Journal of Addiction & Addictive Disorders
Peer support, Recovery, Recovery coach, Self-care
Peer support workers, using their shared lived experience, have been recognized in the medical and behavioral health fields as having positive contributions to the well-being and recovery of individuals who are in early stages of recovery or illness management. Many benefits and challenges have been associated with placing peers in a role that emphasizes being an “expert by experience.” Much of the existing literature has focused on outcomes for the recipient of service with less being known about how the peer worker experiences this role. This qualitative study explored the experience of peer support workers and their perception of the intersection between the peer role and their personal recovery. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 10 peer support workers who are currently employed in this role. Thematic analysis was utilized to identify themes in the data. All of the themes center around the intensity of the role and the need to account for this to avoid burnout and provide peer workers with support. The peer support workers interviewed explained that there is a need to be present in their personal lives, to establish and maintain effective boundaries, and to ensure ongoing attention to their personal recovery. Self-care was identified as being a preventative measure against burnout and other challenges in the role of peer support worker as well as assisting in the management of crossover into one’s personal life.
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Williams, C. (2021). To Help Others, We Must Care for Ourselves: The Importance of Self-Care for Peer Support Workers in Substance Use Recovery. Journal of Addiction & Addictive Disorders 8(2): 071. https://doi.org/10.24966/AAD-7276/100071