A sense of greater purpose in life, empathy and the opportunity to help others -- granted they're not the latest iPhone but the novelty soon wears off with one of them and anyway, you'd only need to change it every couple of years to make sure you've got the latest model. My gifts -- and these are just a few of them -- can last a lifetime. How's that for value?
I believe that recovery is possible. Not just for me, but for EVERYONE. Does this mean that everyone recovers? No, because not everyone is taught the skills to recover. Also, once a person learns the skills, they have to choose to use them. My peer specialist colleagues and I can give you a flashlight so that you can see your way out of the darkness of mental illness.
I've lost the false sense of ease and naivety that led me to believe that every person I met should be my friend and would have my best interest at heart, because that's just not true. Relearning how to communicate, how to engage in supportive relationships and be there for my friends and loved ones hasn't been easy, but it sure beats believing I'm besties with my drug dealer.