What is a Certified Recovery Coach and How Can You Become One?
Many people who wish to work in the addictions field are looking for jobs with low barriers to entry and the position of a Certified Recovery Coach is another one of those that fits that bill. Last week we went over what a Peer Support Specialist is and how you can become certified as one. Some Peer Support Specialists also work on a volunteer basis, yet are asked to be certified. However, most Recovery Coach positions are for hire and many are on an individual basis.
What is a Certified Recovery Coach
What the heck is a “Recovery Coach”? Believe it or not, we can almost thank Aerosmith for the rise of the Recovery Coach. Here’s that story:
In 1984, the rock group Aerosmith was attempting a comeback; but it was not working, just as their newest album Back in the Saddle was not climbing the charts. There were a lot of things that were not working for Aerosmith, Joe Perry and Steven Tyler, front men for the group, are referred to as the “Toxic Twins” for their heroin habits and other behaviors on and off the stage. In fact, the entire band was heavily drinking or taking drugs.
That summer, while touring for the new album, co-manager, David Krebs, hired a psychiatrist to tour with the band. After a month, the doctor claimed the band was “unfixable”. Krebs left the band. Aerosmith denied drugs were dragging down the tour and the album sales. (Aerosmith and Davis, 1997). The band pointed their fingers outward, blaming everyone else for their problems. The band changed record labels from CBS Records to Arista Records, and hired Tim Collins to manage the band.
Tim Collins, told the group that in order to survive they had to get sober, claiming that of they stopped using alcohol and drugs, he could take them “platinum” again. Band members Joey Kramer and Tom Hamilton both became sober and by the fall of 1986, Steven Tyler went to an in-treatment drug rehabilitation center, followed by Joe Perry. By the end of 1986, the final band member Brad Whitford had also gotten sober. Even so, Aerosmith’s deal with Tim Collins was only partially completed. Collins still had to get these rockers on the road, with roadies, groupies, opening acts and exposure to more drugs and alcohol, in order to promote their newest album, Permanent Vacation. Tim was able to help the group maintain sobriety throughout the tour by contracting a Recovery Coach, Bob Timmins, to stay with the band through the tour. A new era in recovery coaching had begun.
A Certified Recovery Coach is someone that provides, yep – you guessed it, “coaching” on recovery to someone that is new in recovery or someone who desires recovery. The focus is on overcoming obstacles to recovery and serving as a mentor. Recovery coaches help their clients understand the necessity for total abstinence and how to find ways to reduce harm associated with addictive behaviors. A recovery coach can act as a resource and an advocate for the client in finding detox, treatment, other family support and in developing ways to create change in their lives.
What a Recovery Coach is NOT
A recovery coach is not a therapist or a physician. It is not their job to diagnose their client, offer treatment for addiction or assist with detox in any way. A recovery coach is also not a sponsor as this is considered to be a professional relationship and 12-Step work is exactly the opposite. Recovery coaches can offer support in positive changes, goal development and helping persons to avoid relapse but the Step work and sponsorship are a different relationship. A recovery coach also does not work to address the past or heal trauma as these fall under the umbrella of therapy and recovery coaches are considered to be non-clinical positions.
Positions as a Recovery Coach
The Recovery Coach position is one that has been evolving for several decades and continues to do so, particularly with the advent of the internet and the reduced stigma around addiction. Some early recovery may hire what is called a “Sober Companion” or a “Sober Escort” either for travel situations or for everyday life in early sobriety. This is the same concept as the Recovery Coach and these are often private practicioners. Many times, returning home from treatment can be stressful and having that extra “coaching” on hand 24/7 in the beginning is something that people want. There are also some Telephone and Virtual Recovery Coach relationships that are established to provide that extra level of guidance and support. Today, many treatment centers are seeing the value in “bridging the gap” between treatment and home by referring their clients to a Recovery Coach upon discharge.
Certified Recovery Coach Training
So just how do you become a recovery coach? Since the adaptation of the Recovery Management Model by State and Federal Agencies, recovery coaching training and courses are now offered by numerous state, non profit and private (for profit) entities. The best way to find a training program is to search online for “recovery coach training” and then your State. That will give you the best chance of finding a state or non-profit that offers the training at the lowest cost. Otherwise, there are national online programs that you can find that will cost you a little bit more money. These guys are currently developing a home study course for Peer Support Specialist and Certified Recovery Coaches.