Heart Based Peer Support Training Profoundly Changed Me (Sam’s Story, Part 3)

By Charlyne Boyette, Certified Peer Support Specialist,
Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist / CPSS, LCAS

sign worthy of love

I am a different human being because I had the privilege of knowing Sam Sutker. I met Sam while in WRAP® (The Wellness Recovery Action Plan) training at VAYA Health. This was shortly before I completed Peer Support training, which required each participant to write a five-minute recovery story. Sam contacted me about having his wife publish mine in WNC Woman, giving me the honor of also encountering his amazing partner and believing my tragic past was a pathway for inspiring hope in others. 

As time passed Sam went on to train me as a WRAP Facilitator and support me through multiple challenges in my recovery. Sam would meet me at coffee shops to listen from his heart or take walks with me while telling me stories. One story in particular that I will not forget is the story of Michelangelo’s sculpture of David. Sam said when someone asked the artist how he initially envisioned the sculpture, the creator responded by saying he didn’t have an end in mind but simply chipped away a little at a time to remove all that was not David in order to allow David’s being to emerge from the stone.

Michelangelo’s Statue of David

Sam said this was also our task as humans: to let go of all that blocks our true being from shining forth. 

Sam suggested that I begin training with Heart Based Institute at MAHEC (Mountain Area Health Education Center) as a Heart Based Support Specialist. Once I became familiar with the practice of heart strengthening, Sam and I connected on an even deeper level. I went on to train as a Heart Based Therapist and my relationship and connection with Sam continued to grow as we shared the joy and gratitude of life lived from the heart and mind in alignment. 

Peer Support provides a key function in mental health and recovery across the U.S. Peer Support Specialists are people with “lived experience” in mental health and/or substance use challenges that have found long term,
sustained recovery, completed trainings, and find personal joy and satisfaction in sharing hope and inspiration with others struggling through similar challenges. Not here to judge, fix, or tell you what to do or how to do it, Peer Support Specialists walk alongside you, listening and asking questions with an open mind and heart to help you determine your own pathway to recovery.

Sam trained more than 800 Peer Support Specialists in the State of North Carolina who are working in the community providing service to those in recovery from mental health and/or substance use challenges.

How did HBI’s Heart Based Therapeutics® training programs impact me and the people I serve?

Personally, through Heart Based Therapeutics® I am able to walk in wisdom with my heart and mind working together in response to life circumstances. This allows me to experience abiding peace within rather than suffering from doubt, worry, fear, self-pity, and foolish decisions. Professionally, the daily practice of heart strengthening, coupled with skills learned in Heart Based Therapeutics® allows me to be much more effective in helping people recover from haunting hurts and habits. More specifically:

  • I don’t tire so easily or become “compassion fatigued” because I remain connected to Source of Unconditional Love rather than attempting to use my own limited resources.
  • What’s that old saying…People don’t care what you have to say until they know how much you care? Folks encounter the Love of Source transmitting through me when I am working from my heart so they understand they are indeed being cared for with a much Higher Love and therefore able to respond by opening their hearts to the healing power of Love.
  • In summary, I realize I am no longer a separate entity related to others by hierarchy. Rather, I’m a spark united with other beings for the purpose of enjoying the peace, beauty, gentleness, and gratitude that follows when connected to the experience of Unconditional Love in the heart.

Sam Sutker has impacted me very deeply; he continues to be a part of my daily life even after he transitioned from “earth school.” I can hear Sam’s gentle voice in times of fear and uncertainty reminding me that I am loved and accepted unconditionally by my Higher Power, to accept life circumstances rather than resist because such resistance is what leads to suffering, and to remain connected to my heart as I encounter other imperfect beings along the journey with hopes of sharing the healing power of love with them.

Continue reading the last post in this special four part series.