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Book Foreword

I will never forget the moment I met Mr. Craig Lewis. I was sitting outside my friend’s house, in my car, cruising the Facebook newsfeed in a frenzy. I was on the prowl, looking, searching for something. Like most of us on social media, we aren’t always looking for something specific. 

Sometimes, we are gazing at our screens, waiting for that “Oh, wow!” moment to strike when we stumble on to a juicy piece of celebrity gossip, news, or the following weight-loss strategy to shed a few pounds before the next social meetup.

Let me provide a little more context—the beginning of COVID. Flight restrictions were beginning to mount, and no one knew what was next. I am in the health profession, specifically mental health. So, when the news was starting to emerge about COVID on the Facebook Newsfeed, I watched and hoped to learn what I could do about this frightening new threat to my mental peace.

Like most of us, I hope to learn more about my craft. As a self-proclaimed ‘Prosumer,’ I aim to produce information on my blog Mental Health Affairs, every day. I also consume information, ideas, and concepts to treat my diagnosis of Schizophrenia, hoping to heal further and recover. 

So, when I stumbled on to a friend of a friend’s ‘share,’ from a Mr. Craig Lewis, talking about traveling back to Mexico on an airplane and a litany of replies, warm wishes, and self-statements about his mental health, my focus was firmly fixed on the thread in front of me.

That’s when I began reading about Mr. Craig Lewis. Outside my friend’s house, still parked, but now getting texts from my friend inquiring about why I was still outside, parked on my phone on Facebook. “I’ll be inside soon,” I texted my friend. As I continued reading Craig’s feed, looking back on his timeline, I knew it would be a while until this first encounter was over.

Soon, I found myself sending Craig a direct message. Before I knew it, we were talking on an audio call. A little later, I walked into my friend’s house, gesturing to my phone, signaling I was on a call with someone important. That was over three years ago. 

Three years later, I serendipitously find myself writing this Foreword to Craig’s most crucial literary creation yet, The Original Peer Support Recovery and Coping Skills Workbook & Curriculum. Over the last three years, I have had the tremendous pleasure of learning about Craig’s literary works. I have read and studied all of them from the vantage point of the Prosumer. 

I can confidently say how versatile Mr. Craig Lewis’s books are to the reader in their application and contribution to the existing Mental Health discourse, Mr. Craig Lewis’s books raise the bar that much higher for every author that walks in his footsteps on the recovery literature scene.

The Original Peer Support Recovery and Coping Skills Workbook & Curriculum challenge its readers with worksheets, exercises, and self-empowering statements to help readers reframe, rethink, and motivate again and again as the book unfolds. These exercises are as powerful as they are authentic. We are learning from the Recovery guru himself, who used and practiced these tools himself in his recovery, a path the author is open and transparent.

Mr. Craig Lewis’s book needs to sit on the shelves of clubhouses and community rooms for people to access at their disposal. The Original Peer Support Recovery and Coping Skills Workbook & Curriculum belong in day treatment programs everywhere. Mr. Lewis’s book should be required reading for patients embarking upon discharge from inpatient and partial hospitals needing recovery-oriented skills for living in the community. 

As a mental health therapist, I sometimes struggle to find accessible and relatable material to complete in sessions with my patients and exercises for homework assignments in between sessions. The Original Peer Support Recovery and Coping Skills Workbook & Curriculum offer a robust and plentiful assortment of activities. Even the most seasoned mental health worker will never go without as long as they have a copy.

If you are looking for high-tech, sugar-coated rhetoric that is overpriced and, quite frankly, dated, look elsewhere.

Craig Lewis, in his writing, lifestyle, and connectedness to the real struggle of people living with mental health issues, has ushered in ‘Post-Pat Deegan’ era recovery rhetoric.

max E. Guttman, LCSW


Mr. Lewis has gone beyond my wildest expectations with The Original Peer Support Recovery and Coping Skills Workbook & Curriculum. I am confident that when you pick this book up and begin reading, you, the reader, and my words here will be on the same page.

About the Author

J. Peters

J. Peters is the Editor-in-Chief of Mental Health Affairs.

Award-winning book author and Bold 10 Under ten award recipient J. Peters, LCSW. Through his work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Mental health therapist and disability rights advocate Mr. Peters fights for those without a voice in various care systems, such as the New York City Department of Social Services, the New York State Office of Mental Health, or the city's Department of Corrections.

Mr. Peter's battle with Schizophrenia began at New London University in his last semester of college. Discharged from Greater Liberty State Hospital Center in July 2008, Jacque's recovery was swift but not painless and indeed brutal after spending six months there.

He has published several journal articles on recovery and mental health and three books: University on Watch, Small Fingernails, and Wales High School. He is also a board member of the newspaper City Voices. Mr. Peters currently sits on the CAB committee (Consumer Advisory Board) for the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene in NYC and the Office of Mental Health (OMH) as a peer advocate.

Owner of Recovery Now in New York, a private psychotherapy practice, Mr. Peter's approach is rooted in a foundation of evidence-based practices (EBP). Jacques earned a master's degree in Social Work from Binghamton University and worked as a field instructor for master's and bachelor's level students in NYC.

He is blogging daily on his site mentalhealthaffairs.blog, Mr. Peters regularly writes articles relating to his lived experience with a mental health diagnosis.

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