The theme of A Forever Recovery’s August 22 graduation was “Peer Appreciation”.
The program relies on camaraderie between clients and this group of graduates really benefitted from that technique.
“When I came here, I didn’t have any intention of making any real friends,” said Todd. “I just wanted to get through the program and get out of here.
“I made some of the realest friends I’ve had my entire life.”
Every graduate that spoke on August 22 thanked his or her peers, and a couple referenced the “blue banders” in attendance. “Blue banders” are the new clients (within the first five days), called so because they wear a blue wristband to differentiate themselves.
“(I know) it seems impossible to be up here,” said Todd. “It seems like just yesterday I had the same mentality. Take it seriously, keep an open mind and surround yourself with positivity.”
Peer-to-peer encouragement plays a significant role because clients relate to one another. While there are many staff members that have been through addiction and recovery themselves, being in the trenches with peers provides a different kind of encouragement.
“This really is a peer-based program,” said Maggie to the current clients in attendance. “If you immerse yourselves in the program and in friendships, you will succeed.
“That being said, I have to give one of my biggest thanks to my women’s MRT, my penthouse roommate, my friends that I made – Josh, Danielle, Cameron, Todd, Tyler, Jamie, Andy, anyone else – you guys all touched my life in a really big way and I really appreciate everything you guys did for me. I could not have done this without you.
“I really feel like I’m leaving with a bigger family than I already had. So thank you for being my new brothers and sisters.”
Each graduate who spoke thanked his or her peers. Here are some of the comments:
Cameron: My heart’s about to come out of my chest right now, I feel like. Want to thank everybody right here – these are all my peers and without them I really wouldn’t be here right now. I thank all you guys from the bottom of my heart. I’m so proud of myself right now and it’s the first time I’ve accomplished anything in a long time.”
Nick: “My peers – especially a few of the peers – have definitely helped me stay focused and actually do something that furthered me and changed my life.”
Marcus: “(I’ve) got to thank the staff and the peers for (my transformation). I know I couldn’t have (done) it on my own.”