Each and every one of us plays a unique and important role in this world. However, for some of us, our identity or purpose is not always so clear. This was the case for Michael, who first came to CoveCare Center during a difficult time in his life, when he was unsure of his identity and didn’t know how to cope with the challenges he was facing.
After overcoming a 30-year battle with drug abuse, and no longer being numbed by the substances he was using, Michael did not know how to manage the anxiety, panic attacks, and nightmares he was experiencing. Caring for his ailing mother became his main focus, and his role as a caregiver served as a distraction from the anxiety and feelings he struggled to deal with. He recalls throwing himself “into this role so I didn’t have to think about my problems.” The eventual passing of his mother gave way to a flood of emotions that had long been disguised by his preoccupation with his role as caregiver. In addition to this, he was dealing with the grief and loss he felt over her passing. Michael no longer resonated with the identity of an addict or a caregiver, and needed help figuring out his new role in life.
Seeking to learn how to better deal with the struggles he was going through, Michael turned to CoveCare Center for help. During his initial visit, Michael met with an intake worker who thoroughly reviewed his history and present situation. Rather than only addressing his substance use history, the intake worker recognized that Michael was struggling with other issues and could benefit from a more comprehensive approach, namely, CoveCare Center’s Personalized Recovery-Oriented Services, better known as PROS.
Michael began attending the PROS program, where he worked with a therapist to help him deal with the emotions he was experiencing. Rehabilitation specialists helped to identify his needs and goals, and worked with him to create a customized recovery plan. His therapist also helped him select groups that would best meet his needs. Although he admits that at first “groups scared me”, Michael attended these groups several times throughout the weeks to come, where he recalls learning so much. Before PROS, “I didn’t know what a coping skill was. CBT, DBT might as well have been written in Greek. I knew nothing about them [but] now I use these skills every day [and] my life is based around these skills.” Fortunately, the supportive environment of the PROS groups were nothing like the unhelpful group environments of his past. Groups offered Michael an opportunity to talk with others who were going through similar struggles, and they served as an important component in his recovery.
With the help of his therapist and all of the members of the PROS team, Michael was able to learn ways to manage his anxiety and effectively cope with his struggles. CoveCare Center`s PROS staff worked with Michael to help him establish his new role in life, one in which he takes great pride. Michael now helps others by sharing his story and offering words of encouragement through his work as a Peer Bridger and Recovery Coach with the Mental Health Association. As a Peer Bridger, Michael provides support and mentorship to other individuals as they adjust to living in the community, after leaving an inpatient mental health facility. He uses the knowledge and skills he has gained from his own experiences to help guide others on their own journeys of recovery. “I get such an unbelievable feeling when I do bridging and I see the people I talk to get what I’m saying.” He also runs his own group once a week to help reach others who may be struggling.
Michael would not be where he is today without the generous help and support of the many CoveCare Center staff who were a part of his recovery. He is happy to say that “CoveCare Center and PROS saved my life…and I mean that with all my heart!”