Jeff Scheerer is a Recovery Support Specialist at Family First Health and is living in long-term recovery. He has been in recovery for 7 years – during which he has started a family and become an advocate for others in recovery or seeking recovery. We recently spoke with Jeff about the recovery journey.
How did you enter into a commitment to recovery?
It started with a lot of trial and error, and getting to a place where I could see the truth of my situation. I couldn’t get myself out of the hole that I dug. I surrendered to win.
Was there anything specific that helped you stay the course when the recovery process felt daunting?
Support from other people in recovery. I thought I could do it myself and tried that for years. Participating in AA meetings made the difference for me. The meetings become the glue that I needed to hold my recovery together and helped me to realize what the full spectrum of recovery looked like.
Tell me about your role as a Recovery Support Specialist at Family First Health.
I connect with patients as a person in recovery to help them define what recovery will look like for them – helping them to walk the path of recovery, being an advocate for them, being a truth teller, sharing experiences and giving hope.
Also, I am part of the newly-formed Rapid Response Team. Along with a York City Police Officer, I meet with individuals who recently suffered a non-fatal overdose – connecting with them where they are in the community and giving them resources with the goal of getting them into some level of care.
What led you to this work/what made you want to help others?
I was given an opportunity to become a recovery support specialist by someone whom I met in a meeting and decided that I couldn’t not try. Many people have supported me through my recovery journey and I wanted to be able to support others in a similar way. I am very passionate about the work that I do. If I can help one person, that’s a huge win.
What advice do you have for families or friends who are walking the recovery journey with someone close to them? How can they best support their loved one?
Set appropriate boundaries and educate yourself on what addiction looks like. There is a fine line between addiction and enabling. Being able to support someone seeking recovery or in recovery is important and that support looks different for everyone.
In your opinion, what is the greatest roadblock to slowing down the Heroin epidemic?
A combination of a lot of things – such as: access to treatment, proper after-care facilities, education, stigma and funding.
What else should people know about addiction and recovery?
Recovery is possible! Without recovery and support in my own life I would not be where I am today. We do recover!
To find more information about Family First Health’s Substance Use Services program, please call 717-801-4864, or visit us online.