Last week, I ordered new business cards with my full title, Alumni Coordinator and Certified Recovery Coach at AspenRidge Recovery. That still amazes me as I write this. If anyone had told me that would be my title three years ago, I would have laughed it off like it was one of those emails asking me to help a Nigerian prince. As I write this, it’s been two years and three months since alcohol last touched my lips. With recovery coaching, I now work with and for the people who helped grant my freedom from substances. I consider myself truly blessed to work for AspenRidge, and my life has changed entirely. I never thought I would be here and doing this job.
As an alumni coordinator, I work directly with clients as they transition from our care to a new clean, and sober life. I had several options to choose from, but I decided to become a certified recovery coach. If I am honest, I was a little intimidated to attend the training. I am hopelessly rebellious, and I was never a great student. The Harmony Foundation, a treatment center in Estes Park, Colorado, hosted the training, and the last thing I wanted to do was have a lousy first impression. It turns out I was needlessly worried, and it took all of 30 seconds for me to get down to business and absorb as much as I could.
Not only was the material innovative, but the people I was with were motivating and inspiring. I knew within the first hour that I wanted to see this all the way through to a national certification level. The peer-to-peer coaching is more rewarding than imagined. The goals and education I came away with will allow me to help others find and maintain a solid foundation for recovery for the rest of my life.
“…encouraging hope, optimism, and healthy living are also essential parts of recovering from substance use disorder.”
Recovery Coaching: Working through Potential Conflicts
One of the most important things I learned was to promote recovery. That sounds obvious, but it’s more important than the topic coveys. It is providing a safe place with clear expectations and a series of agreed-upon rules. It is critical to provide an environment that is comfortable and poses no risk of activating triggering behaviors.
Removing barriers is also a key element of recovery coaching. As certified professionals, helping addicts navigate the challenges in life that have impeded them before. Removing roadblocks to recovery is vital if I have any hope of showing newly sober people the path of recovery.
As any member of a 12-Step program can attest, connecting addicts to new peer support groups are part of the foundation of recovery. These critical recovery support services are dynamic and often require constant vigilance to ensure proper care for everyone. I can help identify some of the many pathways to ensure that our clients not only have equitable access to these resources, but that are serving them in the best ways possible. AA might not be the right fit for everyone, so it’s now my responsibility to provide instructions to AA, NA, CA, HA, and other programs that might provide support and structure. Included are addiction treatment centers such as sober living options and services AspenRidge Recovery provides.
I would be remiss if I neglected to mention that encouraging hope, optimism, and healthy living are also essential parts of recovering from substance use disorder. I need to be the light in someone’s life while they crawl out of the dark hole that substances sentence us to.
A bonus of my recovery coaching and training, if you will, was a profound reflection that was unavoidable. I am much more aware of my privilege and the real power of words. I had to think, if my words can help someone achieve something that was given to me so freely, they could also be used to wound. I learned how to help people by becoming the best version of myself, and that’s a debt I will never be able to fully repay.
AspenRidge Alumni Coordinator and Certified Recovery Coach