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Recovery Life Coaching: Strengths-based & Client Driven

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A therapist calls to get help with a client. Her client, Sara, is nineteen, bipolar, and has a history of cutting and poly-drug use. Sara has relapsed after inpatient treatment. Would I team up to work with her client? When I give Sara a call she is scraping out a pot pipe…

Only A Few

More than 9% of the U.S population experience ongoing problems with alcohol or other drugs, but only a few do anything about it. I can understand why.  It is painful and overwhelming to think about quitting or cutting down. So many questions flood in such as, “Where would I start? Do I have to quit everything? What would my friends think? Can I do this on my own or do I need to get help?”


Easier to Forget

Most people never get help. It’s easier to have a drink and forget about it. Only one in ten ever seek support from counselors, therapists or sponsors or recovery life coaches. Most of those who do get help relapse after treatment. This is what I saw as a woman in a 12-step program: most people didn’t stick around the meetings for very long, and many that did still struggled with problems in a way that seemed pointless.


Life Coaching Best Practices

I was especially aware of all how long people struggled with problems after I trained in 1998 as a life coach. Coaching showed me a different way to resolve problems, and a different way to live—a way that I hadn’t learned in 12-step meetings.  That is why I developed training in “Recovery Life Coaching.” I could see that coaching and recovery are a natural fit. I wanted people to have access to recovery life coaches so I wrote a training curriculum that combined life-coaching skills with addiction recovery best practices.


Life Right Now

The coaching approach to addiction recovery is different than that of therapy, or sponsorship. Coaching is present and future oriented. Coaching is about your life right now and how you want it to change. This is different from therapy, which focuses more on resolving issues and blocks that began in childhood and from the 12-steps which focus on admitting wrongs and making amends.


Protecting Your Investment

Am I saying we don’t need therapists, counselors, or 12-step sponsors? Not at all. These people do good work. I love it when my client has a therapist, or a sponsor. I also send refer clients to chemical dependency counselors and to treatment centers. It is just that treatment is a huge investment of time, effort, and money but the relapse rate after treatment is too high. Coaching protects that investment. Working with a coach can make the difference between  relapsing and staying in recovery.


Creative and Resourceful

Recovery coaching helps people stay in and enjoy recovery because coaching is strengths-based and looks at your whole life. Your coach sees you as creative and resourceful. Your recovery life coach recognizes your strengths and courage and values and helps you leverage them to get where you want to go. This is different from working the 12-steps to admit faults and make restitution, or working on childhood issues with a therapist.  This is about your whole life today and what you want to work on now.


Find or Become

You can save yourself a lot of time, money and heartache by having a recovery life coach on your team. Coaches help people figure out what to do about their problems, stay in recovery and start to enjoy life.  Because I run a school to train recovery coaches I have access to a lot of well-trained coaches. I can help you find a recovery life coach who specializes in your addiction (I have room in my schedule for one select client this month). If this sounds like just the career for you, I can help you become a recovery coach!


By the way, Sara doesn’t smoke or drink anymore.  She now has more than three years of continuous sobriety, and is thinking about going to college.  I am still on a team with her therapist and coach Sara twice a month.


copyright 2011 Alida Schuyler for Crossroads Recovery Coaching

Please share this post with a friend or loved one who may benefit from working with a recovery life coach or knowing more about recovery coaching.


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