Drug and alcohol addiction retains a tremendous stigma in our society. So does being a member of the LGBTQ community. Kimberly Allen, founder and president of Big Blue Eye Consulting personally knows the struggles of each all too well. As a licensed chemical dependency counselor and certified peer support specialist in substance use disorders and mental health conditions, Kimberly works closely with families and individuals impacted by substance use disorders and mood disorders.
When asked about her experiences with her clients and their families, Kimberly shared, “I work within the LGBTQ community because I feel it vitally important for all of us to not internalize the message that we cannot get better or we do not have the support to do so. We do have the role model support and I am living proof. I offer my lived experiences and my success, not just in sobriety, not just in recovery. I am a big believer in recovery but what I am talking about is thriving and being successful.
In fact, Jackie Shoemaker, a former client, credits this shared experience and vulnerability for overcoming her additions. “She taught me how to handle situations and that I didn’t have to worry. I didn’t have to freak out. There was always a solution. She made me comfortable being myself and being sober.”
Kimberly also knows that recovery is very much a family affair and ensures that her clients support network is fully engaged. “The biggest thing I learned is that you don’t know what you don’t know. And for sure you don’t have a clue what you are doing. Kimberly was Jackie’s advocate, but she was my advocate, as well.” shared Billy Shoemaker, Jackie’s father on his experience working with Big Blue Eye Consulting.
Kimberly knows that authenticity and connection are the core of Big Blue Eye Consulting’s success, “Despite all of my education and credentials, I don’t view myself an expert on you. You know you better than I know you. I am simply an interpreter. I have survived more than one serious illness. There is nothing I coach in that I don’t do myself.”
More about Kimberly Allen and Big Blue Eye Consulting
With a Master of Science in Family Studies, Kimberly consults and works closely with families and supporters, helping them navigate primary care and behavioral health systems. Kimberly interfaces directly with healthcare providers within the clinical setting and helps to provide and support post-discharge updates for ongoing recovery plans. Kimberly also shows individuals how to utilize free or low-cost wellness tools, helping individuals to maintain long-term recovery. In addition, she provides private recovery education for families and individuals post discharge from treatment organizations. Kimberly is trained in mediation and skillfully guides family discussions. In addition, Kimberly conducts recovery education for licensed counselors and treatment center executives and staff, teaching how to communicate with individuals with mood disorders, helping them to promote wellness, recovery and resiliency. Kimberly presently serves as Chair of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Texas Grassroots organization. She is also participating as part of the Patient and Stakeholder Advisory Committee on a three-year study conducted by the Department of Population Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. The study will assess the impact of switching into high deductible health plans on outcomes for patients with bipolar disorder. Other projects include her participating as the Integrated Health Liaison for Texans for Recovery and Resiliency. TRR is a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration federally supported program and is a collaboration between the Statewide Family Mental Health Network and the Recovery Community Services Program Statewide Network. The purpose of the program is to enhance the capacity of and collaboration across statewide networks representing mental health and addictions recovery communities, to improve access to and quality of behavioral health systems, services, treatment and recovery supports statewide.
If you or a friend are in need of support, please contact Kimberly at [email protected].