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Recovery coaches offer a crucial link

March 23, 2015
by Alison Knopf, Contributing Writer
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Some of the people being coached may still be using drugs or drinking, says Rosenzweig. “There are stages along the way to recovery, and we need to meet people where they’re at, and support them.” With substance use disorders, there is so much stigma that it’s hard for people to ask for support. “If you have cancer, people don’t blame you for it,” Rosenzweig says. “But with SUDs, people say you can control it—but you can’t, because it’s a disease.”

Physicians don’t have time to offer the kind of recovery support that coaches can give, says Rosenzweig. And support groups such as 12-Step fellowships and SMART Recovery may be difficult for some individuals who are “socially phobic” and have a hard time standing up in front of strangers, he says.

 

Recovery coaches are not babysitters

Some celebrities seek out “sober coaches” who are basically “paid to babysit,” says leading recovery researcher Alexandre Laudet, PhD. Nell Hurley of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation also uses the word “babysitter” to describe these individuals.

“Sometimes they’re called sober escorts,” says Hurley. They accompany the person—for a high price—and are often not licensed counselors or certified for anything, because they don’t get paid by Medicaid.

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There is an obvious hole to fill in the addiction treatment process and I am in wholehearted agreement with the idea of a long-term continuum of care for addiction treatment patients. People with substance use disorder can greatly benefit from a one-on-one relationship with a recovery coach, recovery advocate, peer specialist, peer coach or whatever other title is given to a person with recovery experience. There is also an immediate need for a baseline standard of training in the holistic process of healthy life-building through a daily routine of recovery actions. There is talk and some organization being considered however, "red-tape" and wrangling for oversight responsibility is a hindrance to the process and is ultimately costing lives. I see a opportunity for someone to take a good set of basic standards to the Feds and fast-track a 50 state standard which can go into effect immediately. There is no place for politics in cementing a process for our ability to save lives when so many are willing and able to get involved in the solution right now!

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