The early stages of addiction recovery are, unfortunately, those first few months when people newly in recovery are at their most vulnerable to a potential relapse, and the resumption of their substance use.
Out of all the drug addicts and chronic alcoholics who make it into treatment every year, around half of those will relapse.
For some, it’s only temporary, and they soon return to sobriety and their recovery.
Sadly, however, for others, their relapse and return to substance use signal a seemingly permanent end to their attempt at recovery.
Most people think getting rehab and finding a recovery coach is too expensive for them. Luckily this isn’t the case. You can get drug rehab treatment for free if you know what resources to look for.
In recent years, there has been a growth in the provision of support services for those in early recovery, and one of the newer services now being offered is the recovery coach.
What is a Recovery Coach?
A recovery coach (sometimes also known as a sober coach or a sober companion) is an individual who guides someone through the early stages of addiction recovery, using a variety of methods to both monitor and communicate with those they are assisting.
Because the introduction of the recovery coach is a relatively new addition to addiction services, there are still a few U.S. states yet to put formal legal standards in place, such as licensing and certification for those offering recovery coaching.
Fortunately, though, the vast majority do have required professional standards of some description.
One of the most important aspects of the support that recovery coaches can offer is relapse prevention – the single biggest threat to remaining sober and in recovery. Here’s an idea of what they can provide:
- A sense of accountability to those in recovery
- Proactive intervention if people are struggling
- Assistance in finding recovery, therapy, or other support meetings
- Accompanying people to these meetings for support
- The removal of potential relapse triggers from the home
- Healthy, safe and gradual exposure to triggering situations
- Coaching to maintain coping skills and other tools in such situations
- Frequent drug and alcohol testing, and the necessary monitoring
The recovery coach is an advisor, a supporter, and a motivator for those in recovery.
It has been proven through various studies that using a recovery coach reduces the likelihood of relapse. However, they are not a guarantee.
The services of a recovery coach can be used at any time that a person in recovery needs their services – for example, after an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, after another form of addiction treatment, during the actual treatment, or at any time when the person in recovery feels vulnerable and requires a level of professional support.
Recovery Coaches: Certification, Qualification & Professional Training
Because of the lack of a nationwide structure for the profession of recovery coaches, many may actually be therapists or other health care professionals, whereas others may have no formal training or certifications at all.
Fortunately, many U.S. states now require formal licensing, like Arizona, which has improved standards across the nation for this relatively new profession of recovery coaching.
For example, in Arizona, a person wishing to become an accredited recovery coach is legally required to have an IC&RC Peer Recovery Credential, as directed by the Arizona Board for Certification of Addiction Counselors.
The IC&RC Peer Recovery Examination Certification requires:
- 500 hours of relevant practical experience, including:
- 25 hours of supervision
- 46 hours of training / education, which breaks own as:
- 10 hours in advocacy
- 10 hours in mentoring/education
- 10 hours in recovery/wellness support
- 16 hours in ethical responsibility
- Successful completion of the IC&RC Peer Recovery Examination
- Signed agreement to the Arizona Board for Certification of Addiction Counselors’ official Code of Ethics
However, beware, not every U.S. state has such a regulated structure for professional certification.
IMPORTANT: Always ask to see a prospective recovery coach’s credentials, and their official authorization to practice from your home state.
Vital Questions to Ask Prospective Recovery Coaches
Please ensure you ask the following questions if you are looking to use the services of a recovery coach – these will help you to ascertain their professional level and standard:
It is essential this is answered fully:
- What are your professional qualifications?
- Are you licensed or certified in this U.S. state?
- Where did you study for your certificate / qualification?
- Do you use a mobile phone app to assist with your recovery coaching?
- How often will you check in with me?
- Will you accompany me to group support meetings or medical appointments?
- How much do you charge for recovery coaching?
It is preferable if this is answered:
- Do you work with specific healthcare service insurers to help cover your costs, and can you assist with my health coverage insurance claim?
All of this information will help you to find the perfect recovery coach for you.