who are going through what we have been through. Consumers do this out
of love, and love is sufficient unto it self. So when love is given
in such a pure manner, it has healing characteristics. This is why the
Recovery Band gets excited when we are invited to entertain at a consumer
event such as the Tri County Conference.

: There are certain vital contributions consumers are capable of that
will never fit into an out dated system. One cannot fit a square peg
into a round hole. Thus, I wholeheartedly thank the dedicated leaders
in Michigan who spend their days opening new doors for us, and for consistently
encouraging us to do our best.

Gerald Butler

Amor vincit
omnia/ Love conquers all

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