What Is a Recovery Coach and Do I Need One?

As the song goes, “We all need somebody to lean on.” This is especially true when it comes to recovery. You cannot go it alone.

Beating addiction is one of the most important things you will ever do for yourself and your family in your lifetime. But once you place yourself on the path of recovery, the work of staying sober begins in earnest. It requires ongoing vigilance and committed support.

Up to 65% of people in the first year of recovery will relapse at least once. With those daunting odds it is essential to use all the tools at your disposal, including residential rehab, outpatient services, 12-step programs and a sober social support network. Research has shown that multiple streams of support are needed in order for you to stay sober.

One of the ways you can bolster your sobriety and enhance your life is with the help of a recovery coach. A recovery coach is a professional sober life coach. This individual guides and supports you in recovery from addiction. They are trained to help you stay on the path of healing.

How Do You Know You Need a Coach?

When you feel overwhelmed by maintaining sobriety, it’s time to reach out for help. It’s important to be honest with yourself and assess your situation. With your sober mind you must recognize the pitfalls of recovery and do all you can to prevent yourself from stepping onto that slippery slope. The time to line up your recovery coach is before the crisis takes hold.

Here are some of the signs that you could benefit from the help of a recovery coach:

  • You’ve been through rehab or some form of counseling or support group but you still feel unstable.
  • You have been sober for a significant period of time but you’re still struggling every day.
  • You feel overwhelmed by the triggers all around you.
  • You aren’t thriving, and every day feels like a chore.
  • You pass the bar you used to get drunk in on the way to work, or the location you got your drugs from, and you are excited by the memory and fear you will want to drink or use.
  • You tried to cut off toxic friends but an old friend with whom you got high keeps texting you.
  • You feel depressed, anxious and stressed out and can’t stop thinking about how using again will relieve these feelings.
  • You are going to meetings and talking to sober friends regularly, but feel you are close to relapse.
  • You’re feeling secure in your sobriety, but your life revolves around avoiding relapse and it’s become exhausting.

There are many strategies for staying sober, such as finding new hobbies, going to meetings and working with a sponsor, but they aren’t always enough. There is no shame in admitting you are in trouble. The shame is not admitting it in time.

The Role of a Recovery Coach

Recovery coaching goes beyond therapy and beyond what a sponsor does. A recovery coach is trained to be actively involved in the life of a recovering addict in order to prevent relapse. A good recovery coach is a leader, a mentor, a partner, a therapist, a spiritual guide and a cheerleader. A coach helps people stay sober and build a life that is meaningful and enjoyable. A coach wants the client to be more than just sober. A good coach wants the client to thrive.

Here are just a few examples of what a coach might do for you:

  • Provide round-the-clock support. Unlike a sponsor, who is a volunteer, a coach works for you. If you need them at 3 a.m. because you think you might use, they will be there.
  • Hold you accountable. A coach will come up with a sobriety plan with you and make sure you do what you say you will do. This person will take the necessary steps to make sure you aren’t using. This could mean random drug testing or checking your house for stashes.
  • Provide support and resources. A coach can help you find the resources you need to get addiction treatment or to engage in other activities that will enrich your life, such as education or finding a better job.
  • Help you set and achieve goals. Coaches want their clients to succeed, but they will not do the work for them. A coach can help you realize what goals you want to achieve and guide you toward their successful conclusion.
  • Communicate with family. Getting back together with family after addiction can be tricky. A coach will sometimes be a liaison who helps you reconnect in a productive way.

A recovery coach can help with many things, but working with one is not meant to replace your doctor or a therapist. A coach cannot diagnose an addiction or treat addiction.

A coach cannot make all your decisions for you, nor can they do the work of addiction recovery for you. A coach is meant to be a guide, not a dictator. If working with a coach sounds like something that could help you, there are professional organizations that can help you find the right person to meet your needs.

Posted on March 29th, 2015

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