Realizing Recovery

We are a network of individuals who are on the path of recovery.

We identify as being in recovery from mental health, substance abuse and or addiction struggles. Together we share information, provide peer support, advocate with a united voice and improve the system. We come from places all across Montana, with different stories and experiences but together we make a difference. This is the Recovery Movement in Montana.


Recovery Talks Podcasts

Weekly podcasts on various topics relevant to people in recovery, the peer support workforce, and anyone interested in learning more about recovery.

Video Library

MPN has several videos available for free including trainings, how-tos, 5 Good Minutes Series, & Recovery Stories


Art Heals with Nikki Russell

Art Heals bring you a monthly art project to support your recovery.

Art Heals: Dream Catcher

Intention Board Project


Standing up for what we believe is right, having a voice, making choices in recovery, and sharing our own recovery story are some of the things that make up advocacy and self-advocacy.

Let’s start with self-advocacy which refers to an individual’s ability to effectively communicate, convey, negotiate, or assert his/her own interests, desires, needs, or rights. It involves making informed decisions and taking responsibility for those decisions (Van Reusen et al., 1994).

Knowing yourself and your strengths, needs, and interests is the first step toward advocating for your rights. Once we begin to find our way on the path of recovery, we may want to begin to advocate for ourselves with those around us—peer supporters, friends, family, service providers, and doctors. These conversations may be difficult, but having them is vital to your recovery. Remember, you are the expert on yourself.

It may be that prior to getting on the path to recovery, others were making decisions for you or acting in what they believed to be your best interest. Now may be the time for you to let others know what you believe to be in your best interest. You may find yourself in the process of taking control and making decisions affecting your life and perhaps others’ lives. This process of self-determination means making informed choices, problem solving, setting and attaining goals—essentially being a self-advocate.

Advocacy or advocating for others may be something you are interested in doing. Advocating for another person isn’t about acting in a person’s perceived best interest, but it is standing with a person to ensure they are able to articulate and obtain what they want or need. Perhaps you may consider speaking up and advocating for various changes in the services in your community.

Here are a few examples of advocacy:

  • Speak to your legislature or a special committee.
  • Get involved with an advocacy group or organization.
  • Share your recovery story to support others in recovery.
  • Whether advocating for yourself, for others, for your community, or as part of an organization, advocacy is very self-empowering. You can make a real difference in your life, the lives of others, and even the community.
  • Reach out to Montana’s Peer Network and share your recovery story on one of our “Recovery Talks” podcasts.

Advancing Advocacy Blog

Posted on by Kayla Myers

Therapy Awareness

Forgiveness should be a journey, not a destination. What I mean by that is, whether we need to forgive ourselves, friends/family, or people who have wronged us in our lives, that can be a very difficult task. That physical pain we felt, the emotional toll we went through, and the way our bodies grasped those feelings and held onto them tight, can feel like something you will truly never get over. The old saying goes, “Time heals everything.” Well, it sure doesn’t. The reason I say this is because over time, life keeps throwing us curveballs, or as experts, unlike myself like to call it, trauma. It starts stacking inside of us and piling up like deskwork in our brains. When this happens, we are walking through life with unresolved hurt inside of us, and then turn around and project it onto others. So, the very things that hurt us in the beginning, we are now doing those same things to the ones we love, friends, our children, etc.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

Embracing Peer-Based Work

Embarking on the path of peer-based work, my journey began with volunteering in groups and local recovery meetings. Guided by mentors who have walked the path of recovery themselves, I learned the importance of striking a balance between receiving peer support and giving back through volunteering. This journey has led me to immerse myself in various councils, committees, and boards, contributing my time and skills to initiatives close to my heart.


Realizing Recovery Blog

Posted on by OpenAI

Behavioral Health Stigma as a Human Rights Issue

The discourse on human rights in mental health has gained significant momentum in recent years as societies around the world grapple with the challenges of fostering an environment that respects the dignity and autonomy of individuals facing mental health issues. One of the factors affecting this is the stigma associated with mental illness.

Stigmatization of mental health conditions remains a pervasive issue, impeding the full realization of human rights for individuals in this context. Stigma often manifests as discrimination, prejudice, or stereotyping, exacerbating the challenges faced by those seeking mental health support. This stigma not only impacts individuals’ access to treatment and employment but also perpetuates a culture of silence and shame surrounding mental health.

Posted on by Beth Ayers

Human Rights When It Comes to Mental Health

When I began this article, I was going to write about involuntary commitment, in particular for young adult children by their parents. But after spending hours writing and talking to others, I was more confused than when I started. I was left with more questions than answers. And maybe that’s how it should be. Maybe we should wrestle with it. Maybe there is no right or wrong stance but many answers that depend on numerous variables.

Posted on by Andi Daniel

Embracing the Grinch

I am a “grinch.” Originally, that was a title given to me by people around me. Specifically when I worked at an early childhood program and had small children of my own. I do not enjoy the holidays. There were many years that we didn’t put up a Christmas tree and when my co-workers heard me say that, they acted as if I was severely neglecting my children. We aren’t a religious family so we really only celebrated Christmas as a secular holiday. I enjoyed Christmas Day as a kid. It was predictable. Christmas Eve was different. We spent Christmas eve with my dad’s family and Christmas Day with my mom’s family. My grandpa on my mom’s side loved decorating for the holidays and genuinely enjoyed Christmas so it was fun to be there. Celebrations with my dad’s extended family were always focused around alcohol and were not enjoyable. Inevitably, some family members would have a disagreement that resulted in loud arguments which were scary as a young child but I got to spend time with my great grandma who I adored so I could sometimes block out the other stuff. When my great grandma moved into a nursing home, those larger family gatherings ended and we would visit her on holidays. It was easy to leave when more people showed up because there simply wasn’t enough space in her room for several people.

Posted on by Nikki Russell

The Spiritual Quotient for Life

Spiritual Intelligence (SQ) is discovering the aspects of us that inspire creativity, healing, and purpose. Another name for this is intuition, which lives on our brain’s right side. The intelligence Quotient (IQ), the left side of the brain, measures what we accumulate outside of ourselves; learning happens through reading books, listening to speeches, researching, and observing others. We analyze and compare data intellectually and incorporate it into life. Learning starts early in life, like learning to walk and speak, and evolves into helping us understand, perceive, and assess the world around us. It is critical for survival; it helps us meet mental, emotional, and social demands. Learning does not play favorites; it does not self-correct. The school of hard knocks teaches different lessons and incorporates skills that protect a person from danger. For example, due to the trauma I was experiencing at home as a child, it was much more important to maintain a sense of safety versus learning math, my left brain told me. Confidence was a mask I wore to protect secrets, in comparison to an organic experience that prepared me for harnessing a successful career path

Posted on by Mandy Waite

Embracing the Simple Pleasures of the Christmas Season

Ah, the Holidays. A season that is meant to bring connection, gratitude, love, hope, and joy. But for many, the holiday season can be extremely painful or difficult for a variety of reasons. I am not a religious person, so the spirit of Christmas for me may be different than many people. Christmas is a celebration, a time for giving and not simply a day we exchange gifts. The spirit of Christmas is in the “togetherness”, it’s in the thought to which you put into thinking about others, it’s a selfless time, where we forgive, take stock of what’s important and become better versions of ourselves. I love the beauty of Christmas. We begin to decorate the first weekend after Halloween, so we can celebrate the season a little longer. My oldest daughter even has the middle name December, because being pregnant with her reminded me of the joy and love that I feel during that month. We love Christmas music and driving around to look at lights. And we also love being able to give the people we love thoughtful gifts.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

Native American Heritage Month

The arrival of Native American Heritage Month heralds a deeply personal journey for me, a Blackfoot woman steadfastly navigating the intricate path of recovery. Within the expansive tapestry of indigenous cultures, I discover not only solace and strength but a profound connection to my roots that serves as the cornerstone of my journey of self-discovery. Engaged in tribal liaison work with Montana tribes, this month transcends mere celebration; it stands as a testament to the transformative power of cultural heritage, weaving through my role as a mother and illuminating the unique lens of recovery from an American Indian woman’s perspective.

Posted on by Erin Faulkner

A Miracle in Recovery

This story is very close to my heart. Anna is my sister. I have seen her struggle since her teenage years. At the heart of her struggles, and only discovered in recent years, is her diagnosis of several mental health challenges. She was also adopted from South Africa as a toddler and has struggled with feelings of abandonment and attachment her whole life. Anna has fought family and friends in search of what would make her feel better, feel more. It has challenged our family as she has lost battles in the past.

Posted on by Erin Faulkner

A Personal Gratitude Challenge

As I typically do when writing on a topic, I looked for definitions and synonyms to make sure that my readers and I are on the same page. Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. I like those words: thankful, appreciation, kindness. I think it is easy to say thank you, but more powerful to show appreciation and kindness. It is similar to how saying sorry is just a word, but an apology says why and how you will make it better. It carries more weight.

Posted on by OpenAI

Sensory Processing Disorders

Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD) are a complex and often misunderstood set of conditions that affect how individuals perceive and respond to sensory stimuli from their environment. These disorders can have a profound impact on a person’s daily life, from their ability to interact with others to their emotional well-being. While much progress has been made in understanding SPD in recent years, there is still much to learn about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options.

Posted on by Mandy Waite

Embracing Resilience: LGBTQ+ A Journey of Struggle and Triumph

In the tapestry of human history, the LGBTQ+ community has woven a thread of resilience, creativity, and love that stretches back centuries. Despite monumental progress in recent decades, LGBTQ+ individuals continue to face discrimination, adversity, and stigmatization. This blog aims to explore the intersection of LGBTQ+ history, mental health, addiction, and recovery, shedding light on the unique challenges faced by this community. As a lesbian woman in long-term recovery, who came out at the age of 37, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of acceptance, support, and inclusivity from many within recovery communities. Yet, like countless members of the LGBTQ+ community who have come before me, my journey has also been marked by moments of fear, judgment, and significant adversity. Embracing my authentic self has meant navigating a world that, at best, strongly favors heteronormativity, and at worst, as history has shown, can be hostile to individuals like me.