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An Addiction Recovery Coach (ARC) is a credentialed non-clinical professional who helps remove the personal and environmental obstacles throughout recovery.
An ARC serves as a personal guide and mentor assisting in initiating and maintaining long-term recovery while enhancing the quality of personal and family life (1). An Addiction Recovery Coach is also known as a Sober Coach.
School teaches us the fundamental skills we need before we venture out into the real world and put those skills to use, often through a process of trial and error. In the same way, the recovery process teaches the skills people need for lifelong sobriety.
For those in recovery, trial and error can be a game with high stakes.
Without adequately preparing for the day-to-day challenges of life in recovery, clients may find themselves relapsing shortly after leaving treatment or anywhere in the recovery process.
That’s where an Addiction Recovery Coach can be strategic and essential.
ARC provides guidance and support with real-world applications as a complement to long-term recovery maintenance and relapse prevention planning.
Whereas therapists address the emotional and psychological issues underlying addiction and problematic substance use, Addiction Recovery Coaching helps develop the practical tools that will improve daily lives.
Although simple on its face, it is quite a task to effectively and appropriately support someone in navigating through obstacles that have proven insurmountable in the past.
I am there to assist every step of the way, through completion, success, and development of a new foundation of confidence and self-esteem that ultimately helps the client motivate themselves to confront and attempt old and new challenges alike, with a new attitude based on new strategies and mounting successes.
Coaches offer guidance in many aspects of addiction recovery.
Even when clients think they have mastered a particular skill, revisiting their experience as it pertains to life in recovery can be both eye-opening and confidence-building.
For example, clients will eventually have to go back to their home and family life, friendships and working environments after treatment or at any point in their recovery. Things will come up that they will be unsure how to handle. Things like: Do I tell them where I have been? Do I tell them I have a problem with alcohol or drugs? What if someone invites me out to the place we use to party? Do I ditch my old drinking friends? So many things come up and I am right there with my clients as will be their community supports.
Some clients will have created financial difficulties because of their behaviour. This is a huge stress for a lot of people. We will work through the opportunities available to meet the situation head-on.
Clients often wonder “How is it possible to have fun without booze and drugs?”
We work through that – it is not impossible!
Some clients come to me after a year or so of continuous sobriety saying “I’m bored” or “I’ve been dreaming about being an entrepreneur or going back to school.” But they are scared to take the plunge, so we work through it while always keeping an eye on the main prize of staying clean and sober. I love seeing my clients re-invent themselves and go on to do great things!
After the complimentary session, I create an individual change or recovery plan with the client that takes into account what they want or need to achieve. If clients are struggling with a specific goal, I may coach them through it.
For all that coaching provides there are a few things that coaching is not, and it is important that clients understand my role.
I’m not a therapist and I am not qualified to be one. I am not a sponsor nor am I affiliated with any particular peer support group. I talk about the things the client wants to change, not how others want them to be. My goals are simple: to help clients reconnect with the great qualities that are already in them and offer unconditional support in helping them become who they really want to be.
Coaching is not a replacement for addiction treatment, nor is it therapy.
Addiction Recovery Coaching is motivational in nature, but a client shouldn’t expect the coach to do the work for them. The coach asks the right questions and helps construct a plan, while the client sets goals and decides what’s most important to them.
I come up with ideas with my clients, not for my clients – from the dreamy to the reasonable – until they find a middle ground that works for them. My approach strikes the ideal blend between firm and assertive and unconditional support.
Clients often show up to me looking defeated and feeling hopeless, saying “What’s the point?” and generally beating themselves up. A few weeks later they can be engaged in their recovery process and working alongside Michael to come up with practical solutions and feeling much better about their future!
No one can anticipate or address all of the potential issues that may arise in early recovery. But with a plan in place and a coach by their side, those in the process of change can start their recovery off with a few solid successes behind them and the confidence to continue moving forward.
Addiction Recovery Coaching is one of the most effective tools in sustaining long-term recovery maintenance. An Addiction Recovery Coach can significantly reduce an individual’s chances of relapse - whether working with a client transitioning out of in-patient treatment or someone who is brand new to changing their relationship to alcohol or drugs.
The statistics are clear: leaving treatment is hard.
Approximately 30% of the discharged population will slip at least once within 30 days following discharge, presenting the window of greatest vulnerability for relapse.
25-35% of people who complete addiction treatment will be readmitted to treatment within one year.
50% of people who complete addiction treatment will be readmitted to treatment within five years.
Of those who attend in-patient treatment facilities, 80% will relapse in the first year (3).
Of that 80%, nine out of the ten will relapse in the first 90 days (4).
An ARC works with individuals at all stages of recovery, whether you are leaving residential treatment, currently in sober living, in an outpatient/day-patient program, in your own home, or recently relapsed.
My various packages will help you improve your current life and develop future goals to make your recovery worthwhile.
Coaching sessions are available in person, by phone, and through online video chat (Google+, Skype, etc.).
Yes, I do with work with both male and female clients as an Addiction Recovery Coach. As a Sober Companion I only work with men.Do you work with people who have never tried to stop using drugs or alcohol?
Yes, I do. However, there are parameters and it varies for each client. It is best for me to discuss each case separately.What do you know about working in addictions?
A lot, both from personal experience and technical training. You can learn more about me on the About Michael page.Do you work with people who self-identify with gambling, pornography, or sex addictions?
Yes, I do.How effective is coaching over Skype or Telephone?
Studies continue to show that coaching over the internet or telephone is just as or sometimes even more effective than face-to-face. Many of the well known treatment facilities utilize web-based and telephone coaching as part of their continuum of care after the client leaves treatment.
You can also use our Ask a Question page to send a confidential question directly to Michael – and it’s completely free.
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