I’ve completed the 72-hours of training and aced the exam which means I am now officially a Peer Recovery Specialist. I’ve not found employment with my new title, but that’ll maybe happen sooner or later, if at all. And at some point, after I’ve logged the necessary hours, I’ll take the Commonweal’s exam and get certified. All this plays into the larger goal of my ministry as I will here elucidate, but first I mayhap oughta explain “Peer Recovery”.

The old model of treating nutters and dope fiends was to have shrinks tell them what to do and then be exasperated when they didn’t listen, which was an improvement on the older model which was locking them up, drugging and electrocuting them. In recent years, some fuggin’ genius realized that people who have gotten sober might be able to help other people get sober – which is actually the basic premise of all the “Anonymous” organizations, which is possibly why those were generally more successful. So the mental health field in USA began to integrate some of the principles and practices of the Anonymouses, which worked, blah blah, somebody figured out how to bill insurance companies and now there is a job called “Peer Recovery Specialist”.

The PRS job basically comes down to somebody who has some successful recovery from substance abuse disorder and/or some other mental health issue gets some training and then tries to get a job working with other people who have the same or similar issues and works with them to figure out how they, too, can achieve some successful recovery. Pretty straightforward. It’s a combo of modeling the way, being a listening ear, offering hope and a little bit of providing information, but the person receiving the service is always at least an equal partner in the process. This is because the old model was grossly disempowering and the recovery model includes the idea that people can figger shit out for themselves given the chance and maybe a little information here and there. It’s important – mandatory – for a PRS to be able to work with people who have differing views. F’r example, I’m a Christian and my faith is part of my recovery, but I might work with an alcoholic who is an atheist in which case I would have to help them find a way to stay sober that didn’t include a personal God. They know what’s best for them. The PRS is just there to help.

Now we’re gonna hard left into my theology.

We’re all sinners. We all fall short and commit all kindsa filthy and awful sins all the time. This is a common idea among all Christians, but some denominations harp on it a lot more than others and some folks seem to forget that they are too, possibly because they’re a mite too distracted by the filthy sins of other people who they enjoy looking down on. Lutherans don’t go too wild with the whole we’re-all-disgusting-sinners thing, but we do like to talk about grace a lot – like, a lot – and our horrible sinfulness is a prerequisite for God’s abundant grace, so it’s there even though we kinda like to downplay it. We do acknowledge it at every Sunday service – the Pastor leads the congregation in a general confession, which goes kinda like this –

Confession and Forgiveness
L: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
C: Amen
L: Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our
hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly
love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus
Christ our Lord.
C: Amen
L: If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth
is not in us. But if we confess our sins, God who is faithful and
just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(Silence for reflection and personal confession.)
L: Most merciful God,
C: we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free
ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word,
and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left
undone. We have not loved you with our whole hearts; we
have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. For the sake of
your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us,
renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in your will
and walk in your ways, to the glory of your holy name. Amen

L: In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die
for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. To those
who believe in Jesus Christ he gives the power to become the
children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit.
C: Amen

Actually, it goes exactly like that ’cause I cutted and pasted that from a source which shall remain nameless. The actual service begins after the confession and forgiveness, which I rather like. Actually, the confession and forgiveness part is my second favorite part – the Lord’s meal being no. 1 and the sermon ranking not last, because that’s where the singing is. I don’t like congregational singing. And of course, the Pastor is confessing right along with everybody else because we know our Pastors are sinners and we want to make sure they don’t forget it.

Applying the recovery model to sin – that’s what this has all been headed towards, the whole time. I am a particularly loathesome sinner, a vile wretch, though I’m not arrogant enough to claim to be the “chief of sinners”, unlike a certain epistle writer who shall remain nameless. I am quite aware of how utterly sickeningly sinful I am, but also aware of God’s abundant and amazing grace which covers even repulsive nogoodniks such as meself.

So, I figger the recovery model can work as well with transgressions as it can with meth addiction and/or borderline personality disorder. I am a sinner who has been redeemed, so I can help other sinners realize that they have also been redeemed. And that’s what it comes to – just realizing it. Understanding that the Author of all that is seen and all that is unseen has already flooded Creation with wonderous and mind-boggling grace. My ministry, in addition to prob’ly having somewhat to do with helping the poor, will be about using the recovery model, and my training as a PRS to help other grotesque sinners become aware of that grace. Of course, in ministry I’ll be able to be a bit more up front about my bias toward Christianity, though I do know a wee bit about other paths. If somebody is sure that Buddhism is right for them, I can converse on that subject without embarrassing myself.

Those who feel that they themselves are not sinners and are therefore not in need of grace will be wished all the best. I have nothing to offer thems. I’m called to work with the scum.

That’s that, then. I’ll start looking about for open positions, and I really oughta do something abou finishing the Bachelors. But first, Bored Panda.


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