Minnesota Recovery Connection is a grassroots, community-based nonprofit whose staff, volunteers, and Board of Directors are all people in personal or family recovery, or are community allies. We are dedicated to strengthening the recovery community, and we are proud to share our stories. This month, we hear from volunteer Levi Perttu.
MRC: How did you get involved with MRC and what does MRC mean to you?
Levi: I learned about MRC when I was researching the possibility of becoming a Peer Recovery Specialist. I discovered that in order to become a Peer Recovery Specialist, I needed to have at least one year of recovery and although I only had six months of sobriety at the time, I was encouraged by a life coach who had gone through the Recovery Coach Academy to volunteer at MRC. I went to MRC for an interview and after finding out what MRC does, I decided that I wanted to become involved with the organization. I began by assisting with front desk duties, and in a matter of months, I trained to become a volunteer Telephone Recovery Specialist!
MRC is a place that I come to for connection with others who are like myself that have chosen to abstain from drugs and alcohol, and whose goals and vision are in alignment with mine. It is also a place where I can offer support to others in recovery through the Telephone Recovery Support program.
I am a member of the LGBTQ community and MRC has been a place for me to come where I am completely accepted and supported for who and what I am. This has not always been the case in my life and opening up to others has been difficult for me, yet at MRC everyone there is so nice, welcoming and nonjudgmental. I have also gained more awareness of how a community can effectively work together, and people who come to MRC are coming there to better themselves. I want to be around people like that. I hold a lot of gratitude for MRC being a safe place that supports my own personal journey.
MRC: What is something significant that you are proud of?
Levi: One of my proudest moments is when I was able to save a woman who might have been a murder victim. I was in my apartment and heard screams coming from an apartment near mine. I rushed to see what was going on and saw that she had been cut by a man with a knife. I was able to get her out of the situation and to safety. There have been several other occasions where if I had not been present and fearless in protecting others, they may have lost their life.
I am also proud that I have quit smoking and no longer take substances to cope. My energies currently go toward building my website where people can buy recovery related apparel that I am designing.
I now believe I am more than enough and don’t need to seek validation and approval from others.
MRC: Who inspires you?
Levi: My Mom! Although she is now retired, she has a proven track record of managing herself and others by setting goals. So, when I have questions about some of my goals, she helps me with attaining my goals.
MRC: If you were to go back in time, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Levi: I would tell myself that I won’t find my value and self-worth by relying on others to give it to me. In doing so, I may not have become obsessed with others and fearful that if they left me, I would think that I am not enough. I now believe I am more than enough and don’t need to seek validation and approval from others.