Recovery Coaching is the new “it” in addiction recovery. Over the past decade recovery Coaching has grow in popularity and for good reason. Those who desire change in their life because of the impact that addiction has had of them or someone they loved once called a local treatment center or self help group but now people are more and more turning to Recovery Coaches for the help that they need. The reason being, recovery Coaches work. Studies show that individuals who have the added support of a recovery coach are more likely to obtain lasting recovery. In order to understand why a recovery coach helps it is important to understand what a recovery coach does.
Recovery coaching is a form of strength based support for those who are struggling with addiction or those who are struggling because of someone else’s addiction. The best comparison out there is that of a counselor but it is important to understand that recovery coaches are not in the business of therapy. Recovery coaches do not spend much time talking about their client’s past and overcoming unresolved childhood issues and they do not diagnose their clients for medical intervention. A Recovery Coach can and will work with their clients on creating plans to best accomplish goals and will spend time with past situations but only in retrospect on how they effect today. Recovery Coaching is focused on the now and future possibilities. A Recovery Coach adds a level of recovery support unmet by any other intervention. It is like adding octane boost to your recovery fuel tank.
A Recovery Coach can be useful at any stage of a person’s recovery and can be added to any treatment regimen. For example, lets use Jamie. Jamie decided that her addiction was out of control but she had no idea where to start. She knew she needed help but had no idea of where to get it. She typed in the word recovery into her computer and she saw an array of agencies, phone numbers, blogs and everything else and now felt more confused that she did before she went searching for answers. She did although see an add for a recovery coach who offered free consultations and claimed to be risk free so Jamie made the call and set up an appointment to speak with this recovery coach about her desired recovery. She spoke to the coach who asked her all kinds of questions about her addiction and her plans for recovery. By the end of the conversation the coach found out that Jamie had been using heroin for 3 years and has never tried to stop before for more than two days because she would always get sick and give up. The coach also found out that Jamie had insurance but could only call certain doctors. Jamie made it clear that she really needed to get off of heroin because she feared she would lose her job if she got caught and it was bad enough that she got caught sleeping in the bathroom the other day. The recovery coach found a detox center for Jamie and she took some time off work and got the help she needed to get through detox. While Jamie was in detox the recovery coach who she spoke with also found some places that she could go after her body got leveled out. Jamie and the coach also figured out how Jamie could miss even more work without her bosses knowing about her addiction without getting fired. At this point Jamie was so appreciative and she asked if the recovery coach would take her on as a client. The coach agreed.
While Jamie was in in-patient treatment she was able to have a phone appointment every week and go over what was going on and what she wanted to do when she got out. She complained that she only talked to her therapist once and still had not seen a doctor since she got there but she felt better knowing that her coach was always there to support her. She also utilized the free e-mailing that her coach offered too because if she had a question or concern she could just email her coach the question and get a response back with almost no wait at all. Eventually she saw a doctor and was given directions for her out patient care. Her coach helped her find a place that she could see a counselor that was close to her house and that her insurance covered. Her counselor was a big help but she did not feel like she was much of a help outside of her 45 minute sessions with her every week. She was happy to still have her coach because when she was stressed or thinking about using again sometimes she could not talk to her counselor and the people she met at a local NA group would not always answer their phones and sometimes she was not totally comfortable talking to strangers about her personal problems. She could not even remember who some of the people on her list were. Her Recovery coach always answered her e-mails and met with her every week to see how she was doing with her goals. Her recovery coach would also give her homework and activities that were based on her personal goals that really helped her stay focused on her recovery and plans for the future and it all supported the treatment she was getting from her therapist.
Jamie found out that some of the people she met in treatment and at the NA groups had already relapsed and it really freaked her out because they seemed to be doing so good plus she had been feeling like she wanted to use again. Work was getting hard again and she was feeling overwhelmed by everything. Her Recovery Coach called to check in on her and she laid it all out on the table. Her coach reminded her how far she had come and some of the goals she had for herself but seeing that Jamie was overwhelmed her coach gave her some numbers that she could call 24/7 and decided that the next time that they had met they would go over what she was doing that was working for her and what she was doing that was not. They talked about how much Jamie liked her therapist but how NA made her uncomfortable because a lot of people seemed to be relapsing and sometimes she felt like some people were only using the rooms to get papers signed for court but she saw that NA was working really well for some people so she felt like she had to do it because of it. Her Coach remembered Jamie saying that her religion was really important to her and asked Jamie if she would be more comfortable talking to a church group that was in recovery rather than NA. Jamie did not even know there were groups like that but she thought it was a great idea. Jamie joined a group at her church and has been working with them ever since. Long story short, Jamie is doing great these days and only speaks to her recovery coach about once every three months and by email. She found a church group that is a great support for her and has met her plans of getting a better job too. She feels really good about herself and always feels like she has support if things get rough. Looking back she feels like she does not know what she would have done without her coach who always seems ready to take on any challenge that came her way.
Stories like this are what Recovery Coaching is all about. Its about supporting clients in their goals for recovery. Jamie was able to work with her coach to review her concerns with the present and her options for the future and in a time and way that was comfortable for her. Recovery Coaches act very much like activists for their clients. By having someone who knows about the ins and outs of addiction recovery and the particular features of your personality, interests, and goals you increase your success potential. Coaches and clients often build close and constructive relationships together, relationships that encourage recovery and honest communication without the fear of judgement and shame. A recovery coach will teach their clients to uncover and utilize all the resources that they have at their disposal. They will assist clients in reaching their true potential by utilizing those internal and external resource for the sake of the their recovery. A Recovery Coach can be added to any treatment program from professional therapy to self help based support groups. A good recovery coach acts as a one stop shop for everything recovery. Recovery coaches can help a client find resources for harm reduction, detox, treatment, family support and education, local or online support groups; or help a client create a change plan to recover on their own. Recovery coaches support any positive change, helping persons coming home from treatment to avoid relapse, build community support for recovery, or work on life goals not related to addiction such as relationships, work, education etc. Recovery coaching is action oriented with an emphasis on improving present life and reaching goals for the future.
A Note from Todd Dempsey, CEO of Advent Recovery, Certified Addiction Counselor and Recovery Coach.
Becoming a Recovery Coach has to be one of the greatest career decisions that I have ever made in my life. I have worked in the field of mental health and recovery for years as a Prevention specialist, Addictions counselor and under many other capacities but nothing is as pleasing to me than that of my work as a Recovery Coach. By working as a Recovery Coach I can utilize all of the skills and specializations I have earned as a counselor but be able to work with my clients on a much more comprehensive level than I would if I were just counseling. Coaching is different because I am able to actively work with my clients on a regular basis in the pursuit of their recovery. I am able to work with my clients to utilize all the tools at their disposal and increase their chances of success. I am not bound by the policies of an institution or agency. I am able to work with my clients as little or as much as they would like and in anyway they would like. We can chat, message, skype, call, really our options are limitless. I got into addiction recovery with the intention of helping anyone who wanted it but found out that I really could only help others who really wanted it and had certain types of insurance or met the requirements of the programs I worked within. Now the only requirement people need to work with me is a desire to stop using. I will always work with people as far as payment goes and as long as we can come up with an agreement we can begin some pretty awesome work together. As long as I can eat and you can recovery we can get going. My clients do not have to fit in a box rather they just need to tell me what their box looks like and we will work from there. There is a lot of science behind recovery but it always starts with where you’re at and that is exactly where I intend to meet you.