What Is a Recovery Coach and Do I Need One?

Posted on March 29th, 2015

A recovery coach is a professional sober life coach. This is someone who guides and supports a person in recovery from addiction and helps prevent relapses. Did you know that up to 65 percent of people in the first year of recovery will relapse at least once? Those are daunting odds. The goal of a recovery coach is to be actively involved in the life of a recovering addict in order to prevent a relapse from happening. He or she acts as a combination counselor, sponsor, friend and coach. Should you think about hiring a recovery coach?

Struggling Through Recovery

You’ve been through rehab or some form of counseling or support group. You have been sober for a significant period of time. You’re still struggling, though. You feel like triggers are all around you. That bar where you used to hang out with friends and get drunk is on your way to work. An old friend with whom you got high keeps texting you. You feel depressed, anxious and stressed out and you just know that using again will dampen these feelings.

Recovery is hard and relapse is common. How can you avoid turning back to drugs and alcohol? There are a lot of strategies, like finding new hobbies, going to meetings, working with a sponsor and others, but they aren’t always enough. On the other hand, you may be feeling secure in your sobriety, but your life revolves around avoiding relapse. You aren’t thriving, and every day feels like a chore.

The Role of a Recovery Coach

This is where a recovery coach becomes useful. Coaching goes beyond therapy and beyond what a sponsor does. A coach is much more than any one thing. A good recovery coach is a leader, a mentor, a partner, a therapist, a spiritual guide and a cheerleader. A coach will do just about anything to help a client stay sober and to 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:

  • Be there, day or night. Unlike a sponsor, who is a volunteer, a coach works for you. If you need her at 3 a.m. because you think you might use, she will be there.
  • Keep you accountable. A coach will make sure you do what you say you will do and will take the necessary steps to make sure you aren’t using. This could mean random drug testing or checking your house for stashes.
  • Find resources. A coach can help you find the resources you need to get more treatment or to engage in other activities that will enrich your life, like 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 will guide you toward their successful conclusion.
  • Communicate with family. Getting back together with family after addiction can be tricky. A coach will help you learn to reconnect in a productive way.

What a Coach Cannot Do

A recovery coach fills a pretty big role, but there are limits. A coach is not a doctor or a therapist. She cannot diagnose you with an addiction or treat your addiction. A coach will not tell you what to do. If you are looking for someone to make all of your decisions for you, a coach is not the answer. A coach is 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.

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