Get the support you need by working with a recovery coach.
A recovery coach is someone who works with people experiencing a substance use disorder, or individuals who are in or have gone through addiction treatment. Coaches can help you understand your treatment options, accompany and support you during recovery, and help reduce your chances of a relapse by keeping you accountable. Coaches can also help you define and set attainable goals to help you maintain a sober lifestyle.
Recovery coaches are a nonclinical resource and do not provide treatment or diagnoses for addiction. They can, however, be certified by national and state accrediting bodies. Oftentimes, coaches have been in long-term recovery themselves, allowing them to empathize with their clients.
Ultimately, recovery coaches can work with you to support positive lifestyle changes to keep you on the path of recovery, including in areas such as relationships, careers, or education.
Naturally, a recovery coach should be someone you connect with, whether that’s through shared life experiences, goals, or demographics. Knowing ahead of time what you’re looking for will help you narrow down your options.
Mentor versus professional coach
If it’s the right person, there is value in either route you take when choosing someone to guide you, be it a peer serving as a mentor, or a certified professional coach.
Mentorship is important for recovery and can provide the support you’re looking for. However, it’s important to know that although peers who are mentors can offer support, encouragement, and stress reduction, they will often relate to you primarily from the perspective of their recovery.
If you are looking for more, you will want to work with a certified coach. These recovery coaches have professional training in a variety of strategies. If you or someone you know would benefit from strategic activities rooted in evidence-based treatments, a certified, professional coach can provide that.
12-step versus evidence-based treatments
There are generally two types of approaches to working with individuals and families dealing with substance use disorders. The 12-step approach is based on Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA); this is a self-help therapeutic method that emphasizes the goal of complete abstinence. In contrast, the evidence-based approach uses a variety of psychotherapies and medications that scientific studies have shown to be effective in targeting the source of an addiction.
Local versus remote coaching
Many recovery coaches work remotely — whether by email, phone, or videoconferencing –– which allows them to be available to you at a moment’s notice. But because this relationship focuses heavily on accompaniment, whether that’s to escort clients to treatment appointments or provide accountability at an event that might be triggering, you may benefit from working with a local recovery coach, whether that person is a certified coach or a mentor.