Living in Recovery Outreach Coordinator David Crawley on Why Self-Acceptance and Peer Support are so Essential to the Recovery Process
David Crawley began his career at ServiceNet working in the emergency shelter in Pittsfield. As a person in substance use recovery himself, he was familiar with members of the recovery community, including the Living in Recovery Director, Julie MacDonald, and the program’s mission and goals. When a position became available for an outreach coordinator at Living in Recovery, David was excited by the opportunity to merge his personal and professional passions in such an integrated way.
Living In Recovery was established in 2018 in loving memory of Joseph R. Botz, to provide a variety of non-clinical, peer-led support, educational and social options to the recovery process. Emphasis is on making the recovery experience engaging, fun, and sustainable.
As Living in Recovery’s outreach coordinator, David works with community members, community groups, and other agencies to offer collaboration and program growth opportunities. One of the things he most appreciates about Living in Recovery is the commitment to inclusivity and supporting multiple pathways to recovery.
“Our main objective is to create a safe environment where you can feel comfortable with who you are and what type of recovery you’re doing, without fear of being ridiculed or judged or criticized,” David says. “At Living in Recovery, we offer you a safe place where you can come and be who you are, share what you have, and offer that to someone else.”
David says that acceptance of himself was a vital part of his recovery and a common theme for many struggling with substance use issues. This practice of self-acceptance is also why peer support is essential to recovery.
“I was that person that never felt comfortable in my own skin,” David says. “I found out that I could use a substance that would enable me to be okay with that person I’m not actually okay with. Once I put that substance down, I was faced with this question: ‘How do I become comfortable with myself now?’ Being with other people, supporting each other, telling each other we are valuable as we are, that makes a huge difference.”
David, a grandparent to five grandchildren, the oldest of whom just started college, has come a long way in his recovery journey and understands that this outreach role is valuable and that the recovery process never ends.
“This work,” David says, “not only is it something that I love, but it’s healthy for me. Because to be in a community where I can strive and continue to grow and be a part of the solution is essential. Because for my program, I can’t keep it unless I give it away.”
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