Oh boy my case manager is here!


Yeah, right. I have been thinking about what a hard to find resistant consumer I was.Years ago when I received services from a veterans center I wanted as little to do with case managers as possible. I wanted to set up my standards for recovery. I found the job that eventually led me to my current position. But at the same time I resisted the duties that were assigned to me and was eventually dismissed from the center. In retrospect it was one of the best things that could have happened.

I think back to Bob Dylan’s religious song, Serve Somebody. There was a line that went “It may be the devil or it may be the lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” I was focusing on a girl friend I had in Boston. But instead I should have focused on trust. I should have told myself, “You’re gonna have to trust somebody.” As my life fell apart I was distrustful and tried to manipulate people.  When I became a peer specialist I saw people who were behaving just the way that I did. They had suspicions about their case managers and tried to hide away and develop their own recovery plans.

If their plans included drinking beer all day, so be it. Who were they serving? Themselves or some inner demons? I think back to a friend who participated in groups like NAMI and developed a warm and trusting relationship with a companion. But ultimately he died in the winter snow Who was he serving?

Ultimately my recovery has been based upon developing layers of trust. With consumers, the case managers and the upper management at our agency. I try to tread lightly when necessary as I intrude upon people’s lives because I realize that not too long ago, I was one of those hard to reach people. I have reached a critical mass of people who are getting positive results. It may be relapse or it may be recovery but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.

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