Center for Students in Recovery
Individual Recovery Coaching
1. What is Recovery Coaching?
While medication to treat substance use disorder can make a huge difference, especially for people suffering from physical dependence, it may not be appropriate in many cases. for most people, addiction is more than just a chemical dependency—it’s a means of coping with difficult emotions, or a long-standing set of personal habits. With or without medication, having someone to talk to can be crucial. And if that person has some training or experience in substance use recovery, they can offer solutions and support that might be hard to find otherwise.
2. What Do Recovery Coaches Do?
A recovery coach’s job is to support a client in pursuing their own goals. While a person classified as a counselor or a therapist might diagnose addictive behavior and prescribe treatment, this is not the coach’s focus. Instead, a coach will offer someone the tools and guidance needed to follow the path they’ve already chosen. This can include:
- Helping a person form a plan of action
- Directing that person to the right resources
- Helping them navigate the medical system
- Providing accountability and support
- Offering guidance in developing new behavior patterns
- Helping them view their progress objectively
- Assisting in harm reduction for addictive behaviors
In other words, a recovery coach helps people with the gritty, day-to-day process of overcoming addiction.
3. What Does Coaching Look Like in Practice?
The answer is that it varies. Some coaches meet with clients in person, others remotely through video chat. In some cases, recovery coaches may act as “sober companions” to help a person avoid relapsing in challenging situations. Others might provide support to the family of a person in recovery. The coach’s involvement can vary from 24/7 support in the context of a halfway house, to more casual weekly “check-ins.”
In the case of weekly meetings, a coach often begins by getting to know a person’s history with substances, and their individual perspective. From there, the coach helps that person set clear goals, and create a step-by-step process for reaching them. As time goes on, the coach helps them assess what’s working, what isn’t working, and how they can continue to move forward.
Recovery coaches practice active listening, maintain a positive tone, and try to keep a client’s mood up. Coaches encourage self-care, and point clients toward helpful strategies, these can include mindfulness and replacing drinking with new activities or rituals like going to the gym.
Coaches also support people in taking daily steps toward attainable goals. If someone is abstinent, for example, their coach can support them in rebuilding their lives and relationships. If someone is still drinking, coaches can help set realistic reduction goals, and help the client stay accountable to themselves.
If you would like to schedule a session with a recovery coach, or learn more: click here