Craig Burkhert, PSS, CADC I
Peer Support Specialist for Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Behavioral Health Unit
Growing up, Craig’s parents were absent due to their substance use. At the age of 8, he and his brothers were placed into separate foster homes. At 9, he and his brothers were reunited at their Aunt and Uncle’s house; they were adopted when he was 11. Their Aunt and Uncle were very abusive. The trauma of these experiences caused him to cry himself to sleep every night for years. At 18, Craig left home after a fight with his Uncle. He found a new place to stay where he was introduced to meth, and it gave him a will to live and helped him escape his trauma.
Eventually, meth didn’t help him anymore, and instead wrecked his life. Early in 2010, he received a possession charge and was given the option of prison or drug court. He moved to Portland to go to De Paul for treatment. In this new city he had to learn how to navigate various systems, and how to survive with nothing but food stamps. For the first year and a half after treatment at De Paul he worked horrible jobs because most places wouldn’t hire him. It was hard to work sometimes because the court wanted him there or in treatment all the time.
In February of 2012, he began working as a peer at Outside In and has been doing peer/counseling work in various settings since. Early in 2014 he graduated from drug court, and in mid-2015 he attained certifications as a CADC I, NCPRSS, and PSS. Since his recovery began, he has found clinical support useful at times, but the most important thing to him was connecting with others who were similarly dedicated to learning, growing, and having fun. Craig’s hope is to provide each peer he supports with the same opportunity of experiencing a life in recovery. Each moment, one moment at a time.