Friendship promotes wellness in recovery

It is important for everyone on a path of recovery from mental illness to know that they do not need to do this alone. The healing power of friendship and evidence on how friendship promotes wellness can be found in numerous health studies. Each of us can reflect and identify ways friends have helped us along life’s journey. The Compeer Program at Far West Center finds compassionate men and women that can offer mentoring and supportive friendship to adults managing mental illness.

In our Compeer Program, friendships begin in many ways. Members can request to be matched, one to one, with a same gender adult volunteer. Member to volunteer matches design their own monthly scheduling of phone conversations and getting together. Compeer offers many social group activities at which everyone involved form friendships. Compeer does not offer old fashion “couples matchmaking” services, but some of our members have found love as they travel along their recovery paths!

Friendship and love were definitely topics of conversation at recent Compeer Coffee Nights and lunches at area restaurants. Our group is happy to help celebrate the anniversaries of the couples among us! Natalie and John will be coming up on their six-year anniversary of dating one another. Lynn and Dorsey will celebrate their second wedding anniversary next week. In early November, Alexis and Doug will celebrate 18 years of their supportive love and marriage.

I mentioned a couple in an Observer article this past February, Maureen and Terry. They were celebrating one year of dating on Valentine’s Day. Maureen and Terry met each other as they both worked on their individual recovery goals. Throughout her Compeer involvement, we have seen Maureen emerge from being self-isolating to a woman that expresses herself and enjoys going out with friends. We have seen Terry accomplish artistic, employment and volunteering goals. At this week’s Compeer Lunch, Maureen and Terry happily announced their engagement to our Compeer group! It was wonderful to see all these friends share a truly happy occasion in life’s journey.

The one-to-one Compeer Friendship Matches continue to manage the difficulties of mental illness by planning fun times to share. Norm and Josef enjoy meeting for coffee and Scrabble games. Nancy and Amanda love to hunt for bargains at local stores. Shari and Krystal enjoy a little friendly competition at  Dave & Buster’s. Dan and Terry see good movies together. Our newer match, Ilona and Clare, share interests in baking, exercise and sports. The initial commitment a volunteer is asked to give to a match is twelve months. To state that most of our matches continue on for years is no exaggeration! Some become lifelong friends.

Compeer is looking for new volunteers. Your friendship will promote wellness. Please call Compeer with questions at 440-835-6212, ext. 242.            

Denise Ayres

Denise Ayres is Compeer Program Coordinator.

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Volume 3, Issue 21, Posted 5:17 PM, 10.18.2011