The Life of a Peer Support Specialist

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Substance use destroys lives. But when addiction leads to the lowest places, there is opportunity to find new hope and meaning. That new hope and meaning is found through the long road of recovery. And how beautiful is it that one's lowest places could ultimately be used for the good of helping another person along their own painful life experiences? Therein lies the powerful profession of a Peer Support Specialist. One of New Vista's many Peer Support Specialists, Glinda Smith, tells us her story of substance use addiction, recovery and how it all led to a career in Peer Support. You'll learn why this form of treatment has proven to be highly effective in recovering from addiction.


Kevin Wallace 0:12 Hey folks, welcome to The good Ahead Podcast where we host conversations in the areas of mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disabilities. I'm your host Kevin Wallace with New Vista. Today's episode includes the story of one of New Vista's peer support specialists, Glinda Smith. We're so lucky to have Glinda join us as she tells us her story of addiction, and how she went through that into recovery and ultimately became a peer support specialist. You'll learn what peer support is all about, directly from someone who is in it every day as their career. It was such a joy to hear Glinda's journey and to be encouraged by the amazing work she and all our peer support specialists do for those in recovery to an addiction and substance use. So thanks for joining us, and I hope you enjoy Okay, well, welcome in today, we have such a special episode that I'm very excited for. We have today a peer support specialist named Glinda Smith. She is an incredible peer support specialist, one of the many that we have here at New Vista. And we're going to talk today about what a peer support specialist does and talk about a little bit her recovery. And so in all the things that tie into being a peer support specialist, so welcome in Glinda so glad that you're here.

Glinda Smith 1:45 I'm very excited to be here. This is my passion. I love talking about my recovery. I love helping other people's just understand that it can happen, I want to be that role model and just let them know that it doesn't matter how bad things are today, it can pass and we can go on tomorrow.

Kevin Wallace 2:04 Amazing. I love it. This is this is where I think so much good happens here at New Vista. And this is such an important conversation and such an important just the nature of what appears support specialist is in the effort to see people go into recovery and come out on the other side fully recovered and living their best life. So we appreciate you as an organization. But I'm just thrilled to have you here today and listen to your story. So to start, I would love to hear just what overview is of what a peer support specialist is, what is it that you do?

Glinda Smith 2:45 Well a peer specialist is a person who has taken a 40 hour class and they have a written test afterwards. And then they are actually at that point certified peer specialists. But the thing that peers do is just share their life. They give hope to people who feel hopeless. They give just understanding that it doesn't matter what happened in your life that you're your history doesn't define what today and tomorrow can be. Yeah. You know, I'm at New Vista, there's several different places that we put peers in. They're in inpatient, you know, outpatient, that's what I do in Jessamine County, we have TRP people who do things, you know. And then our

Kevin Wallace 3:34 Tell us what TRP is

Glinda Smith 3:37 That's our therapeutic units that are in a couple of different counties that are for like the serious mental illness and things such as that. QRT, which means the Quick Response Team, yeah, they work with, you don't harm reduction, just HIV testing several different things. There's peers in your county all over the place, besides New Vista, we have them in health departments. The jails have peers, hospitals, veterans centers, I mean, they're everywhere. And it's becoming a very big thing. And it's easier to talk to somebody that's walked the walk. Yeah. Easiest way to say,

Kevin Wallace 4:12 Yeah, that's so true. Well, cool. I would love to hear just as a starting point, what your journey has looked like so become being a peer support specialist means that you you have as a story, going into this profession. And so I would love to hear your story what what you've been through and what your road to recovery has looked like and what made you decide to become a peer support specialist after all that you went through. So to open it up a broad, however you want to start this off, I would love to hear your story. And so if you if you would just share share your story with us.

Glinda Smith 4:55 All right, well, I always like to it's kind of a spoiler I get it all ends up great, yes. Awesome. It's wonderful. And I'm living my best life.

Kevin Wallace 5:04 Thank you for that that upfront that this is this is a this is good news.

Glinda Smith 5:09 Yes it's gonna sound rough here. But it ends up being a great day and a great laugh. And I'm wonderful. I'm, I'm happy. Like I said live in the best days I can right now. And it took a lot of hard work. Yeah. For me, my family. And, you know, I had a lot of support at that. But it does end up good. So let's not get deterred from that. Yeah. As just my journey of becoming a peer, that was something that after I got on my clean date, and I felt comfortable in my own sobriety that I wanted to do, I was already kind of like, being a sponsor at Celebrate Recovery, where I felt my home group at Yeah. And I felt like that's the kind of next step that I could take in being someone who could help others. That's the best thing appear all of the peers that I described earlier, that's the main thing we do is helping others, we want to make sure that someone that is in the shoes that we used to wear understands that there's one person out there that's going to be their cheerleader, their help, or the person that wants them to see it's going to be okay. Yeah, you know, because sometimes we as, as an addict, or an alcoholic, we kind of burn a lot of bridges. And sometimes they have burned too many of them and they don't have that person that's cheering for them.

Kevin Wallace 6:31 In your experience, why do you think that is? Why do you think that it's so easy for addicts to kind of give the stiff arm to the people that mean the most of them as they're going through this?

Glinda Smith 6:42 Well, those are the people that, that you love the most, and that have been there for you through a lot of things that they kind of feel like, it doesn't matter what they do that that, that you're going to still be there, but you can only steal from your mom so often or, you know, the things that addicts do. Like, I always say that when we're children sitting around a little table, and your teacher asked you, what do you want to be when you grow up? You know, there's firemen and police officers and teachers and all these wonderful things. Nobody ever says I want to be a drug addict. No, that's, that's not happening. But some bad choices, or maybe some trauma that you've had in your life gets you to that point. And you have to learn from that point when you when once you've already there in this trauma. And you start doing things like self medicating, and looking for ways to get through this without maybe seeing a therapist or a doctor, right. That's how you get through it. And you just have to kind of be able to be honest with yourself. That was one of the main keys of me getting better is I had to be honest with myself, I had to look in the mirror and go, you are an addict. It does not matter if a doctor prescribed that medicine to you. You're still an addict that medicine supposed to last you for a month and then last as you for two weeks. You are an addict. And honesty is one of the best things that that I've learned through this. Sometimes I'm almost brutally honest now. But that's, that's one of the key things for me is being honest, being truthful to myself to the people that I love, and letting them understand that I am sorry for the things I've done. You know, making amends is always a big thing. Yeah. And that's something that I had to do to several people, I had to go back and patch up a lot of bridges that I burned.

Kevin Wallace 8:44 Yeah. And that's, that's got to be hard for both sides for you and for the people in your life that they care so deeply about you. So yeah, I just, continue talking about the experiences that you had walking through recovery.

Glinda Smith 9:03 Most of the, the last years of my usage, which was I grew up in Eastern Kentucky, and my mother and my father had separated years before and she was a single mom, we always had, we were struggling. So of course, I didn't get to go out and go to the movies and do all the fun things sometimes that other kids do. There's nothing there to do anyway. And that was kind of what we ended up doing was people would go and of course you'd start smoking a little pot with your friends and drinking a little bit and then next thing you know somebody a little older brought this in before you know it. You're 19 years old and doing drugs that you don't even know how to say the name to Yeah, because you want to find something to do for a Saturday night. Sure. And then I ended up having children and I was In a marriage that was very, I'm gonna say abusive, yeah. Not to my children. My children were always taking care of wonderfully. My husband was a wonderful father, but an awful husband. And I didn't have any self worth at that point and thought that okay, well, as long as he's taking care of us, and he's taking care of my children, I think everything will be okay, I can take it, I can take it. And my daughter one day looked at me and says, Mom, why aren't you letting that hit you? And I thought, well, what am I teaching my daughter? Yeah, you know, why would I let her think that this is okay, I would never want. Exactly, I would never want anybody to hit her. And I thought, Okay, well, that, that fix that. So I left a single mother of two children, and decided I was going to try this journey on my own. And I did well, for a long time. Just taking care of the kids at working. I've always been a workaholic. It didn't matter how far I was into any type of addiction. I've always worked. Yeah. And I ended up trying to just pretty much think of a way to maybe help me with my finances, almost I was, I was really going down, I was not being able to pay a car payment. And someone said, Hey, why don't you go to the doctor with me? You can sell these pills, ooh, blah, blah, blah. And I thought, well, that's great. I don't have to do nothing. I'm working two jobs already. Right. And then, before you knew it, I wasn't selling anything. And I was like, Oh, look, I like the way these make me feel. I have energy, I can play with the kids. I'm at every ball game, I'm doing it all. And it ended up just being a really big mess for me myself. Yeah. I went from, I like to call myself a prescribed drug addict is what I was. And my children grew up and moved away. And I was at home alone. And I started trying harder drugs. And I did heroin for the first time. I, I loved the way it made me feel. And I remember sitting in my living room and saying, This will kill you, you know, the other stuff probably would have killed me as well. But I knew of so many people that had passed away from that. And I thought, you have got to get a grip on life. What's important to you? What do you need to do to help yourself get through this? And I started reaching out for help. And to be the strong, independent person that I was to reach out for help was very hard for me. Yeah. So I called a couple of my friends who were nurses. And I was like, I can't go to rehab, I don't want people to know, I'm an addict. I was a closet addict, nobody would have ever thought that I did anything. And they were like you what you really need to go to rehab. And I was like, I can't I cannot go to rehab. That's something I have, you know, family that I don't want to know all these things. And they introduced me to MAT, which is a medically assisted treatment. Yeah. And that's the route that I ended up taking him. And it really helped me. It helped me be able to deal with my addiction, and then deal with my trauma at the same time, because I had a lot of trauma that I was trying to deal with, you know, being abused as a child being abused as a wife. Yeah. And I was just hiding all that by trying to self medicate.

Kevin Wallace 13:30 Yeah. Yeah, in in being, being an independent person and being so strong willed in, in doing things your way and not relying on other people. It, going against that can feel like a weakness, and going to seek help can feel like weakness. So I'm sure that was a huge step for you. And just admitting that you did need help. And that going into this, this next part of your story that M.A.T. the MAT, medical assist, medicated assisted treatment, that was probably a huge step in in your recovery. So yeah, talk about that a little bit and what that was, like in in admitting to this, this reality that you need help. And you have to lean on now other people and other things to get you through to the other side where you wanted to be.

Glinda Smith 14:26 Yes, exactly. It was so hard to actually, I thought to myself, I'm gonna walk into an office and look at a doctor and say, I am an addict. I need help. I never said that to anyone before. When I said it, for the first time, I was in tears. I just couldn't understand how I got to a point where I was taking some medicine for my back hurt to get to the point that I was doing heroin. Like that was such a path that I never saw for myself. I had morals I had standards, I was a good mother. I was smart. And I was doing heroin. Like, who does that? And how does this happen? But come to find out a lot of people do that. Yeah, just because you're an addict does not mean you are not a smart person, or that you do not have morals, yeah, it's something that happens in your brain. And you just continue to try to chase that high that you're looking for it to make you forget all the other stuff that's happening.

Kevin Wallace 15:27 And that isolation doesn't only breed this sense of I'm alone in this, and nobody else would ever struggle with this. It also on the other side of that breeds a lot of shame. So what what kind of things did you have to realize through that shame. And in getting through that?

Glinda Smith 15:49 Well, after talking to the doctor, that was the first time I've ever said, Hey, I need help. They, they put you on the medically assisted treatment, and you're required to go to groups. And in those groups, I found that there was so many other people are listening to my story over and over and over. And I was seeing people who, you know, these weren't people who were homeless or people who, who, who are stereotyped, right, being drug addicts, you know, they were nurses, doctors, teachers, I knew a lot of people in our community. And we all suffered from the same thing. It was kind of like a hidden stereotype that we were we were hidden back doing these things to try to, to get through life. Yeah. And I felt more comfortable once I found a place that I could talk until the truth in the iPhone, it was like a gallon of milk just spilling out. Yeah, once I started talking about it, it was like so. So giving, and I was like, I love this feeling just to be able to let this all loose, like they would talk and I would be like, Yes, I get exactly what you're saying. And I would talk and they would be like, I felt that way just yesterday, and I thought I was the only one that ever felt like that. And that's when I learned that, you know, opening up to other people is is a huge thing. You know, letting people know your feelings

Kevin Wallace 17:16 Why do you think that is? Why do you think that's such a? Why do you think that's such a important part of your story to where you you were able to heal from a lot of conversations that you had with other people that have shared experiences?

Glinda Smith 17:33 Well just like as a peer, I hear it all the time. I thought I was the only one had went through that I thought I was the only one who had ever felt that way. You know, it comes down to things like suicide. Yeah. Being a people pleaser. Just all these little things that that we ended up talking about just because we finally let it all out. I had never told anyone I wanted to commit suicide. But I was such a people pleaser. I will be like, I wish I would die today. But it's so close to Christmas. I don't want to ruin it for the children. Yeah, you know, that was a real thought I had in my head. Or it's so close to my daughter's birthday. It would ruin it for her. Being so sad and tore up inside but still thinking of other people. Yeah. So you had to it was like putting yourself first I had never done that I had. I have a name. It's Glinda. But I was always you know, my son's mom, my daughter's mom. Sure. This one's wife, you know, that one's this. Yeah. And you're taking care of everyone around you, like a lot of moms do. And you don't take care of yourself. Hmm. And that was a big part of it. For me. It was like, I was able to share my feelings. And I wasn't alone. I wasn't the only person that felt that way. And for a long time I thought I was I was very shameful of those feelings. Yeah. Like, you know, am I crazy and wonder what's going on in here? Why do I want to kill myself? Why am I so you know, depressed? Why do I have so much anxiety and it's part of being an addict. And when you don't have the drug that your body's wanting? That's part of it, it it messes with your feelings. It messes with your emotions, it messes with the way you treat people. You know, I've always been a very loving person. And I caught myself being hateful and I'm like, I don't even like myself. How does anybody else like me? And I was just definitely becoming someone that I did not want to be.

Kevin Wallace 19:37 This break in the conversation is a reminder that the good head podcast is brought to you by New Vista. New Vista is a community mental health center caring for Central Kentucky communities in the areas of mental health, substance use and intellectual and developmental disabilities. If you want to know more about New Vista services, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000 or visit our website at Okay, back to the conversation with Glinda. So we journeyed down to this rock bottom place. And you see other people are there with you, you see that you're not alone here, though it felt like it for such a long time. And that really is the rock bottom of feeling alone, not liking the person that you are. And I mean, suicidal, it sounds like and just so many, so many challenging things for a person to experience. And so as we're at this rock bottom moment, talk about whatever else you'd like to talk about. And in, let's talk about the rise as well.

Glinda Smith 20:49 Out of that out of that part. Yeah, like a phoenix. Yes, I came from the ashes.

Kevin Wallace 20:54 So if there's anything else you want to share in this rock bottom place? Yeah, please do.

Glinda Smith 20:59 It was like you said, everyone is just spilling their guts, and you're hearing all of these awful things, you know, people are homeless sleeping in their cars. And I'm like, I slept in my car for three months. Yeah, I get it, you know, and they're like, Well, you don't look like someone homeless. And I'm like, Well, I went to the, you know, local gas station and showered in the bathroom, you I still had a little bit of self pride. And that was building up in me by talking to these other people. And I was like, I not to say I'm better than this, but I want it better. And that was a big thing. You have to want something, you have to be able to be willing to work towards this in your life. You it's not. It didn't take me, you know, two weeks to become an addict, right? And it's definitely not going to take two weeks to come out of it. Yeah. So I continued with my MAT treatment with the medically assisted program. And I continued seeing my doctors and my therapist, and I worked through the trauma that had got me into that place. And I started tapering off of my medication and finding medication that helped me with my, my mental state at that point, and became the person that I always was that was hidden inside of all of that. And that made me feel I was so I felt so powerful. And so like emotional. All of my emotions were just pouring out of me at that time. Like, I'm such a giver. And a I just want to be out there in the community helping other people feel this way. I'm like, I need them to know that there's other people out there. And that's when I started doing things like my Celebrate Recovery, going to AA meetings and sharing my story. Yeah, because I found out it was not unique, but it's hard to get people to talk about it. Yeah. And I'm a talker so I was like, I don't really care. It's kind of like I'm an open book sometimes. You know, that's kind of what it takes they need to know. And whenever people hear your story, and they know that, hey, this woman that sitting here in front of me, if she can do it, why can't I that's the thing. It's like we as peers, are we show the power of recovery, we're living proof of the power of recovery. Yeah. And it's really amazing that I can get up and I always say that I can't believe I get paid to do this job sometimes because it was things I was doing before. Of course, now I have that training. Yeah. And I have a lot of these different things in in New Vista who they they train us, they give us all this wonderful information. And of course, it makes my job a lot easier. And I feel more, you know, dedicated and more informed.

Kevin Wallace 23:55 More more equiped to be able to do what you do.

Glinda Smith 23:58 Yes, because I was definitely trying to help but this, this has been a blessing to me to get to work here. I love to do these things and help people. Each person is so different. I like people to know that we all can get to the point where we can learn something new every day. And everybody can be that Phoenix that I felt like I was that first day when I thought okay, I'm gonna do this. Yeah. And that's kind of the the way I came up was just working very hard. Being honest with myself. Sometimes it was really hard to be honest with myself, because I had, like I said, done a lot of things I didn't enjoy or was it proud of. And as I got to the point where I was being a sponsor or whatever, that's when I learned about a peer. Actually, my sister was in a rehab facility at the time. And she calls me and says, Glinda, there is this person here called a peer And this woman is doing this, you know, this awesome job. And this is the job for you. Like you do this already, you need to do this. So of course, I did a little bit of internet surfing trying to find out what was going on and did some research. And I found New Vista, and I signed up for this class. And I thought, This is what I want to do. But then I looked and I thought, that's a little expensive. I'm not a rich person, of course to myself. That's what I'm thinking. Yeah. Because I'm, I'm like, I don't want to spend money on anything but my children and my house, yeah, that's mom's. Yeah. And my husband asked me one day, like, what do you want for Christmas? And I said, I want you to pay for this class. I want to thank you. I was like, Are you serious? Of course, I knew it could have been December the 24th. And he wouldn't have my Christmas present. Yes. I was like, why don't you just pay for this class? And you don't have to do any shopping?

Kevin Wallace 25:56 There you go. Win win for him.

Glinda Smith 25:58 Yes, exactly. So he paid for the class for me. And I went to the class. And I was just so excited. Because like I said, I'd done all this research. And I'd heard all this wonderful stuff about peers. And I was in the class and everybody was sitting around, you know, my, my boss made me take this class, or I can't stay at my job. And I don't want to be here today. I had something else I need to do. And I was screaming, this is my Christmas present. I was so excited to be there. I was like the first person front and center. Waiting on the teacher. I was I felt like a kindergarten. Yeah, again, it's so cool. And I thought to myself, and I tell him daily, that was the best gift that I've ever gotten, because it gives to me every day. And it gives to other people as well you know?

Kevin Wallace 26:43 So what was this class? Was it just a training to become a peer support specialist?

Glinda Smith 26:48 Yes it was the 40 hour period class.

Kevin Wallace 26:49 Okay. Got it.

Glinda Smith 26:51 Yeah, actually, now I help teach the class. So how's that go for full circle?

Kevin Wallace 26:55 Oh, that's so cool. Well, that's great. I love hearing how that journey to this place of New Vista and getting to getting to use your experience to help others. And that's not only life giving to other people, but to you. So, yeah, through through that, what I guess who was, who was, who was there throughout this whole process? What, what helps you in the greatest challenges that you faced, as you were coming out of this rock bottom place? Who was there? And what helped you get out of that place?

Glinda Smith 27:37 Well, I think what helped me get out was mostly is learning to be honest to myself. My husband and I were both in addiction together. And we are now both in recovery together. Yeah. And a lot of people always say that never works, or, but we've done it now. It's gonna be six years. November. The second Wow, very proud of that fact. Wow. And he, he has had to be the person that has been with me through the thick and the thin. Yeah. We are very strong in our faith. Yeah. about each other and the relationship that we have. We go to our meetings together. He has certain meetings, he goes to that I don't go to because sometimes we want to share when the other person is there. That's just part of our, our recovery. Like if I want to complain about him, I can't do it in front of him. Yeah, you know, yeah. And I always give him that same opportunity. Right. But we have, he was there through all of it with me. We both decided to do that MAT treatment together. Yeah. And it was just a journey that we did take together, being honest with each other and learning that we can help each other by helping ourselves. Yeah, it's kind of like the airplane, you know, you have to put that mask on. Yep, yourself. Exactly. And I had to learn that because I had been such a giver my whole life. I had to learn self care. I had to learn that I am important. Yeah. And and I hadn't put myself first in a long time, right?

Kevin Wallace 29:23 Hmm. Well, what, what's something that you wish that other people could understand about substance use disorder and trying to go through recovery?

Glinda Smith 29:39 Trying to go through recovery is very hard. It takes a lot of work, but it is very possible. Some people do not. It doesn't take the first time or the second or the third or the fourth. But you can't give up on people. The people that you love, we can't give up on them. And you just have to continue to show these people that everything we do is for them. Like that's one of the biggest things that I do as appear is to cheer for those people to let them know that I do not ever, ever, ever want to, to have someone say, Well, I would have got clean, but nobody was there. For me. That's, that's what I say appear is because a lot of times those people, like I said, burn those bridges. We I want them to know, again, no one wants to be a drug addict when they're children. No one wants to, to grow up and be homeless, or all of the things that come along with some bad choices that we make. But it is all possible if you just find your path. We all have our own path. What works for me may not have worked for the next person. Yeah. And that's what you do is you find someone that will help you figure out your path, and kind of walk and help guide you and give you choices and options at times. And that's kind of what I do as appear Yeah, I help them see that if this choice doesn't work, we have these other options, we're gonna figure it out, there's no cookie cutter way of getting better, but it will happen if you just put in some work. And you know, mean it with your heart and continue to try it.

Kevin Wallace 31:26 Yeah. And there, there's so much power behind vulnerability and, and being vulnerable with other people that can that try to help you and that have been there in your shoes before and have come out on the other side. So it sounds like that's a lot of what a peer support specialist is, is sharing in that vulnerability with the other person. Kind of having a me too moment of you you're experiencing that Yeah, me too. This is what I did to get out of that this is this is how I felt in this is I can imagine that's how you're feeling. And so I would imagine that's, that's a lot of why peer support really works among other avenues to recovery, or at least is is one of the many reasons that it really stands out as a such a great avenue to seek for recovery. And what a gift it is that you get to be that other people now through

Glinda Smith 32:32 Exactly that's why I said that's the best Christmas gift ever, right? It's an amazing gift to be able to do that with people. And we're kind of like that connection between the therapist and the client. Sometimes they don't want to open up to someone because they think they don't know what they're talking about.

Kevin Wallace 32:49 Yeah they couldn't understand.

Glinda Smith 32:50 Exactly and they know that we do and you know, I'm like that bridge between them that helps open up that that area.

Kevin Wallace 32:56 Now do you sit and do peer support specialists sit in those therapy sessions with the the therapist, the counselor, whoever they're, they're, they're having a conversation with. Do you sit in the room with them? Or do you have separate times with them? How does that

Glinda Smith 33:12 It can be done either way. That's the coolest thing about being appear. I can sit in there with you if that's what you choose to kind of be that moral support if you need it. Yeah. I talk to my clients. We have telehealth which is amazing. Now that helps so many people who who don't you know want to drive or of course with COVID these days. I can visit you at home you can come to my office I have my own office. I've met people at a restaurant let them sit down somewhere they're comfortable I've met them at parks at gyms like I'll meet you wherever you're at if you're in the ditch homeless all I'll come down there and talk to you. I've met people at the homeless shelter go to the park and sit on a bench and talk to him wherever they are and they need me that's where I'll be Yeah. Being a peer is so flexible in its entirety like there's so many different jobs as appear and that's one of the favorite things are mine. Like if I have someone who's who doesn't like being around people perfect if you want if you allow me to come to your home I'll be there in a little bit. Hang on I'm on my way what's that address? You know, I'm in you feel comfortable with them in their home and sometimes they're a lot more comfortable because they're in a place they feel safe. Yeah, because they're telling you parts about their life again like I did yeah, that I wasn't comfortable admitting totally.

Kevin Wallace 34:40 This is so good. Well, to end I would love to hear if you have any kind of words of encouragement or any kind of good short stories that you have any success stories that you've seen in your work as a peer support specialist and any any cool good note to end on that you can think of.

Glinda Smith 35:00 Sharing stories, I could talk all day about those, because I love when I meet my clients. They're usually, like I said, they're at the bottom of the ditch trying to find their way out. And I've met people who have had their children taken because of drugs and can't keep a job because of drugs. So I have one client in particular, she came to me, she had had her kids taken a couple of months before. And we worked on being able to process her feelings and being held accountable for the actions that she had taken. And we helped her get a job. She went through so many different things with the staff at New Vista. This is with case managers, myself and her therapist. And about two Fridays ago, she went to court, she has her own apartment, a wonderful job, and she got custody of her children back. And I was like, well, it was great, you know, being your peer. And she was like, I have one more session, I want you to come to because I want you to meet my children, because you're the reason I have them back. Like you gave me the hope when I when I was ready just to give up and say, Mom, you can have them. I'm going this way. Yeah. And I was very pleased that she thought that I was you know that she would like her children to meet me. I thought that was wonderful. But, you know, that's the kind of thing that we want to happen to all of our clients, of course. And you think as a person, like I told you earlier, I was homeless. So I had a client who was homeless. And she told me, she said, I can't find anywhere to sleep. You know, if I go to a gas station, and I try to go to sleep, they're running me off. If I go here, they're running me off. And she was like, I'm so scared to be out there trying to sleep in a car. And I lived in my car for a little over a month, in some of my worst days. And I told her I was like, Well, I never thought that me being homeless would be something that I could share with someone and give them encouragement. But I went to the hospital and I parked at the parking lot where they have guards watching. And I went in use the restrooms and cleaned up and did things like that, just because I knew I would be safe there. Do that for a day or two until you can find somewhere to sleep. And she said, Well, that's a great idea. And she called me the next day. And she was like, I slept so good last night, and I haven't done that forever. And you know, that's a very powerful moment when you think the worst days of my life has gave someone a little bit of inspiration. Yeah. And that's awful to feel like you have to admit at times. But again, I feel like God put me in that situation to where I could share that with someone that maybe helped her sleep a little bit that night.

Kevin Wallace 37:57 Yeah, it brings a lot of purpose in the pain that you have endured in your life. And that you get to utilize that, to see the good ahead in not just your own life, but in the lives of the people that you get to interact with exactly every day. So Glinda, thank you so much. This is you're a great storyteller. And I love hearing your just your journey. And I just can't imagine how much good you have done. Not just in this organization, but just in the lives that you get to interact with every single day. So I'm thankful for the work that you do. I'm thankful for the work of all of our amazing peer support specialists here at New Vista and just around the world. I think this is such a powerful career for people to enter into, on the other side of their addiction. And there's just so much to learn in in this area of recovery. But man is how great is just being a peer support specialist and and getting to see tangible results in your relationships that you you that are part of your life. So thank you so much for sharing all of the things that you share today. And I hope that it has is in will bless people just as much as it's blessed me today. So thank you so much for being on the show today.

Glinda Smith 39:25 Well thank you very much for letting me share my story. That's the thing peers do we share stories to encourage and show people love that sometimes may not get anywhere else. So I always say I want to be a cheerleader. So now I get to be a cheerleader every day.

Kevin Wallace 39:42 Well, you're a great cheerleader. Glinda. Love it. Thank you so much. And well I do appreciate your time just being on the show today.

Glinda Smith 39:50 Thank you

Kevin Wallace 39:56 Thank you for joining us in today's episode. Just a reminder that this podcast is brought to you by New Vista. We assist individuals, children and families in the enhancement of their well being through mental health, substance use and Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services. We see the good ahead for all individuals in our communities. Again, if you need help, call our 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000 or visit our website at We hope you enjoyed today's episode, and we'll see you next time.