Recovery Coaching within a Recovery Oriented System of Care

By Kelly Fitzgerald Junco, SHE RECOVERS® Coach

Recovery Coaching within a Recovery Oriented System of Care

If you don’t look fast enough, you might miss it. The recovery community is moving at the speed of light – in what direction you ask? Towards change. Towards progress.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in this space, but of course, it’s not without its challenges in getting society to catch up with exactly what we’re doing and why. 

Over the last two years, sobriety and recovery social media accounts have been popping up all over the internet including blogs and influencers alike. But not just that, the tools people are using to find recovery and get better are expanding. You’ve probably heard – traditional addiction treatment centers and 12 step fellowships aren’t the only way.

That brings us to Recovery Coaches – simply put a Recovery Coach is a guide who supports someone who is striving towards recovery. A Coach is someone who helps equip a person with tools, awareness, skills, and support on a journey of personal growth. So, as you can see this definition varies greatly from that of a 12 step sponsor, a peer support specialist, or mental health counselor.

In fact, this is often the first thing we’re asked as Recovery Coaches. How are you different from a sponsor or peer support? A Recovery Coach is unique in that we support people who are in the beginning, middle or advanced stages of their recovery. We focus on the future rather than the past, and aid in helping a person’s motivation to reach new goals and possibilities. Instead of sorting through past behaviors and traumas, Coaches normalize feelings and provide a strengths-based approach for a healthier and happier future. We don’t diagnose or provide counseling. We don’t guide people through the 12 steps or adhere to a certain pathway from a specific organization or group. Coaches are free to use whatever tools they find helpful as professionals and that empower their clients to “find and follow their own pathways and patchworks of recovery.” – SHE RECOVERS Intention & Guiding Principle

Recovery Coaches don’t necessarily promote complete abstinence or report the progress of a client to any hierarchical body, although they could depending on personal beliefs and who they are employed by. The coach-client relationship is a highly individualized and solution-focused approach where the two are partners who co-create in service of the client and their needs. Coaches believe the client is the expert on themselves and knows deep down what they want in terms of goals. As coaches, we have the training to provide the support, accountability, skills, and tools to get someone there.

Taking it one step further as a SHE RECOVERS Designated Coach we are trained in the intentions and guiding principles of the organization which include early intervention, individual pathways and patchworks of recovery, healing intergenerational traumas, healing and holding space for other women, practicing radical self-love, and recovering out loud when we’re ready – just to name a few. These principles are unique to SHE RECOVERS and each organization that provides coach training will have their own.

Understanding exactly what a Recovery Coach does is integral to understanding their place at the table within a Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC). Because coaching is naturally person-centered, it fits seamlessly into this care continuum, among a number of other reasons. For one, Recovery Coaching that is integrated into a person’s primary care can limit the number of hospital days and Emergency Department visits for patients with a substance use disorder, according to a recent study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. This is beneficial not only to the individual and the community but to the overall healthcare system. 

Now that we are advancing into a space that views recovery on a spectrum, it’s beneficial to have a professional who is able to meet a person wherever they are in their journey.

We are no longer forcing people to be abstinent or pick and stay with a particular pathway of recovery. We understand that recovery is dynamic and ever-changing. Coaches encourage individuals to use a variety of tools in their patchworks of recovery. This includes recovery coaching as only one of many services a person can use to transform. Coaching is an excellent complement to attending 12 step meetings or other peer-to-peer support groups, seeing a therapist, and receiving medical treatment. It doesn’t have to be the only thing and it is not in competition with other pathways to recovery. It can also be used as the first, or last, support system for someone looking to recover. Recovery coaching is also available digitally, which has been a huge asset during the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital access can help cross accessibility barriers we often see with traditional treatment and recovery options.

Our goal as Recovery Coaches is to help people find freedom from substances or behaviors that are inhibiting them from living their best life. We know that in essence, this is what all elements of a Recovery Oriented System of Care strive to do. The highlights of coaching are its inclusive nature, its ability to meet people anywhere on the path of recovery, not just the beginning or the end, and its person-centered approach.

Coaches don’t tell you what to do, they ask questions to help guide you in the right direction. They actively listen. They don’t judge. Coaching is flexible in its length and intensity. 

While traditional pathways to recovery are still effective and appreciated, coaching fills a large gap in care. Although the role of a Recovery Coach within a Recovery Oriented System of Care is not a new concept, our world is still catching up to the idea. As more studies on the efficacy of Recovery Coaching are currently being conducted, we are excited about its continued involvement in helping more people find and sustain recovery and live longer and happier lives.

There is still time to make an impact and help more women heal in recovery.

For as little as $5 USD you can help to ensure all women in or seeking recovery from substance use and/or mental health issues have access to a lifeline of support.

As a FOUNDING INVESTOR you and your contribution can be included in our online Portfolio of Hope and featured in the SHE RECOVERS® Foundation Annual Report – documenting this moment in herstory when this global life-saving movement first began.

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