What is a Recovery Coach?
A Recovery Coach is a trained non-clinical individual interested in promoting recovery by removing barriers and obstacles to recovery and serving as a personal guide and mentor for people seeking or already in recovery.
The relationship is very personal. This peer-to-peer strength based approach to addiction focuses on a person’s assets while maintaining and deepening recovery.
During each meeting, the person in recovery chooses the focus of conversation, while the coach listens and contributes observations and questions. This interaction creates clarity and moves the individual toward action. Recovery Coaching supports the client’s progress in recovery by providing greater focus and awareness of choices, actions, and responsibility. Coaching concentrates on where individuals are now and what they are willing to do to improve their lives.
A Recovery Coach helps the person in recovery rebuild his or her life after dealing with their addiction by:
• Working with their strengths
• Resolving their limitations
• Helping create the life they want
• Reaching their potential
Through this process of change, those in recovery hope to improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.
When Should You Use a Recovery Coach?
People seek out a Recovery Coach at various times during their recovery. The best time to pursue the services a Recovery Coach is the moment a person is considering recovery. Some people may consider using a Recovery Coach prior to changing their unhealthy behavior(s) because the idea of change can be terrifying.
Still others may utilize a Recovery Coach after attending a rehab treatment facility. This is when there is the greatest risk of relapse. According to the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), there is a 60% relapse rate for substance abuse patients and the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) found evidence that 90% of Alcoholics relapse at least once after Rehab.
A Recovery Coach can assist a client with substance behavior misuse or addictions including:
- Drug and/or alcohol abuse
- Eating Disorders
- Mental Illness
What’s the difference between a 12-Step Sponsor, a Therapist and a Recovery Coach?
Recovery Coaching is intended for those are looking for a peer-to-peer support system
Therapy is for those who are seeking relief from emotional or psychological pain. Recovery Coaching is often used in conjunction with therapy but should not be considered a substitute for therapy.
Recovery Coaching ethics and guidelines require that if a client is primarily seeking relief from emotional or psychological pain they must to be referred to a therapist.
Recovery Coaching focuses on the present and future while therapy focuses primarily on the past. In therapy the concern is how unresolved issues are impacting the present. With Recovery Coaching the question is what can be done today to move the client forward toward their goals and the realization of their vision of wellness.
Counseling refers to giving advice while Recovery Coaches present options. Counseling implies a “one-up” relationship where the counselor is the expert, whereas the Recovery Coach is neither expert nor authority nor healer; rather, the individual is the expert about his or her life.
Recovery Coaching can be distinguished from counseling and many other professional relationships in that Recovery Coaching is based on partnership. Counselors, doctors, and consultants have expert knowledge that they impart in the form of advice, diagnosis, or providing a solution. A Recovery Coach’s job is to get the client to think. Recovery Coaches rarely give advice. They don’t diagnose. Instead, they work with their client to come up with their own solutions, to make their own choices, and they support their client to stay on track and take the actions that bring about transformation.
A sponsor functions within the capacity of 12-step programs (e.g. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, etc.). A sponsor’s role is to help their sponsee stay clean and sober by working through the 12 steps and using the program and fellowship effectively to stop addictive behaviors. Sponsors have a singleness of purpose—to help sponsees live by the steps and traditions and cleaning up the past. A sponsor does not receive payment for their work but does benefit on a personal level from the support they offer others by staying clean and sober or abstinent themselves. Nor do sponsors integrate community support into the 12-step program.
A Recovery Coach is not limited to using the steps and traditions of a 12-step program and may not focus as much on the past in the way that a sponsor does. Recovery Coaches are not affiliated with any 12-step program and do not promote a particular pathway to recover. Although many Recovery Coaches are members of 12-step programs and have a sponsor, a Recovery Coach’s job is to challenge and support individuals as they make lifestyle changes and begin to have a better quality of life.