Monday, October 26, 2009


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‘We hold these truths to be self evident, all men are created equal’

Utilizing talent to fight stigma 

       People trying to recover from disabilities face stigma on a daily basis and it does not matter how significant our accomplishments may be. Days when we are not being reminded how sick we are and that we must be compliant, are good days. Needless to say, this environment provides no encouragement to folks trying to heal. As our individual capabilities and talents are limited, our aspirations and hopes are also limited.  Being able to express ones self artistically increases self-esteem, a necessary component of recovery.

      Considering the development of natural competencies provides much needed self-esteem, there is far too much under utilized talent among folks with disabilities. Art is an expression of ones inner self, and it can be therapeutic in the right environment. I started the Recovery Band to show that folks with disabilities are capable of attaining the same levels of achievement as any one else. As a result band members have grown stronger in our recovery.  Now we encourage others to find people in the system that will help them realize their full potential. 

       Unless and until consumers are given the opportunity to take charge of our own destiny no one will ever know what we are capable of. Recovery involves our active participation. Thus we must find and work closely with those willing to support our efforts to become independent through the utilization of our natural talents and abilities. Talented people with disabilities are by no means limited to the arts. There are computer experts, mechanics, teachers, lab technicians, office managers, etc. with disabilities who can also excel when given the proper support and encouragement. 

        When I was first diagnosed with an illness I looked to the system to lead me back to health. Today I see that I am in charge of my life and I must seek out leaders in the systems that have the realization of my hopes and dreams at heart. Recovery is a personal choice and by choosing recovery I also must take responsibility for my life. I urge every person seeking recovery to take a close look at what ever it is you do best, and then find someone willing to walk hand in hand with you on your journey in recovery.

Gerald Butler

Certified Peer Specialist


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