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What is a Recovery Coach?

Since starting Recovery Coach Academy, we’ve been met with a lot of confusion, and questions such as;

  • “Do you recover coaches off the motorway?”

  • “What’s the difference between you and a Sponsor?”

  • “Oh, so you're a Recovery worker or support worker?”

  • “Why are you charging for services that are available for free?”

It is important that we clearly define what IS a Recovery Coach and what is NOT, especially since this is a whole new concept in the UK. In 2008 The CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© Training was conceived in response to individuals with lived experience asking for training to better handle the variety of scenarios generated from recoverees.

Here are 7 of the roles of a Recovery Coach:

  1. Motivator & Cheerleader

  2. Ally & Confidante

  3. TruthTeller

  4. Advocate

  5. Role Model & Mentor

  6. Resource Broker

  7. Problem Solver

4 goals of a Recovery Coach

  • Promote Recovery

  • Remove Barriers

  • Connect recoverees with recoveree support services

  • Encourage hope, optimism, and healthy living

Recovery Coaches bridge the gap between professional services and the continuing process of recovery, focusing on a strength-based approach and long-term interaction. In a recent Facebook Live, we had Michael Serrano, a Recovery Coach Professional and Volunteer Manager at CCAR Community Center join us to talk about Recovery Communities. When he was asked how long people can access support from the Community Center he responded with a “lifetime”. Which is exactly how it should be. Recovery Coaches provide support to the recoveree as long as the recoveree chooses!

Recovery Coaches may have lived experience with substance abuse recovery, and are encouraged to share their experience with the recoveree to provide hope and optimism. Assisting the recoveree to increase recovery capital, increase self-efficacy, and empower them to set goals and take actionable steps to achieve them. Recovery Coaches differ from other services because the focus is on the present, “How can I help you with your recovery today!?”

Recovery Coaches also differ from a Sponsor as they support many/all pathways of recovery, allowing the recoveree to choose their pathway of recovery while walking beside them on their journey.

Recovery Coaches treat recoverees as a resource allowing them to have a voice, and feel confident in their decision-making process, by doing so increases the recoveree's self-esteem and productivity.

Recovery Coaches can be volunteers but with the new recovery movement they must move up the career ladder into paid employment as mentioned in my previous blog “Lived Experience is Priceless”. It is common for Recovery Coaches to have a paid role in the U.S.A. This has been happening for years, promoting a culture embracing recovery orientation.

A Recovery Coach is NOT a Recovery Worker or a Counselor/Clinician. They work to initiate recovery; Recovery Coaches work to Sustain Recovery. Phil Valentine describes it simply in his blog titled “Joshua’s Knee: Recovery Coach Role Further Defined”

“Counselors/ Clinicians serve as surgeons in the treatment of addiction. Recovery Coaches serve as Physical Therapists.”

In the UK we have Recovery workers/Support workers who are often hired at drug services, they are NOT Recovery Coaches. In the Recovery Coach Academy© Training, we talk a lot about “Staying in our Lane” which is another topic to be further discussed.

Recovery Coaching is such a brand new concept to the UK we find ourselves having these conversations almost daily, which means we still have A LOT of work to do. There is more to be written about the role of a Recovery Coach, but for now, I hope you have more of an understanding of what a recovery coach is and the vital role they play in creating a culture of recovery.

It is time for a New Recovery Movement.

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