What Do I Need to Know to Be a Recovery Coach?

(The following is the second in an ongoing series of excerpts taken from Melissa Killeen’s new book, RECOVERY COACHING — A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions. This text is from Chapter 6, What Do I Need to Know to Be a Recovery Coach?)

To Be a Recovery Coach

It is not a requirement for a recovery coach to be in recovery from any addiction. However, it is good for the recovery coach to draw the five concepts of recovery to begin to work with their client. These key concepts of recovery are what every recovery coach needs to instill in their client:

  1. To have hope
  2. To embrace personal responsibility
  3. To educate themselves about recovery and addiction
  4. Embrace self advocacy
  5. To give support and service

If a recovery coach is not knowledgeable in the addiction the client identifies with, it is advisable to refer the client to a recovery coach or mutual aid program that is knowledgeable in that particular issue. Speaking to another coach is a good move when you are faced with a client that may have an addiction you are not familiar with. However, if a coach has a question about a client’s addiction, or is making a client based decision, it is important to seek the advice of a coaching supervisor as the first step in attempting to come to a conclusion.

Process Addictions

Many times, the addictions that a recovery coach maybe unfamiliar with are non-substance related. These addictions are often called ‘process addictions’. Process addictions can be:

  1. Gambling
  2. Sex or Pornography
  3. Love or Romance
  4. Shopping or Over Spending
  5. Eating Disorders
  6. Self Harm, Mutilation or Cutting
  7. Internet or Gaming Addictions

The term process addiction can be misleading, these addictions are sometimes called behavioral addictions, whereas the person is addicted to a compulsive behavior that involves a process, not a substance. This term is often used as a blanket definition for any compulsive behavior which does not involve an addictive substance. However, some mental health disorders also involve compulsive behaviors, such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Impulse Control Disorders. Some process addictions involve a substance, as in overeating, and the addictive substance may be flour and/or sugar. Addictive process behaviors produce neurochemicals (e.g., serotonin, dopamine or the neuropeptide; oxytocin) in the brain that create a reaction in the person’s body. The neurochemical reactions create a euphoric feeling as well as the physical actions (the shopping or cutting) create a distraction for the client. It is the reaction to the neurochemicals and the distraction that provides the client the feeling the client is addicted to. An example of using a process or behavioral addiction is when someone engages in retail therapy; which is going shopping in order to make themselves feel less depressed.

RECOVERY COACHING — A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions gives readers something that “hasn’t been done before: a thorough explanation of recovery coaching” states Omar Manejwala, M.D. author and former Medical Director of the Hazelden Treatment Centers, “this [book] will be an indispensable resource for both the coach just starting out or the veteran.”

If you are interested in purchasing Melissa Killeen’s new book, click below.

Recovery Coaching
A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions


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