Being child 5 of 8 children meant while growing up, if I wanted something I had to speak up and act in my own behalf.

If I wanted seconds at dinner not only did I have to make my intentions clear, I had to eat faster than my siblings.

When I wanted new clothing and not hand-me-downs, I had to lobby and/or earn money for them.

Getting lost in the shuffle was a constant hazard.

Lost in the shuffle of recovery can be just as hazardous.

Some of the choices I made as an adult relieved me of a number of the options and responsibilities of advocating for myself.

This introduced me to an ugly cousin of self-advocacy which is manipulation.

Learning how to get what I wanted at any cost and the ultimate cost was very high, I eventually ran out of advocates i.e.; loved ones, friends and options.

Now being without a job, with a mental health diagnosis and a criminal record. I was out of practice in the skill of self-advocacy.

No one trusted me enough to help advocate for me in seeking many of the services I needed seemed to have a built-in lack of trust for people with the labels which I now carried.

I had to rebuild my skillset through seeking resources myself and I had to persevere.

My self-confidence although still bruised, was growing, this allowed me the courage to reach out to those who had faced similar challenges and had found success.

I began to find success for myself.

It required me to adjust my vision of a future into a version that was closer with more easily attainable steps.

Employing a version of the following steps helped me reach goals and find success:

Ten Steps to Being an Effective Self-Advocate

  1. Believe in Yourself.
  2. Know your Rights.
  3. Decide what you Want.
  4. Get the Facts.
  5. Planning Strategy.
  6. Gather Support.
  7. Target Efforts.
  8. Express Yourself Clearly.
  9. Assert Yourself Calmly.
  10. Be Firm and Persistent.

These step led me to find the degree of success that suits me now.

It is the template that supports my future success.

I offer this same template to others seeking the success of self-advocacy.

Will Allphin, Foundation for Recovery

Source of listed steps: http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/info-center/how-to-self-advocate/