My Name is Denny Knepper. I am a Certified Peer Specialist. I am also a Certified Recovery Specialist. I work for Staunton Clinic, part of Heritage Valley Health System. We are a stand-alone billable service. So no pressure, I am currently the only Peer support we have. I am happy to say before this I was the First CPS to start another program in Beaver that is still doing well. But of course, the COVID19 is adding a new set of challenges.
I am proud to say I am a person in long term recovery. In 5 Days I will be celebrating 8 years. I use to have a list of things “people like me can’t do” I am happy to say I have done many of those things and have a ridiculous list of things I can, and will do. My Bucked (list) runneth over.
Life continues to get better for me in my recovery. This is what draws me to this work. When I got sober I could barely read and now I am 2 classes away from an associate’s degree. Granted it has taken me 5 years. I know if I can do these things in my life it has to be possible for us all. My goal is to share what I have to empower others to progress and embrace their unique qualities to be the best of what they are. Whatever that is.
I have had more then one client being over medicated. After hospitalization, which led to several medication changes, I have one Peer (client) that climbed out of the fog and now is pursuing a productive life as a result. It was like the movie “The Awakening” with Robin Williams. I really want more skills that will help lead to more results like these.
And during these times of social distancing and isolation, I am learning I don’t have nearly enough skills to help my clients, or even myself some days. I have been looking into Personal Medicine to help with my own mental health and as a peer, tools I can use to help the growth of my peers (clients). I love my job and anything that will help me be a better support to my peers.