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 Jim Hajny

About Clifford Beers

May is Mental Health Awareness month. Once upon a time that meant something. May is now arthritis, walking, women’s health care month, better sleep month, Asian Pacific Islander, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and brain tumor awareness month. Those are all important issues to recognize. But mental health awareness month was started in 1949 by Clifford Beers of Mental Health America. MHA is the country’s oldest mental health advocacy organization. Clifford Beers (March 30, 1876 – July 9, 1943) was the founder of the American mental hygiene movement. (Wikipedia.com) He was a peer. He was the original peer supporter and advocate in the recovery movement. Clifford Beers was a ground breaker. Laying the foundation for organizations like Montana’s Peer Network.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

Nurturing Teen Mental Health

As a parent navigating the challenges of raising a teenager in today’s fast-paced world, I have come to appreciate the significance of prioritizing mental health. With World Teen Mental Wellness Day just around the corner on March 2, it is an opportune time to reflect on ways we can actively support our teens’ emotional well-being throughout the year. In a world where one in seven adolescents faces mental health challenges, fostering awareness and reducing stigma becomes paramount, especially given the impact of the global pandemic on our teens’ mental health.

Posted on by Kayla Myers


I had a revelation recently and am still unsure how to correct this coping mechanism I acquired on my journey through life. I guess at this point acknowledging and identifying this within myself is currently the stage I am in. So, I thought this would be a good way to reflect through writing and see if any more revelations transpire my growth. “Carpe Diem” is a Latin term meaning “Seize the day”. This can inspire the idea of living in the moment or for today, so we aren’t wasting what little time we have on this earth worrying about what has already happened or what is to come.

Posted on by MPN

Unconditional Love in Recovery

Unconditional love is something I have been blessed to have in abundance in my life. A year ago, my mother passed away, and about six months ago I had a realization. It hit me like a brick on a tearful ride home in the car. Part of the reason for my continual heartache in regards of losing her was that for 48 years, I was blessed with unconditional love on a daily basis. I was not just grieving the loss of my mother, her “being” and friendship, I was grieving for the loss of her constant unconditional love that kept me strong. I was craving it and wanted it back!

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

True Leadership

Growing up in a family of overachievers and natural-born leaders, allowed me to see what positive leadership can look like. Watching my grandpa Blackie Wetzel be such a humble person, set the tone for my dad and his siblings, to also be some amazing individuals too.

It wasn’t until I owned my own business at the young age of 19, that I realized that I too had some natural skills that gave me an edge over the competition.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

The Transformative Power of Storytelling

In the rich tapestry of Native American traditions, storytelling stands as a sacred gift, a conduit for the transfer of wisdom, healing, and positive energies. Our Blackfoot people have a deep-rooted connection to tradition. 

I share my life experiences and provide a compelling narrative as a Blackfoot woman in recovery. My story is not just a personal account; it’s a gift from Creator. There is a transformative power of sharing experiences, bridging the metaphysical and physical worlds by preserving true history for future generations. In the intricate dance between the past and the present, my journey unfolds, offering insights into the resilience that storytelling can foster.

Posted on by Nikki Russell

The Pursuit of Happiness

The pursuit of happiness can feel like hunting for an external thing that, when destroyed, justifies the means. Mind you, this perspective comes from a Vegetarian who insists on achieving balance through less sacrificial means. There are two ways to view the world we live in. The first is objective, survival of the fittest, which proclaims intellect is almighty and whoever thinks and runs faster wins. The second approach comes from “Namaste,” which means “the God in me recognizes the God in you.” This is not only from human to human but also from human to object. Recovery cleared this up for me, creating a space in my heart for the value of all living things as a way of life.

Posted on by Lea Wetzel

Vision Boards

If you don’t have a vision and you’re struggling to pinpoint what you want and where you want to go, it can be hard to be inspired and visualize your destiny. Without a clear vision, it’s hard to direct your efforts in ways that serve your goals. It’s also hard to attract the support and resources you need. That’s where a vision board comes in.

Posted on by Andi Daniel

The Strength of Being an Introvert

I am introverted. People who know me are often surprised by that because I am an actor in a theatre company and am quite comfortable speaking in front of people. I often am seen as bubbly in social situations in which I am comfortable. Introversion is sometimes seen as shyness or anxiety around people but that isn’t necessarily accurate. Am I shy around people? I am quite shy around people I don’t know very well. I do have social anxiety, so I sometimes am viewed as not liking people. These factors aren’t directly related to my introversion, though. My parents sometimes worried about how much time I spent alone and would try to coax me out of my room to spend time with the family. This was rarely a positive experience.

Posted on by Andi Daniel

Celebrating the New Year in Recovery

Celebrations that generally revolve around alcohol may be difficult for people in recovery and a good number of New Year’s Eve celebrations do just that. Toasting the new year with champagne is a staple for many celebrations. For those in recovery or who just prefer substance free New Year’s celebrations, it can be difficult to find activities. You can always host your own events but many of us hosted events just a few days ago and the thought of hosting another can be overwhelming.