Category Archives: Relapse

Recovery Coaches working with sex offenders

Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team -Recovery coaches working with sex offenders

It is 5:30 am and a band of FBI and local sheriff authorities pull up to a New Jersey suburban house in a development not far from Philadelphia. Adorning Kevlar vests, and windbreakers with the yellow letters FBI on their backs, they storm past a toy doll stroller in the sidewalk. They bang on the door with their fist, demanding “Open up this is the FBI”. After a few more wraps, a bleary eyed woman about 40 years old opens the door a crack and peers out. With a burst of energy, five FBI agents and two local police enter her foyer, issue her a search warrant and spew out demands, only one she actually hears, “Your husband is under arrest for child pornography…where are the laptops, tablets, cell phones and computers?”

Emily, (all the real names in this story will be withheld for privacy purposes) is dazed. She is in her bathrobe, and slippers, her hair is mussed, her eyeglasses crooked. She is barely awake. She glances at the stairs. She sees her two children at the top of the stairs, as a troop of agents make their way up to them. The agents ascend, as her girls descend. They are squeezing towards the wall making way for the army of six foot tall, 250 pound men barreling past them. They are asking “Mommy, what is happening?” A sheriff from the local police department asks where her husband is. She says he is at work; he works the midnight shift at a local hospital. The Sheriff gets on his walkie-talkie and bursts out some demands, checking on a similar event at her husband’s workplace.

It is 6:00 am, and Tom is just wrapping up from his shift as a nurse. His supervisor walks up to him with a force of blue windbreakers flanking him on either side. “Tom,” his supervisor says, “these gentlemen want to see you in my office”. As they turn to go to the office to FBI agents take Tom at the elbows and nearly lift him off his feet. He is escorted to the supervisor’s office, is placed in an arm chair and the door slams. Tom hears the words he has feared for the past two decades. “You are under arrest for the possession of, and the suspected distribution, copying, or advertising of images containing sexual depictions of minors.” For some strange reason, Tom is relieved. He thinks “It’s over, it is finally over.”

An unlikely band of brothers

It is Monday night, a steady stream of middle aged men drift into a hospital conference room, and take a seat. One of them opens a gym bag and starts to place books, pamphlets and tri-fold fliers on the table. A clear plastic envelope stuffed with one dollar bills is placed next to a thin loose-leaf binder. He sits down, opens the binder, checks the time on his cell phone and says, “Welcome to the Monday night meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, my name is Ken, and I am a sex and love addict.” The seemingly normal cohort of men reply, “Hi Ken”.

The Monday night meeting of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous begins. The reading is on Step Three; made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God. During the share a newcomer, Tom, tells his story about what brought him into the rooms tonight. He is not sure he can be helped. He knows he has been a porn addict for all of his adult life. He says he has just been found out and he has no idea what will happen next, to his life, to his marriage, to his kids. He was advised to go to a 12-step meeting for sex addiction and luckily, he saw this meeting listed when he searched online.

The members of this unlikely band of brothers looks at Tom. His head is down. His focus is on the ravaged cuticles of his right thumb. As he raises his thumb to his mouth, a tear rolls down his cheek. They know how he feels. Each one of them have felt this same despair. Joe raises his hand to share. Joe is almost 45, yet one would think he is no older than 35. His Goorin Brothers Slayer cap is on backwards, his flannel plaid shirt is unbuttoned revealing an LA Dodgers vintage t-shirt. Appropriately ripped skinny jeans end in a pair of Vans slip-ons. He gets current, talking about his therapist, his groups and what the third step means to him. Then he looks directly at Tom. “I know there is no cross talk in this meeting, so let me just say this, Tom, can we talk after the meeting?”

Joe knows what has happened to Tom. Tom need not even say the word ‘legal’ for the subliminal message to be delivered. Joe knows because it happened to him, less than two years ago. The Cop Knock. The end of life as he knew it. The opening up of a new world. A new life without any more hiding. Relief.

The start of a new life

Joe and Tom walk to the hospital café and Joe buys Tom a soda and a sandwich. It is the first thing Tom has eaten in two days. The café is empty, they find a corner table and sit down. After just a few minutes, Tom’s experience from the last week is told. Joe’s head was nodding the whole time, but he lets Tom talk.

Before an hour was up, Joe had given Tom the names of three men, Michael, Steve and Jay. Also, the phone number of an attorney and of a therapist that specialized in treating sex offenders. As they walked out of the hospital, Joe said the first call should be to Michael. Michael will coordinate everything. And Joe was right, Michael coordinated everything.

Michael answers the phone at 9:30pm, and Tom was on the other line. Michael was already informed by Joe, just minutes before. By 10:00, Michael had assembled the Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team on a conference call and briefed us all. The attorney appointment will be made by the client, Tom. The therapist introduction will be on the phone, and the first group therapy meeting is tomorrow and Joe will bring Tom. Michael will coordinate the lawyer and therapist calls and speak to his parents. Jay and Steve will call Tom daily, for support. I am assigned to work with the wife. All of these recovery coaching services will be free to Tom.

Doing service to give back what we have freely received

Every one of us responds to this call. It initiates a recruitment effort that rivals the Avenger’s response to Ultron’s threat to eradicate humanity. This Legal Consequences Crisis Management Team is committed to respond to any sexual addiction crisis- the family affected by a patriarch’s incest, the individual devastated by sexual trauma, or the man that has heard the “Cop Knock”. We know they feel alone, whether they have been abandoned by their family, abused by loved ones or in this case, arrested for an illegal act. Tom needs this “Avengers” team to help him, because this is territory he is not familiar with. However, this team is very familiar with it; the family dynamics, the law, the courtroom, treatment and therapy, prison and the re-entry process. They have walked this path, and emerged on the other side, as healthier and better people for the experience. So, we are there for Tom, in order to keep our own sobriety, we are doing service to give back what we have freely received.

This band of Recovery Coaches comes to the aid of individuals dealing with the crisis of legal consequences of their sex addiction in the New Jersey, Delaware and Southeastern Pennsylvania region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What is a recovery coach?

What is a recovery coach, a peer recovery support specialist or a professional recovery coach?

In 2013, I published Recovery Coaching – A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions, since then the duties and responsibilities of recovery coaches, peer recovery support specialists and professional recovery coaches have expanded significantly.

In this post, I hope to help define for those interested in becoming a recovery coach what certifications they should seek, the places they could work and what they can anticipate as compensation for their work.

What kind of certification should a future recovery coach receive?

Recovery coach training and certification is a requirement in this field. Coaching certification and training is one of the fastest growing aspects of the healthcare field. The number of recovery coaching training and certification courses has expanded to over 300 institutions nationwide. Many employers require recovery coach and peer recovery support specialist certifications. In the links section of this web site is a state by state listing of all the organizations that offer certifications for addiction recovery coaches.

If you are reading this post to receive basic recovery coaching information, first decide if you enjoy working with people in recovery from substance misuse or want to work with people in recovery from a mental health or behavioral health disorder.

Are you interested in working with people in recovery from addictions or in recovery from a mental health or behavioral health diagnosis?

A nearly universal definition of a peer recovery support specialist or a recovery coach is an individual with the lived experience of their own recovery journey and wants to assist others who are in the early stages of the healing process from psychic, traumatic and/or substance misuse challenges, thus, this peer can aid and support another peer’s personal recovery journey.

Some certifications for a peer recovery support specialist give an individual the training necessary to work with individuals with a behavioral health disorder or a mental health diagnosis. These certifications include more training on the nature of behavioral health disorders, the medications used to treat these disorders, crisis interventions, life/occupational skills, and trauma informed care. A recovery coach working with people in addiction recovery does not necessarily need these types of training. In this post, I will focus on the recovery coach working with people in recovery from substance misuse.

The individuals that work with people in recovery from substance misuse are called recovery coaches, as well as peer recovery support specialists (PRSS), peer recovery support practitioners (PRSP), recovery support specialists (RSS), sober companions, recovery associates or quit coaches. In all cases, they support individuals in recovery from addiction(s), which can include alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating disorders as well as other addictive behaviors.

The basic recovery coaching credential is required. If you want more specific training, one can add certification for treating co-occurring disorders, the application of Narcan which includes the certification for coaching persons detoxing from an opioid overdose, certification coaching individuals in Suboxone or Methadone treatment also called Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Medication Supported Recovery (MSR), certification for spiritual recovery coaches and credentials for coaches working with individuals with behavioral addictions such as sexual compulsivity, internet gaming and gambling disorders. Treatment centers may require a drug and alcohol counseling certificate to work with inpatient clients.

Recovery coaching credentialing has expanded to include recovery coach supervisors, training for individuals that want to manage other recovery coaches, or an elevated level of certification called professional recovery coaching.

A professional recovery coach is an individual that has been coaching for several years, has hundreds of coaching hours under their belt, manages other coaches and/or has received other coaching credentials. A professional recovery coach is sometimes referred to as a life recovery coach. A professional recovery coach can receive training from any of the organizations that train peers or recovery coaches, and in addition, they can receive training from the International Coach Federation’s accredited life coach training program. Recently, Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery has started developing a Professional Coaching Certification.

Where do you want to work?

Some recovery coaches seek to work at a recovery community organization (RCOs) or a recovery support center. An RCO is an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. The recovery coaches at these recovery community organizations work with people of all financial means, addicts that are homeless, offenders, even professionals like nurses, teachers, lawyers and highly educated individuals, who have hit bottom. Sometimes, the recovery coaches at these centers receive a salary from the RCO. RCO recovery coaches can also be volunteers, opting to perform their coaching duties for no reimbursement at all.

Recovery coaches can be employed by treatment centers coaches often escort a client home from a treatment center insuring they do not relapse in the first 30 days after discharge. More half way houses or sober living environments are employing recovery coaches. In fact, many recovery coaches have opened a transitional living home or a supportive sober living environments. They act as a recovery coach and a house manager at the same time, their presence adds to the quality of the recovery experience for the residents.

Recovery coaches can work in emergency departments in hospitals, detoxification centers or sobering centers; working with individuals in crisis, either detoxing from an alcohol or opioid overdose.

Lastly, some recovery coaches run their own business. They will visit clients or call them over the phone or use SKYPE. These recovery coaches market themselves by contacting a treatment center’s aftercare coordinator, maintaining a web site or will seek referrals from therapists. These coaches meet face to face with the client weekly and will work with them over the phone or face to face on a regular basis. The client is billed directly for the coaching services.

How much do you want to be paid for your services?

Recovery coaches are paid a variety of rates. A recovery community organization, a treatment center, sober living environment or social services agency recovery coaching rates are from $12-$20 per hour. If a recovery coach receives their salary from a social services agency, or a recovery community organization that agency may have received a grant to run a peer program from the State or Federal government.

A professional life recovery coach can bill from $35 up to $100 an hour for their coaching services. These professional recovery coaches bill their clients directly and incur expenses for running their coaching practice such as insurance, travel and overhead. This ‘pie in the sky’ $100 per hour fee of a professional recovery coach is not for the inexperienced or newbie coach. There are significant responsibilities a recovery coach has for their client, primarily keeping them free from relapse or overdose, or in other words- keeping them alive.

Soon, there will be reimbursement from health insurance companies for recovery coaching for individuals who are diagnosed as dependent on a substance. New York has an arrangement with the state’s Medicaid offices to reimburse for recovery coaching for individuals who are diagnosed as dependent on a substance. Other states, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Massachusetts, are formulating similar Medicaid payment plans, but these reimbursements are not yet in place. Currently, private independent health insurance companies do not cover the services of a recovery coach working with an individual in recovery from an addiction.

In less than four years the field of recovery coaching has grown significantly. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act and the newest legislation to fight addiction, the 21st Century CURES and the CARA Acts , recovery coaching is now recognized as one of the most important tools to initiate and maintain long term recovery. This recognition will continue as the benefits from recovery coaching continue to be realized.

 

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What is the difference between a recovery coach, a peer recovery support specialist and a professional recovery coach?

I published my book Recovery Coaching – A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions in 2013. A recovery coach, a peer recovery support specialist and a professional recovery coach’s duties and responsibilities have expanded significantly since then. The organizations that offer recovery coach training numbered around 50 in 2013. Today, the number has grown to over 250. Recovery coach certification training is one of the fastest growing aspects of the coaching field, with many states establishing recovery coaching and peer recovery support-specialist certifications. Yet, for many people who seek to achieve basic recovery coaching information, the process of training, certification, credentialing or licensing are baffling. With all of this growth and change, anyone who is interested in being a recovery coach is very confused about the necessary training, what to call this training and even what to call themselves! I want to make an attempt to clear up this confusion and answer the question:

  • What is the difference between a recovery coach, a peer recovery support specialist and a professional recovery coach?

What is a Recovery Coach?

A recovery coach is a person that works with and supports individuals immersed in an addiction(s), and coaches people in recovery from the abuse of alcohol and drugs, gambling, eating disorders or other addictive behaviors. Sometimes recovery coaches who work with people with addictions have been referred to as a peer recovery support specialist, a recovery support specialist (RSS), a sober companion, recovery associate or quit coach. In all cases these terminologies describe the same job description; a person who meets with clients in order to aid in their recovery from addiction(s). Even though many certifications for recovery coaches are classified as peer recovery support practitioner certifications. I prefer to use the term recovery coach in describing a person coaching an individual in recovery from addiction, instead of using the term “peer,” mainly because there is no requirement that a recovery coach be a peer (meaning they are an addict in recovery). Although it may be believed having experiential knowledge is a best practice for a recovery coach, it could be a recovery coach has knowledge of addiction and recovery perhaps by knowing an addict, having a family member with an addiction or taking courses in the treatment field. I have kept the term “non-clinical” out of this definition of a recovery coach because over the course of several years, I have seen drug and alcohol counselors, family and marriage therapists (MFTs), licensed clinical social workers, interventionists (LCSWs), psychotherapists and psychiatrists, train to be recovery coaches and then add coaching to their resume. I hear from these individuals that they embrace the coaching approach, and merge the knowledge they have as a clinician or interventionist with recovery coaching methods.

Some individuals seek recovery and sobriety from addictions by frequenting a recovery community organization (RCOs) or recovery support center. An RCO is an independent, non-profit organization led and governed by representatives of local communities of recovery. There are recovery coaches at these recovery community organizations. These coaches have very diverse backgrounds. I have met coaches that were addicts, homeless, offenders, teachers, lawyers and highly educated individuals, who choose to help another person in recovery. I have seen these coaches espouse 12-step ideologies as well as non-12-step recovery models such as Buddhist Recovery, Moderation Management, Kundalini Yoga or Harm Reduction. Sometimes, the recovery coaches at these centers receive a salary from the RCO, however, the client is not charged for the recovery coaching services. RCO recovery coaches can also be volunteers, opting to perform their coaching duties for no reimbursement at all. Lastly, recovery coaches can be employed by treatment centers or sober living homes and receive compensation from them. In cases such as this, the client is billed for the coaching services from the centers or homes. I know many a recovery coach who has opened a transitional living home or a supportive sober living environment. They coach the people who reside at these locations and their presence adds to the quality of the recovery experience.

Unfortunately, recovery coaching or peer coaching for addiction recovery is not covered by insurance. No independent health insurance company covers the services of a recovery coach working with an individual in recovery from an addiction. There is currently only one state, New York, that has an arrangement with the state’s Medicaid offices to reimburse for recovery coaching for individuals who are diagnosed as dependent on a substance. Other states, Tennessee, Maryland and Massachusetts, are formulating similar Medicaid payment plans, but these reimbursements are not yet in place.

What is a peer to peer recovery support specialist?

A nearly universal definition of a peer to peer recovery support specialist is an individual with lived experience who has initiated his/her own recovery journey and assists others who are in earlier stages of the healing process of recovery from psychic, traumatic and/or substance-use challenges and, as a result, can offer assistance and support to promote another peer’s own personal recovery journey. A peer to peer recovery support specialist is also called a peer, a peer support practitioner, a peer mentor, or a certified peer. All of these terms basically describe the same job description. More and more, this job description is focused on the peer to peer recovery support specialist working with a person in mental health recovery.The certified peer to peer recovery support specialist workforce is relatively new in the behavioral health field, with state-recognized certification programs first emerging in 2001. Within this short time frame, states have recognized the potential of peer specialists to improve consumer outcomes by promoting recovery. Many social service agencies pay the peer’s salary, and the client does not pay for the coaching. Peer to peer recovery support specialists can also work independently from an agency and be reimbursed by the client or a family.

In the mental health/behavioral health field, when referred by a social services agency or mental health treatment organization, reimbursement for a peer to peer recovery support specialist is covered by a health plan or Medicaid when aiding an individual in mental health recovery.

What is a professional recovery coach?

A professional recovery coach, is sometimes referred to as a recovery life coach. A professional recovery coach has experience and training in the recovery models, and training as a professional coach. These professional and credentialed coaching programs are sometimes referred to as life coaching training. A professional recovery coach can receive training from any of the 250 organizations that train recovery coaches, and select not to receive the certificate from a state certification board or the IC & RC (see the certification information in next week’s post). A professional coach can receive training from the ICF – International Coach Federation’s accredited coach training programs, and apply for a credential issued by the ICF.A professional recovery coach can assist a client with a variety of coaching interventions including, but not limited to recovery from addictions, dealing with mental health diagnoses, divorce, financial downturns, grieving, career change and even family relationship issues. The client is billed for the coaching services from the professional recovery coach. Again, healthcare plans do not reimburse for these coaching services.

For more information consider purchasing my book Recovery Coaching – A Guide to Coaching People in Recovery from Addictions

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