For some of us new to recovery from addictions or those of us already in 12-step programs, the term “recovery coach” may be an unfamiliar term. We may assume that a sponsor in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is similar to a recovery coach.
While a sponsor from a 12-step program may seem like a coach and encourage our recovery, the term “recovery coach” refers to a professional with a specific job description. A recovery coach may share characteristics similar to other support members on our team. However, recovery coaches have a set of responsibilities outlined by their program guidelines and expectations.
Sponsors and Recovery Coaches: What Is the Difference?
When entering a sober living home or a recovery treatment program, we may be introduced to a recovery coach on our staff. We might feel like this is redundant if we already have a sponsor. While both people play important roles in our treatment, recovery coaches differ from our sponsors in many ways.
A sponsor will primarily focus on guiding us through the 12-step program of AA or NA. Our sponsor will be with us along every step of a specific recovery program. Recovery, however, can include more treatment options than a 12-step program. We may be attending group therapy or seeing a psychotherapist.
We might have a case manager helping us with attaining resources outside of treatment, like housing and medical care. We might have an addiction specialist helping to connect us with recovery programs. Each of these components can be beneficial to our recovery in their own way.
While a sponsor guides us through one specific program, a recovery coach mentors us through our entire recovery process. Recovery coaches help to coordinate and glue the different treatment aspects together. They encourage us to engage in lifelong recovery.
While sponsors help us through the 12-step process, once we complete AA or NA, we may want to seek alternative methods of recovery. Even if we continue to attend AA or NA meetings, we may benefit from other programs and treatments to enhance our recovery journey over a lifetime.
Recovery coaches help to facilitate this process. They also counsel and support us in pursuing our goals beyond changing our addictive behaviors. Recovery coaches can help us find purpose in life to enable us to cultivate a healthy lifestyle.
Recovery Development Plans
Recovery coaches will primarily help us develop a recovery development plan. Our recovery development plan will include our goals inside and outside of treatment. The tools that recovery coaches use may be things like:
- Strengths-Based Approaches: Recovery coaches are interested in focusing on our strengths. Sponsors and addiction specialists tend to be more adept at helping us with our addictive behaviors. However, recovery coaches want to build up our strengths to help us see the value in ourselves. Our strengths can help us build the resiliency and focus needed to engage in recovery for a lifetime.
- SMART Goals: Recovery coaches consult us in thinking beyond fixing our addictions. They want to understand our life’s purpose and guide us in achieving our goals. Recovery coaches can help us develop effective recovery plans by creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based goals.
- The GROW model: Our recovery coach may also use the GROW model to develop successful and meaningful recovery plans. GROW stands for: having Goals, understanding the Reality of our circumstances, being empowered with Options for treatment and recovery, having a coach guide us in Writing out our plans.
Generating Options for Treatment: Empowering Us in Recovery
Our recovery coach can empower us in our treatment by generating options for our recovery journey. Some programs or approaches may work well for others but may not work for us at all. A recovery coach can guide us through the process of finding the approaches that work best for us. While some of us may only be familiar with 12-step recovery programs, we might benefit from exploring some other approaches to enhance our treatment. Some of these approaches include:
- Individual or Group Therapy
- Mindfulness Practices
- Physical Fitness and Exercise
- Peer Support
- Nutritional Wellness
- Art and Music Therapy
- Outdoor or Recreational Therapy
Our recovery coach can introduce us to many new and exciting forms of treatment that can enhance our recovery. Recovery coaches also hold us accountable to sticking with our recovery. Some of these approaches can foster lifelong habits that we can continue to pursue beyond our recovery program. Sometimes we need a guiding hand to understand all of our options to develop a recovery plan that works for us. You can let a recovery coach be that guiding hand for you.
Are you new to recovery or already in a traditional 12-step program? Are you looking for more treatment options and guidance in other areas of life? Do you feel that you are ready to take the next step toward leading a fulfilling life beyond treatment? Recovery coaches can navigate us through the process of finding effective treatment options. Recovery coaches empower us to find the best options that will speak to our individual desires and preferences. They help us to discover our purpose in life beyond treating our addictive behaviors and habits. Camelback Recovery provides recovery coaching free of charge for the first two weeks of stay in our sober living home. We like to provide two weeks of this service for free to help our participants start off on the right track. Call us at (602) 466-9880 to start your recovery today!