Sharing the road to recovery
Frederick Stevens is candid about his past. “I’ve had my battles with alcohol and mental illness.” He is also up front about what is helping him: the Toronto Community Addiction Team (TCAT) Peer Project.
This new project offers TCAT participants the chance to learn skills in conflict resolution, facilitation and advocacy, all in a harm reduction framework. “The workshops have opened my eyes. It’s huge learning things like that.”
One of the big advantages is being around people who have been down the same road. “We’ve all walked on some very thin ice. We’re lucky to have people share their experiences. You’re with your peers and you don’t feel judged. It made it much easier to open up about my issues. ”
But the Peer Project offers something else: The chance to help others. Peer workers use their newfound skills to facilitate training sessions and provide support for other TCAT participants. For Frederick, that is perfect. “I want to work with people in a grassroots way and show them how it’s helping me. I want to show them that I’m not alone in my desire to help others in the community. And the project does that. It shows people I still have value.”