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Sarah Halls-Lucero has a powerful message, “I’m just Sarah, and I’m trying to be the best Sarah I can be.” That’s also how she introduces herself in her work as Peer Recovery Specialist, helping people in their recovery journey and minimizing the chance of relapse. “I think it is important for people to know that I am like them, and not just my years sober,” Sarah shared.

Peer support has a special place in the continuum of care at Axis and is an emerging model of care in many healthcare settings. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines a peer support worker as someone with the lived experience of recovery from a mental health condition, substance use disorder, or both. They provide support to others experiencing similar challenges. Peer support workers may also be called just peers, peer specialists, peer supports, and/or peer workers. Peers are “experientially credentialed” by their recovery journey. The help of a peer support worker complements – but does not duplicate or replace – the roles of therapists, case managers, and other treatment team members. Peer specialists build relationships with people based on understanding, respect, and empowerment.

“I do not treat or diagnose. I meet people right where they are at”, said Sarah. “I love watching people work on themselves. The best part of my job is watching the light come back into people’s eyes. I like to spread positivity!”

Peer support workers can help break down barriers of experience and understanding. The peer support worker’s role is to assist people with finding and following their recovery paths without judgment, expectation, rules, or requirements.

Peer Recovery Specialist services are available to people exploring recovery or navigating treatment options. They can also help community members access free Narcan Training and free SMART recovery groups, which are in-person and virtual across the region. To learn more, contact Axis’ Columbine Behavioral Healthcare.

Sarah has been a part of the Axis team since 2019. Sarah grew up in Durango and moved to the Bay Area of California when she graduated from Durango High School in 1990. She moved back home in 2014. Sarah and her wife have five children and ten grandchildren. They enjoy watching them grow and learn all kinds of things. They love to fish, spend time outdoors, and watch amazing sunsets in Colorado. “There is no place like home!” she said.