Peer Support Circles and Meetings

Community meetings and support circles are top priorities in the Ionian day.  Regularly, the entire community sets aside time from the busyness of life to talk with each other. There is no subject too mundane, too personal or too philosophic for consideration.  An atmosphere of relaxed attention is brought to the evolving discussion.  Participating in circles and meetings is considered a profound contribution to the whole community.  All ages speak up, and each subject is given whatever amount of time it needs.

From 30 years of personal experience in our families, residents, and participation with Alaska’s behavioral health system, Ionians have learned to work with conditions of all kinds including addictions, emotional storminess, and altered states.  However, we don’t think in terms of mental illness. Instead we think about point of view, pathways, process, balance, peer support and gathered energy.  It seems that most people are isolated from each other because of the structure, pace and diet that accompany modern life.  Contemporary society has produced so much individual pressure and isolation that even nuclear family life is gradually disassembling. It is possible that this pressure is causing imbalances for many people.  The absurdity of this personal isolation has led us to deeply explore gathered energy and common vision.

Ionia shelters its individuals and families from the winds that blow. Problems which could devastate an individual or family are absorbed by the larger context. Everything from illness to death, financial crisis to marital crisis, physical abuse to substance abuse, from ignorance to arrogance, from lack of love to lack of housing is absorbed. Ionians are a group. From oldest to youngest, we are a team. We win together. We lose together. We celebrate and mourn together. Defeats are softened and victories are sweetened because we do them together.