The Value of Peer Support in Recovery
Individuals in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction need to know that they are not alone. That is why the support of family and friends is so important. The support of a Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) can also be invaluable as individuals navigate a new, healthier way to live. Connecting with someone who has a similar story and who understands where the individual is coming from can become the most important source of support and hope for them.
What is a Certified Recovery Specialist?
A Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS) is an individual who brings the lived experience of recovery, combined with training and supervision, to assist others in initiating and maintaining recovery. A CRS serves as a role model, a mentor, an advocate, and a motivator, providing a range of person-centered, strengths-based supports for long-term recovery management.
How a CRS Can Help
The role of a Certified Recovery Specialist is to help individuals find and follow their own recovery paths, without judgment, rules, or expectations. They do this by sharing their own lived experience and practical guidance. As a complement to counseling and treatment that individuals are receiving, CRSs connect individuals to needed systems and resources in the community, help them to define their life goals, and create strategies for self-empowerment.
Benefits of Working with a CRS
Working with a CRS can improve an individual’s quality of life, improve their engagement with services, and increase their overall health and self-management. According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), individuals who work with a CRS experience the following benefits:
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Increased ability to bring about changes in their lives
- Increased sense of hope and inspiration
- Increased empathy and acceptance
- Increased engagement in self-care and wellness
- Increased social support and social functioning
- Decreased substance use and depression
- Decreased hospital admission rates and longer community tenure