We Are Uber: Peer Support

Uber drivers and peer-based recovery support service providers have a great deal in common.

If you’re interested in providing transportation services as an Uber driver, there are a few mandates you must abide by. Some of the initial requirements include having access to a newer, 4-door model vehicle that is fueled, registered, inspected and 100% fit to drive. In addition to meeting these initial requirements, you are also obligated to maintain and sustain the vehicle’s safety and cleanliness. Regular oil changes, quality brakes, a clean interior, and working windshield wipers are just some examples of the routine maintenance necessary in order to provide transportation services as an Uber driver. The idea is that in order to provide quality transportation services, you must take care of the vehicle being used to deliver them. Failure to sustain the vehicle’s cleanliness could make for an unpleasant service experience for customers, and failure to maintain the vehicle’s safety could put service recipients in harm’s way. A good Uber driver takes care of their vehicle and in turn provides quality services. If the vehicle is in some way compromised, the good Uber driver parks it until repairs are made and it is safe to be on the road again.

When it comes to providing peer-based recovery support services in roles such as a Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) or Certified Recovery Specialist (CRS), we are in many ways like Uber.

The vehicle through which services are provided is actually our very own selves, and choosing to serve as a peer-based recovery support service provider is a lot like choosing to use our own vehicle to become an Uber driver. There are some initial requirements that must be met such as stability in and experience with recovery, empathy and compassion, an ability to articulate our lived experience to others, and knowledge of relevant resources in the community. Although meeting the initial requirements is enough to get us out on the road as peer-based recovery support service providers, maintaining and sustaining the vehicle – the vehicle in this case being ourselves – is essential to providing quality recovery support services. If we fail to take care of ourselves, we are actually reneging on our obligations. More so however, failure to maintain and sustain our vehicle’s wellness will put both those we serve and ourselves in harm’s way. It is essential that we fill up our gas tank and perform routine maintenance on ourselves in order to provide safe, quality services to others. If for some reason our vehicle becomes compromised, a good peer-based recovery support service provider will pull themselves off of the road for a bit as they make repairs and fill up the tank.
For both Uber drivers and peer-based recovery support service providers, the good news is that with regular maintenance, a full tank of gas, attention paid to early warning signs of trouble and a steadfast commitment to providing quality services, we can often avoid having to pull completely off of the road. Even better news is that if we do find ourselves needing to park our vehicle for a bit in order to undergo repairs, there are plenty of resources available to patch us up and get us back out on the road again.