Talking to someone who's been there: a certified recovery specialist

  • Kirk Parsons Mazzoni Center
It can be a long road back from addiction. I know from experience.
The drug of choice can be alcohol, street or prescription drugs, or addictive gambling, spending, sex or eating. Although the faces of addiction are many, I believe there is one common thread: that all persons in recovery need the support of others. And often these others need to be intimately familiar with what it means to be addicted – enter the certified recovery specialist, or CRS.
CRS services are designed and delivered by people who have experienced both substance abuse disorder and recovery. They know what it’s like to be challenged by addiction, to struggle with the daily pressures and stress, to overcome the guilt, sadness, confusion, to try to find a job, rebuild careers, relationships and self-esteem.
As a CRS specialist at Mazzoni Center, I partner with individuals to help them overcome barriers to their recovery by empowering them to uncover obstructive behavior patterns and limiting beliefs that impact one’s ability to make healthy life choices. My role is to help that person meet self-set goals through exploration of both their individual, innate strengths as well as community resources that can support their recovery experience.
My role as a CRS is very clearly distinguished from that of a 12-step sponsor, treatment counselor or other professional. This is because the intent of peer recovery support services is to enhance the recovery process by not duplicating other services in the community – essentially providing “the third leg under the stool.”
Through the course of our interactions, my job is to provide hope to those in recovery and help them stay true to the goals they have set for themselves. 
Mazzoni Center offers CRS services at no cost.  To learn more these services, and how to get started, contact Kirk Parsons via email or by phone at 215-563-0652 x 582.  Kirk is also the facilitator of our two weekly drop-in support groups, which can be another great resource for people who are actively in, or thinking about, recovery from addiction.  Click here for support group details. 


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