Gloriana Hunter



My story is one of providence.  I am not sure why I moved to Arizona from the southern California coast.  Plagued with my own challenges, that time frame is very fuzzy for me.   It wasn’t long after my move that that I found myself on social security disability for mental health reasons.  And I heard the message loud and clear: I would never work again, and it was best if I just lived with my mother and tried to remain stable.  I kept thinking to myself, what does stability mean?  I am educated and resourceful.  I’ve held good jobs. I have power within me to succeed.  What does this mean that I will never be able to work and lead a fulfilling life?  I felt trapped, watching way too much TV and, as I call it, watching the walls breathe.


Then I heard about WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan).  It was suggested by a case manager that I attend because it would “give me something to do.”  In WRAP, I met three women who told me that recovery was possible because it had occurred in their lives, and how Peer Employment Training changed their lives and gave them the ability to give back.  Then I met another Peer Support Specialist who asked me to spend some time with him.  He talked about setting goals for my own recovery, and suggested that I could live up to my hopes and dreams. 


Still, I really did not know what Peer Employment Training was, but when I was offered to take it I went ahead and signed up.  The training was phenomenal and really set me up in a place where I could believe in myself again.  I applied for a part-time job, and then started working as a peer support specialist.  Much like the peer support specialist who helped me set my goals for recovery, I helped others set goals.  I then transferred to the Peer Employment Training department, and became a class assistant, where I helped future Peer Support Specialists get off to a good start on their journey.  During this time, I grew stronger and more capable and eventually found myself in place where I knew it was time to give up my disability.  I asked for full time work, and within two weeks was offered a position as an Employment Coordinator, where I assisted other Peer Support Specialists in getting and excelling in their jobs.  From there, I was offered a position in the classroom as an instructor for Peer Employment Training. 


Today, I have the privilege of training a wide variety recovery classes for many people who, like me, are on their personal journey of recovery.  I get to connect with people who might be in a place similar to where I have been, and let them know that they can breakthrough and discover their own recovery process – that they too can have hopes and dreams for their future.  I have had the joy of hearing so many recovery stories that I now believe recovery is possible for anyone who has the courage to have hopes and dreams.