VERMILLION, SD– On April 4th, Dr. Melissa “Mo” Dittberner gave a powerful TEDxUSD talk on addiction and the importance of utilizing peer support in the recovery process. Dr. Mo, an Emily’s Hope Board member and member of our prevention education committee, spoke candidly about her own experiences with addiction and the stigma that surrounds it.
In her talk, titled “Sobriety is not the opposite of addiction: the peer specialist story,” Dr. Mo emphasized the importance of peer support in the recovery process. A peer specialist is someone with lived experience in addiction and recovery who has been trained to provide support and guidance to others going through the same process.
“Peer support is a best practice for recovery care but is not being utilized in the ways it could be because of the stigma surrounding addiction, mental health, and recovery,” Dr. Mo explained. “As a person in long-term recovery, I have dedicated my efforts to be a voice for those who feel they cannot use theirs because they are struggling with a disease of the brain that we stigmatize so horribly as a society.”
Dr. Mo went on to discuss the importance of breaking down the barriers to peer support and making it more accessible to those who need it. She shared her own journey to recovery and how peer support played a crucial role in her success.
The audience was moved by Dr. Mo’s powerful message and her personal commitment to helping others in the recovery process. Emily’s Hope, the organization she is affiliated with, is a non-profit that works to raise awareness about addiction and provide resources for those struggling with substance use disorder.
“We are so proud of Dr. Mo and her TedXUSD talk,” said Emily’s Hope founder Angela Kennecke. “She is a true advocate for those in recovery, and her message is one that needs to be heard.”
You can listen to Dr. Mo’s story on our podcast, Grieving Out Loud, here.