In my own voice


I was getting antsy waiting to do my presentation and feeling tortured by the discussion of the issue certified peer specialists. What did this issue mean to me? Who was I before I was certified? Who am I now? What is my vision of recovery? Where do we go?

I did an improvised version of my presentation in front of the Grassroots family this morning and I probably spoke for around 7 minutes. Tonight I will be giving a somewhat more concise version a couple of minutes briefer. And I statrted working on my notes. Then tomorrow I will talk with legislators. This legislative process is a little tricky because my former State Senator G. Spencer Coggs is now City Treasurer Coggs. And my State Representative is Tamara Grigsby who is retiring for health reasons. I’m going to accompany a friend meeting her representatives and I plan to visit the staff of JoCasta Zamarripa who I have met. I want to start spreading the news.

As it happened the ideas were all there in my lived experiences. As a poorly paid peer specialist I had been evicted, I had been judged according my ability to clean and I had been subject to what I considered arbitrary restrictions by clinicians. And now that I am certified do I want to join an organization that I fundamentally distrust? Is that the reality behind the promise of certifying peer specialists?

It all came together as I was starting to speak, words found themselves inside of me. This was what 8 years of hard work had brought. I think of the Bruce Springsteen song and the line “I’ll wait for you; if I fall behind, wait for me.” Peers, I am waiting for you. Are you coming?

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