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Recovery Coach Professional© Mastery or Master?

Recovery Coach Professional

On Monday, March 13, 2022, I went to THE CCAR headquarters.

After years of working with CCAR, seeing everyone in person felt like I knew them my whole life. It was like seeing family for the holidays; we hugged, and it was a beautiful experience.

I was there to attend the CCAR Advanced Academy for Recovery Coaches; my mom (Naetha Uren, Recovery Coach Academy CEO) had booked three weeks prior when Phil Valentine, CCAR Executive Director, and Stacy Charpentier, CCAR Training Director were in Qatar delivering the first Arabic-speaking CCAR Recovery Coach Academy Training.

The training room was set up with tables that sat 4- 5 people, our glossy manuals laid out nicely with our name tag, and the smell of coffee brewing in the corner. Oh, and I can’t forget Phil’s groovy playlist playing in the background as everyone was saying hello.

Everyone wore a smile on their face and were excited to learn. I was excited to learn. It felt warm and loving, the vibes in the room.

Then training started.

Phil yells “Let’s get started, Let’s get started, LET’S GET…” and everyone followed, “STARTED!”

I should have expected my perceptions and beliefs to be challenged, after all this was a CCAR training. Let’s just say there was no time wasted.

Module One, First Question: Define Mastery

Oh boy, here we go.

Based on my previous experiences, I immediately started thinking about Master… “Egotistical, Power, Privilege, Slavery, Entitlement, “Better Than,” Unteachable, Men, Dangerous, Control.”

I have seen and continue to see how a title can change people.

First lesson: Everything you say to a person is filtered through their frame of reference, biases, experiences, and preconceived ideas.

Naturally, I had to look up the difference between Master and Mastery. defines these both as:



  1. a person with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of something: to be master of one's fate.

  2. an owner of enslaved people, in the institution of chattel slavery; a slaveholder:


  1. being master; exercising mastery; dominant.

  2. chief or principal: a master list.

verb (used with object)

to make oneself master of; become adept in: to master a language.

to conquer or overcome: to master one's pride.



  1. command or grasp, as of a subject: a mastery of Italian.

  2. superiority or victory: mastery over one's enemies.

  3. the act of mastering.

  4. expert skill or knowledge.

  5. the state of being master; the power of command or control.

After looking up the definitions, I understood where we were headed with this question. We were asked to jot down our thoughts and discuss “Mastery” in our small groups, the conversation was fruitful. I personally love collaborative learning, after all, we know from our experience of delivering CCAR Training there is much power when like-minded individuals come together.

After our group discussion, some key points became very apparent to me when it comes to defining mastery and it’s relation to recovery coaching:

Mastery is when actions move from conscious awareness to unconscious awareness.

For example, prior to becoming a Recovery Coach Professional, RCP© I was a Recovery Worker at a drug service.

The two roles are very different, the role of a Recovery Worker is strictly focused on treatment, for example, “What are you using? How often? How much? Etc”. Where a Recovery Coach Professional, RCP© is future-focused. I am a Role-Model, Friend, Ally, Advocate, Resource Broker, etc, and it’s about meeting people where they are today.

“How can I help you with your recovery today?”.

Transitioning into the recovery coach role took practice, lots of practice. I prepared before each coaching session, I asked for feedback, I tried different questions, and when some didn’t work out, I’d try new ones. I love a good reflective practice. I continuously had to remind myself to remain future-focused; the role of a recovery coach focuses on building recovery capital.

Three years later, my coaching practice looks a lot different. Honestly, when I am Recovery Coaching, alcohol addiction or drug addiction rarely comes up. The people I Coach need help with things like how to get a bus pass, how to set up a Google calendar, etc.

I have moved from consciously to unconsciously coaching recovery.

Mastery is achieved over time.

Malcolm Gladwell, in his book “Outliers: The Story of Success” talks about the 10,000-hour rule stating that the key to achieving true expertise in any skill is simply a matter of practicing, the correct way, for at least 10,000 hours.

Lucky for Recovery Coach Professionals, RCP©, every conversation you have is an opportunity to practice your coaching skills.

The foundational principles of Recovery Coaching can be applied to all areas of our life.

For example, I believe Recovery Coaching has made me a better parent. When I started managing “my stuff,” asking my son good questions, and treating him like a resource, it felt satisfying to see how something so simple could make such a big impact.

Another great example is the work we do at Recovery Coach Academy. We have chosen to embody the foundational principles of Recovery Coaching within our business as well as continue doing what is R.I.G.H.T (Respect, Integrity, Gratitude, Honesty, Transparency).

I could tell you how we do this, but it doesn’t mean anything if those we support don’t feel it. So I’ll share with you how a Recovery Coach Academy alumni described their experience on a Trustpilot review:

I’ve just completed the Recovery Coaching course with Naetha and Calliese and it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Their warmth, kindness, and enthusiasm are second to none, and they bring their experiential and learned knowledge into everything they do. The community that was created on the course held everyone so safely and it was a privilege to spend time learning with so many motivated and courageous people. The course manual provided is a wealth of information, but it was the conversations that were so expertly facilitated that brought the greatest learning for me. I feel part of a larger community now and look forward to attending more sessions with RCA.

  • Polly Johnson

The role of a Recovery Coach Professional, RCP© is a human role.

This line of work requires Heart, Soul, and Love. Yes, I said I love. At the end of the day, we all need to feel love and belonging.

I will be talking more about this in future blog posts.

Mastery is continuous learning

Not long after moving to England, I started managing a little Recovery Cafe. We ran groups and activities, had cheap food and drinks, and it was open to all, so we’d often get staff at the local shops popping in for a bite and a friendly chat. I remember one day, a man came in and asked how I was, I responded, “Living the dream”. He looked at me in confusion and said, “What does that mean?”.

That day the dots connected. It also highlighted the cultural differences between England and America.

Growing up, the phrase “living the dream” expressed that life was good.

But it goes way deeper than that.

The original term “American Dream” comes from the book “Epic of America” written by James Truslow Adams in 1931, where he described it as "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement."

I was raised with the concept that if you work hard, go to college, get married, have babies, get a job, stay with it, prove yourself, and move up, you’ll get the big house, a white picket fence and that’s what was called the American Dream.

Well, that’s not exactly how life goes.

But I do believe this may play a role in my strong work ethic.

As a young girl, I mowed yards and babysat other kids for a little cash here and there. At 15 or 16, I started working at Sonic as a roller-skating car hop (roller skates and food are not a combination for me). I then moved to work at Country Clubs; I started as a server, moved up to bartending, then to event coordinator, and on to becoming a manager.

For me personally, a title has never been enough, I am always looking for the next growth opportunity.

When I started working at a Drug Service here in the UK, I asked what I could do to learn and develop myself to move up eventually. My supervisor was baffled by my question and didn’t really know how to respond. I stated I could start doing the online learning in their system, so if I did move up I already had all the required learning complete.

I was scheduled for work at 9 am to open the cafe at 10 am, so I’d wake up at 5 am to catch the bus and hopefully get an hour or two of online learning before my shift started. My coworker would say “Calliese, why don’t you just get a job and stick with it”.

See I thought everyone had the willingness to continue to learn and develop themselves personally and professionally. That’s not the case.

One day Phil and I were having a conversation as he drove through the middle of the bare trees, under the grey-blue skies, and Buddy curled up in the back. I had said something about how I wish people would be more willing to continue learning. I asked, “How can we create a community where people are willing to continue to learn?”

He responded simply, “We can’t”.

I can role model and encourage continuous learning. But I can’t make anyone become teachable. Or willing.

Learning, Personal and Professional development come naturally to me, like food and water. I am a lifelong learner. I am curious. I know I have something to learn from everyone, even in my role as a CCAR Facilitator. When I deliver training I know everyone on the training has something I can learn from them.

Mastery of Recovery Coaching means remaining teachable. Besides, how can you encourage those you support to learn if you yourself are not willing to do the same?

Mastery can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.

- Leonardo Da Vinci

How can we support others on a journey of self-improvement and self-discovery if we are not on that too?

Recently I was at a train station in London with my mom; we were discussing appropriate levels of vulnerability (deep conversations for running through a train station).

She said some people don’t know how to be vulnerable or how to respond when they are confronted with vulnerability, especially when they are in the wrong. She said they couldn’t look in the mirror and raised her hand as if I’d just left her hanging in a high-five.

Two escalator rides down, my mind had already gone down a spider web. I questioned how I learned mirror work, accountability, and owning “my stuff” as well as working to improve.

The answer is simple, recovery.

When I started my recovery, I had to look in the mirror and answer what do I see? Am I proud of her? At the time, I was black and blue, bruised and swollen, and didn’t know that girl in the mirror. It was time for me to invest in her, dig deep, and turn the light back on in her soul.

I had to start owning my actions and taking accountability for who I was and what I had done, good and bad. My journey through recovery has taught me to look at my role in situations, question my actions, take accountability, and ask for guidance and support when needed. I know I would not be able to do my work without continuously working on myself.

Yet again, not everyone does this naturally.

“He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still”

  • Lao Tzu

I am not completely in love with the term “Master Coach”… yet. I do believe it is important that we recognize the assets and skills of people who have achieved a high level of competency in their Art of Recovery Coaching.

For now, I will continue to explore. More shall be revealed.

Calliese Conner, proud Recovery Coach Professional, RCP©

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