“…The Peer Recovery Center is a wonderful and much needed place to have in Carteret County so people in our community can have the opportunity and support that is vital to recover and improve their lives.”

“On behalf of my family, please accept our appreciation for the guidance and help that your staff of volunteers provided for our family. I walked into the Peer Recovery Center with a burden weighing heavy on me. Within an hour of speaking with Ms. Bev Stone, I left with hope in my heart and a feeling of relief.

Thanks to your dedication to helping people, my family is on their way to recovery. This is a small “thank you” and perhaps I should explain what the Peer Recovery Center has done for me.

I first heard about the Peer Recovery Center when I was taking class called Crisis Intervention Training. Volunteers from the Center were invited to tell what it was like for them to live with mental illness. It was admirable for those volunteers to be able to stand in front of a room full of law enforcement officers and tell their stories. The class opened my eyes to mental illness.

In February 2014, our son Jamison was incarcerated. In the prison, the inmates do not have to take their prescribed medication if they do not want to. This was a problem for Jamison. Jamison suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and schizo-affective disorder, depressive type. I tried to explain to the staff of the prison that my son needed his medication or he will be violent. The prison staff assured me that he was fine. Telephone conversations and letters from my son told me otherwise. I felt helpless and could not get anyone to listen to me.

Ms. Bev was the first person I reached out to. I had no idea if the center could help me but I needed someone to listen to me. I explained how Jamison was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I went into detail about his horrible experience in the military, the struggles with his mental illness; which he denied having or needed medication for, the difficulties through the criminal process and the barriers I could not get through in the prison system. Ms. Bev was able to connect me to several resources. I spoke to Ken Blackman, a person that was genuinely concerned for my son; regardless of his incarceration. With everyone working together, we were able to get the Veterans Affairs involved and ultimately moved my son to the prison hospital where he received the medical treatment he needed. I was in daily contact with the doctor and social worker discussing his treatment and therapy.

Once my son was released from the prison hospital, he was on his way to healing. He religiously takes his medication and keeps his weekly appointments with his doctors and therapy. He had the opportunity to thank Ms. Bev in person for not letting me give up on him. I hope to personally thank everyone on your staff, but in the meantime, please pass on my gratitude to everyone at the Peer Recovery Center.

Our family is forever grateful for the positive attitude that the Peer Recovery Center has. The Center is a great asset to Carteret County.”

My name is Richard and I’m a person in long term recovery. I grew up in Massachusetts’s in a house with active substance abuse. I have 5 siblings and have been diagnosed with multiple mental disorders. Bipolar II w/ Psychotic features, complex PTSD, GAD, and Major depressive disorder. I am a survivor & thriver from childhood sexual abuse and satanic cult ritual abuse. I was first entered into the legal system and diagnosed at age 16 with Major Depressive disorder. I have overcome many struggles up to this point and would like to focus on mental disorders. My last illegal substance was 3/4/2002, on 3/5/2003 I entered recovery. I thought by addressing my substance abuse I could live a decent life. My experience in recover was good up to year 4 when everything broke down. During this time I was in cognitive behavioral therapy recovering from the sexual and cult abuse. I started medication in 2004 for bipolar II & major depressive disorder. I am treatment resistant which means conventional treatments for these disorders do not work for me. I have spent many years developing a recovery that works for me. Being in the “rooms” for 4 years helped me build a solid foundation to base my recovery on. Going back to what it was like for me. I was struggling with MDD and growing up in an abusive home. Emotional abuse happened daily, there were arguments and lectures in the wee hours of the morning on how terrible us kids were and why we were the cause of our parents struggles. I left home at age 16 looking for a better life but soon found out there was no better life for me, a reject from society. I lived where ever I could sometimes in public parks or sheds while perusing my addictions. It didn’t really matter what I abused as long as I didn’t have to deal with myself and life in general. I have lost everything and became destitute many times over. My life was out of control and I hated myself for what I had become. I have attempted suicide many times and one landed me in an institution for over a month. I was not labeled the crazy one and my life changed forever. I lost most of my friends and family after that but did have some that supported me and tried to help. Being stigmatized in my early 20s was a huge blow and led to further isolation. I stayed clean for a year while I was on medication but soon went back to my old ways and the realization I was alone with no place to go and no one to talk to who understood. I ended up in 3 more institutions and was diagnosed in all 3. Bottom line is I could not stay clean unless I started taking care of my mental disorders. In 2004 I started medications again and this time stuck to it. I developed a routine that I could live with. I joined online support groups, have a psychiatrist, and therapist which I use extensively in my recovery. I choose a life of recovery rather than being stigmatized by labels and repressed. Recovery for me is self-care, self-advocacy, I am not my diagnosis and will go to any lengths to keep it that way. Today I am stable and able to live the life I always wanted. I help others navigate the mental health system and advocate for themselves, stand up for their rights to be treated properly and live a healthy productive life.