I have been involved with Western Mass RLC for 10 months. At the time I found it, I was literally in the worst state of mind I can ever remember and was hanging on by my finger tips. I was shocked at first that someone might want me, with a psychiatric history, who had been hiding it all my adult life, to work with them and actually talk about what I had been through openly with others with shared experience. In my past professional work, I would have been fired for this. I can’t begin to express what healing has come to me because not only was I given permission to be genuinely where I was, but I found a wonderful community that I could relate and belong to. I feel inspired by being with others who have struggled and are healing and I feel inspired by being part of a group who are working to free all people from whatever constraints have been placed upon them. I discovered that belonging, free of judgement is a key to recovery. RLC is based on values of mutuality, respect, optimism, genuine human relationships, personal strength and self determination and creating a healing environment for all. We are not perfect, as we are human, but this is a completely different scenario then day programs or club house models. I/We are not saying that these offerings are wrong or bad. We are suggesting that there be an alternative present, just like someone choosing to take echinacea for there cold instead of night-quill. RLC supports the opportunity to step away from an old identity as a sick person and embrace the natural healing potential that is present in all people. RLC is a movement toward the evolution of human consciousness where no one is put into a box because of their personal choices, orientation, unique expression or history. This is the natural trajectory of things. It’s happening in all areas of life. To cut funding for this alternative, is breaking our movement forward. as a species. Why move toward a more limiting stance verses an expansive one? We are already on our way to a more gracious and accepting world. Why stop now?