What is a Recovery Coach?

woman and her recovery coach sitting by a campfire in the woods

What is a Recovery Coach?

A Recovery Coach, also known as a Sober Coach, is a generic term that covers many different roles. They provide invaluable support for people trying to overcome their compulsive, obsessive, destructive behaviors. A Recovery Coach is a kind of “Life Coach” that helps clients make smart choices and healthy decisions, with the number-one priority being not picking up a drink or a drug that day, or acting out in their addiction. Hiring a Recovery Coach is like buying an insurance policy against relapse.

Why use a Recovery Coach?

Thousands of people go to inpatient treatment centers to recover from addiction every year. These programs provide a safe, structured environment for learning and developing a new, healthy and satisfying way of living.

While “Rehab” can be difficult and challenging, the most troubling times for a person attempting recovery is often the first 90 days after leaving treatment. Returning home, familiar sights like drugs and alcohol left in the home can be triggering, while the realities of life—job pressures, family tension, bills piling up—can all be overwhelming. This is when a Recovery Coach can be most helpful.

Encouragement, Guidance, and Support

Recovery Coaches can help the recovering client navigate the treacherous path of early sobriety. They provide a bridge between the safe and secure world of inpatient treatment to the real world where all the old temptations lie in wait, ready to sabotage your recovery.

Recovery Coaches continue working with clients on a daily basis to help them establish habits and behaviors that encourage and reinforce a healthy lifestyle. They also help them connect with the local recovery community to find the resources they need to support their sobriety:

  • Appropriate twelve-step meetings
  • Therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and other medical support staff
  • Outpatient programs that ensure clients get an appropriate level of support
  • A gym, yoga studio, or athletic activity groups, such as a running or cycling club
  • A sponsor to take them through their 12-step recovery program

The goal of a Recovery Coach is to allow the client to find their own niche in the recovery world, reminding and encouraging them to have fun and explore new activities that are healing and supportive.

Why use a recovery coach when you can go to AA and get a sponsor for free?

A Recovery Coach is not an AA sponsor. They possess many characteristics of a good sponsor, but a Recovery Coach does much more. Assessing what the client’s needs are, and recommending more than one suitable option is just the beginning. It’s like having your own personal case manager:

Unlike a volunteer sponsor, a Recovery Coach is a professional who works for you. They can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They will help you devise a plan with realistic daily goals, help keep you accountable to it, and continually reassess and make adjustments as you progress.

A good Recovery Coach leads by example. They share what’s worked in the past and what’s working now. They relate on a personal level with the client, meeting them exactly where they are, spiritually, mentally and physically. They not only help clients stay sober but also show them how to be happy and enjoy their sobriety.

Recovery Coaches can help create healthy boundaries in all areas of your life. They can teach communication skills to help you relate openly and honestly with family members and challenging relationships in your life. In the workplace, they can guide you on how to respond to questions and concerns of co-workers, customers, and colleagues, helping you learn what to say and what not to say.

How do I find a Recovery Coach?

Most inpatient treatment centers can recommend a Recovery Coach that they have experience with. A simple Google search brings up numerous resources for finding a Recovery Coach. As of now, there is no official federal licensing process for Recovery Coaching, but some states have various certifications for “Peer-to-Peer” coaching for addictions and severe mental illness that require a demonstrated proficiency in various aspects of Recovery Coaching.

A little bit of research is well worth the effort because a good Recovery Coach can make the difference between staying stuck in an endless cycle of addiction and breaking through to a life of fulfillment in recovery.