Seeking a more intense high than pills provided, Jeremy Burton begged a friend to show him how to shoot heroin into his veins.
A few years later, mentors in a 12-step program showed Burton how to find a path to sobriety.
Nearly 18 months after giving up drugs, Burton hopes to show others how to live in recovery from substance use disorders.
“Everyone has a different path to recovery, but we can help each other overcome the obstacles we share,” said Burton, who is a substance abuse peer support specialist for Rappahannock Area Community Services Board.
Burton shares his experiences with individuals seeking treatment through RACSB. He has just started Hunger for Hope, a peer to peer recovery group which meets Fridays at the agency’s Fredericksburg Clinic.
Participants will develop and strengthen their coping skills, while learning how to lead a life of recovery. Burton said that overcoming substance use disorder can be challenging and usually involves surrendering selfish behavior, sharing stories with other peers who suffer, taking consistent action to reconstruct past destruction and seeking spiritual guidance.
“In this group, we’ll learn to clean up past wreckage while building relationships in the recovery community, which will help keep individuals sober,” he said.
Path of Unity
Studies on peer supports show significant reductions in relapse rates. Individuals with substance use disorder who work with peers are also more likely to stay in treatment and rebuild relationships, according to several studies.
Hunger for Hope will include fellowship, mentorship and support.
“We will walk a path of unity while sharing our individual pathways,” Burton said. “We can accept our differences and experience connections with people who can relate to our experiences.”
The recovery group will be held Fridays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in Room 208 of 600 Jackson Street in Fredericksburg. For details, contact Burton at 540-373-3223, ext. 8575 or firstname.lastname@example.org.