“Life is suffering”. The first noble truth from Buddha. Suffering is not optional, despite what some in recovery would suggest. In fact, human suffering is at the heart of Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) work. Being a peer is being an equal. I am you and you are me. The CPRS model is choosing to help someone relieve their suffering by sharing some of your own suffering – and how you have learned to continue to heal yourself with the hope your healing can inspire and teach another to heal. The CPRS is born out of the natural human desire to help another when we witness them suffering. Gabor Mate, renowned scholar of trauma and addiction, argues that problematic use of alcohol and/or drugs is an attempt to relieve suffering and that suffering causes shame. Shame and suffering are primary, not addiction. Some seek to comfort in drugs and alcohol and for some that can lead to problematic use, chaotic use which, in turn, causes more suffering and more shame and on and on it goes. The premise behind the CPRS training is to teach individuals how to use their own “lived experience” with suffering and/or suffering they have witnessed in relationship with their drug and alcohol experiences or what they have witnessed in families, in friendship and what they see in the world. The CPRS teaches individuals a coherent philosophy of mutuality, reciprocity and respect – a way of life – alongside evidence-based practical tools to help others in need of some healing, in need of some services, in need of some support and coaching. We create connection – the message being “someone cares”. I believe in the year 2021 everyone in the United States has some form of lived experience with problematic alcohol and drug use or misuse. I also believe it is safe to say that a lot of individuals would like to find some way to help, or to at least understand why some many individuals, especially young people, are turning to drugs and alcohol with often deadly consequences. Fortunately, the “Peer Movement” is thriving not only in NJ but across the country. Peers, unlike counselors, work with individuals who are still using substances and do not demand anything from them – no need to change, no desire to change nor keep in touch with us. We are simply there to offer kindness, compassion, empathy, and curiosity….and it works. We have the data. We are here, unconditionally, and are not going away anytime soon. I would argue Peer Movement has forever changed the landscape of helping individuals with problematic use for the better, in both clinical and non-clinical ways. Become trained to be a CPRS today. Please see below for more information.
The CPRS training provides:
- A state certification issued by the Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey that gives you letters after your name, that can not only help you build your resume but is also is reciprocal with 27 other states.
- The ability work in a variety of settings at hospitals, jails, recovery centers, treatment centers, sober living facilities, courtrooms, etc.
- A chance to enhance your current resume to either begin a career in peer at entry level jobs or raise your status at your current job.
- An opportunity to bring what you have learned to your current job and enrich your own work experience as well as spread your newly found wisdom to supervisors and co-workers.
- A possible transformation of self about your own understanding of addiction and recovery, whether it be for yourself, those you love and/or the world you live in.
Be Well and Talk Soon,