Seeley Swan Pathfinder -


By Eric Dietrich
Solutions Journalism Network 

Peer Support, Increasingly Professionalized, Helps Struggling Montanans Reclaim Their Lives

The Montana Gap


Nicole Tavenner / Valley Journal

Don Roberts, a peer supporter who runs the Never Alone Recovery Hall in Ronan. In recovery after struggling with mental illness and drug addiction for decades, he's now trained to use his experience to help others recover themselves.

There's some hope around a folding table here, inside this smallish Main Street storefront in Ronan, the Never Alone Recovery Center.

Outside, it's a sunny Tuesday evening in this 2,000-person, majority-white town on the Flathead Indian Reservation. Inside, a mixed-race group of men and women, passing around a bowl of candy, shoot the breeze for a few minutes before settling down to business.

"I'm an addict," each says in turn. "I'm an addict," echoes the group's leader, Don Roberts - and, he adds, one in recovery.

Roberts is what's known as a peer supporter, someone who's grappled with add...

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