HELENA — For Montana women fighting drug addiction and living in the Helena area, they could find hope through a new peer support program, Extraordinary Distances.
Peer support is a brand-new program in the state, and it's funded through Montana Medicaid and DPHHS.
It is not clinical treatment but rather a different approach. It is based on a mentor with real-life experience, like Erica Durham, who once battled drug addiction herself and now wants to help others on their road to recovery.
"Peer support is based on a lived experience. My education, my background is irrelevant, to how I connect to another person," Durham said.
The program is relatively new to the state, and she is one of the more than 100 peer supporters in the state that share the goal to keep Montanans drug-free and give Montanan women, like Aryka Grove a second chance at life.
"I came from absolutely nothing, I was pregnant with my daughter, and I had nowhere to go. I was living on the streets, I was homeless, sleeping outside, sleeping at God's Love, and anywhere I could," Grove said.
She continues and says it is through Extraordinary Distances that she has helped build strength by living a sober and clean life.
"They are there to help you with anything and everything, they're not there to judge you, they're not there to criticize you, they're there to help you, and that's what they are there for...to help," Grove said.
Extraordinary Distances helps with rides, court appearances, finding a job, and other needs, to support those battling addiction get back on their feet.
When asked why she started the peer support, Durham explains "because, you only have moments in time, when you are dealing with addiction, before that struggle becomes too much, and they may go back out and use."
She also added, "I could help them see the gifts that were inside of them, that they could not even see themselves, when they're at their darkest places."
If you or you know someone who is battling addiction and they are trying to seek help, visit here: https://www.extradistances.com/ or call 406-443-2455.