SHIFT: A Peer Recovery Network

Shift Shift is a peer recovery network supporting dynamic recovery paths by uniting our LGBTQ community to experience freedom through empowerment.

Shift is a multi-agency collaboration that provides administrative, emotional, and supervisory support for volunteers and clients in the Seattle/King County area who are Lesbian /Gay /Bisexual /Transgender /Queer / Questioning (LGBTQ) people struggling with drug/alcohol abuse and addiction issues. This peer recovery network was awarded a 1.5 million dollar Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)/ Recovery Community Services Program (RCSP) grant in October 2007 to be used in the first four years of the network’s existence. This is the first SAMHSA/RCSP grant awarded to support LGBTQ people in the recovery process.  Shift represents a collaboration of agencies, namely Multifaith Works, Seattle Counseling Service, Gay City Health Project, and Dunshee House, each of which brings unique experience and services to the Network. This Network was built to bring the strengths of each agency together; MW provides emotional and practical support by providing clients with Shanti and CareTeam volunteers, SCS acts as the referral source for the Network and provides treatment services, GCHP hosts sober social events and community forums, and DH houses recovery support groups and facilitator trainings.

While staff members from each collaborating agency provide support and guidance for the Network, the intent of Shift is to create a safe space for peers to walk together in their journey of recovery. Peer volunteers are people in recovery from drug and/or alcohol addiction who understand the dual stigmas of being an addict and a sexual minority. There is an emphasis on volunteer recruitment, training, and leadership skills development for peer volunteers, as well as the widest possible array of recovery support options for peer clients.   The target client population ranges in age, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and services rendered will be free of charge. By combining services, the collaborative team creates a continuum of care that addresses the spectrum of needs within the LGBTQ recovery community without duplicating specific services.  Peer clients also receive information about existing services of any current peer support programs. within King County. Shift’s aim is to support existing programs while expanding their reach into the LGTBQ recovery community.

A little more about Multifaith Works:

Multifaith Works defines recovery as “A personal commitment to a collaborative process which incorporates mental, spiritual, and physical health and balance in response to addictive and/ or self damaging behavior.”

Multifaith Works has the amazing opportunity in providing those who are newly sober and have a commitment to their recovery a way out of isolation by placing them with a Recovery CareTeam or a Shanti Volunteers.

What are Shanti’s and Recovery CareTeams?

The Shanti Program provides one-on-one volunteer-based emotional support.  Shanti Recovery Volunteers are experienced in providing support to people affected by alcohol and substance abuse issues.

Our service is aimed at easing the burdens and improving the well-being of people who are living with the challenges of staying sober.  We also support their partners, spouses, and family members.  Each Shanti relationship is unique and depends on the needs of the client.  The carefully-matched pair usually spends a few hours each week together.

Loneliness, anxiety, depression, and fear can be overwhelming.  By providing supportive listening and companionship, our volunteers help empower clients to identify and meet their own needs.  Our one-to-one support is free, confidential, and always non-judgmental.

A Recovery CareTeam is a group of four to seven compassionate individuals who provide practical, emotional, and spiritual support to a person working through recovery issues.  Volunteers come to us as individuals or may be based out of spiritual communities, recovery communities, universities or civic groups.

Recovery CareTeams are matched with people working through addiction issues, referred to as CarePartners.  CareTeams build supportive relationships with CarePartners by listening, offering encouragement, and establishing meaningful personal connections.  CareTeam activities are directed by the needs and interests of the CarePartner and skills of the volunteers.  Support may include: transportation to appointments, phone calls, birthday parties, help with moving, and shared meals.

For more information, or to volunteer for any of these agencies contact:

Multifaith Works www.multifaith.org

Gay City Health Project www.gaycity.org

Seattle Counseling Services www.seattlecounseling.org

Dunshee House

Entre Hermanos