Recovering from an addiction to mood-altering substances, either drugs, like cocaine and opioids, or alcohol (or both, for that matter) is possible, although it requires professional rehab treatment, and the need to remain continually abstinent for these substances.
The medical name for this disease is substance use disorder (often abbreviated to SUD), and according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is defined as “a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain.”
The definition continues: “It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders, and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.”
Many people currently in addiction recovery have already been through their treatment: However, regardless of this treatment, around half of these people will suffer a relapse (a return to their previous substance misuse) at some point during their recovery.
If a relapse does occur, the success of their addiction recovery depends on whether the individual reacts positively to the incident, and the relapse is only a temporary lapse, or whether the relapse is so powerful they become unable to return to a state of abstinence, and so return to their recovery.
Because of this risk of relapse, many people in recovery now choose the services of a professional recovery coach (sometimes known as a sober coach, a sober buddy, or a sober companion).
What is a Recovery Coach?
A recovery coach provides additional support for anyone in recovery from a SUD. Their one goal is to help you to prevent a possible relapse, meaning you can remain sober.
They achieve this by offering professional guidance, and equipping you with the necessary tools and skills for achieving long-term recovery. Their services are often assisted by the use of a mobile phone app through which both of you are able to monitor the progress being made.
What Relevant Professional Credential Should a Recovery Coach Have?
Unfortunately, there is currently no nationwide professional structure for recovery coaches in the U.S.
However, the majority of U.S. states now do require some form of formal licensing, which has improved standards across the nation for this relatively new profession.
You should be aware that although many current recovery coaches do have state licensing, some “ recovery coaches” are former therapists or other healthcare professionals who have diversified, and there are many others who have no formal training or certifications at all.
For example, in the U.S. state of Arizona, a person wishing to become an accredited recovery coach is legally required to have an IC & RC Peer Recovery Credential. The IC & RC Peer Recovery Examination Certification requires the prospective coach to undergo:
- 500 hours of relevant practical experience, including:
- Successful completion of the IC&RC Peer Recovery Examination
- Signed agreement to the Arizona Board for Certification of Addiction Counselors’ official Code of Ethics
IMPORTANT: Should you choose to hire a recovery coach to assist you in your addiction recovery, you are advised to ensure the prospective coach has the necessary credentials and / or the required license to practice in your home state.
What are the Benefits of Recovery Coaching?
Recovery coaching has been found – through analytical studies – to reduce substance use, promote better recovery outcomes, and lower the rates of relapse. Additionally, people who work with a recovery coach are more likely to finish their addiction treatment.
Other benefits of using a recovery coach include:
- Increased satisfaction with addiction services
- Enhanced relationship with treatment providers
- Improved access to peer support services
- Reduced number of hospitalizations and emergency visits
- Better housing stability
4 Ways Certified Recovery Coaching Can Help With Your Recovery
So in what ways can a recovery coach positively help you during your recovery. Here are your “4 Ways Certified Recovery Coaching Can Help With Your Recovery”:
- Helping you create a recovery-oriented plan
- Connecting you with further treatment programs and peer recovery support groups
- Providing assistance in navigating the medical system
- Helping you develop healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms
#1. Recovery-Oriented Plans
When people who have undergone inpatient or intensive outpatient addiction treatment complete their program, it is highly likely they will leave with a personalized relapse prevention plan – in order to try and limit the chances of a relapse during their continued recovery.
Recovery-oriented plans are plans designed by recovery coaches to assist you in your recovery, and are a little different to the original prevention plan. They are designed to ensure you make the most of your recovery opportunity, that you stay connected to the recovery community, and that you look after your health.
#2. Further Treatment Programs & Peer Recovery Support Groups
Recovery coaches can help you to access further treatment, if that is required, and advise on what level of treatment you may need. Additionally, they can help you to access peer support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous, and other support services in your area.
#3. Navigating the Medical System
Recovery coaches can also help you to navigate the medical system, find out what help is available for you, and assist with insurance claims.
#4. Healthy Behaviors and Coping Mechanisms
Finally, recovery coaches will help you to learn about personal coping mechanisms you can use during stressful or emotional periods, and they can advise you on how you can improve specific behaviors if they observe a potential issue.
Lastly, always remember to find out what professional standards are required in your home state for recovery coaches, and then to check the full credentials of prospective coaches.
Whatever you decide, make sure you stay safe.