Monday, December 7, 2009

The Pitfalls of Early Recovery and How to Avoid Them

Ever meet the parent or spouse of someone in treatment?

On the one hand, they may look like someone who just got hit by a truck - still traumatized by the months or years of struggle with their addict. On the other, they have a sense of peace when they tell you "At least now I don't worry day and night about where they are or who they are with. They're in treatment, they are safe. I can sleep at night - finally!"

And after detox is over and the addict has had a few weeks to adjust and begin thinking clearly, you might even see a glimmer of hope in the parent or spouse's eye when they tell you how great their addict looks and feels and talks while in treatment - "They seem to have a whole new lease on life!" or "It's like having my old son/husband/daughter/wife back again!"

But, underlying it all is that fear, that old feeling, of waiting for the other shoe to drop...especially if this isn't their loved one's first treatment or if the family member has sat in 12 step or treatment center meetings and heard the horror stories of people relapsing almost as soon as they get out..."Well, there are no guarantees. This seems too good to be true and it just may be..." Then, once the addict gets out of treatment, far too many times, it does prove too good to be true...In fact, many an addict has said, "It was so easy to stay sober when I was in treatment...But dealing with the real world is a whole  other story..."

Indeed, this nightmare of making it out the doors and into the arms of one's dealer or local liquor store clerk, happens far too often - often not immediately after treatment, but often within the first few months. And what a difficult first few months they often are of navigating aftercare, 12 step meetings, halfway houses, finding a sponsor, home life, job search or readjustment, family relationships... and all of this without one's drug of choice!

So, what is there to do to help addicts and alcoholics stay sober once they get out of treatment?

Over the past few years, as the field of coaching has evolved, a specialized group of recovery coaches has emerged to help solve just that problem.

These recovery coaches, often few and far between, but extremely dedicated, work closely with family, addict, treatment center and other facilities in contact with the addict, to smoothe the transition from treatment to aftercare 12 step program to halfway house to home to job or school and back into the 'real world'.

Often, a person's recovery coach is the one person who stays the same in a world of shifting helpers and services that the addict faces as they move from active addiction into recovery.
Often hired by the family to work directly with the addict, a recovery coach may come into play before sobriety to help the addict get into treatment, or even toward the end of treatment, when transitional issues begin to arise.
The coach's job is to get to know the individual and help them go within themselves to:
  • discover the goals they want/need to reach 
  • develop an action plan to reach those goals 
  • take the step-by-step actions necessary to fulfill the goals and action plan.
The coach is specially trained to form an interactive partnership  with the client that serves as a springboard and a home base as the client navigates the challenges and changes confronting him or her along the way. The value of this relationship has become so evident that currently, several states are training people they call Recovery Support Specialists to help bring addicts off the streets, get them the services they need and move from stage to stage of the recovery process.

Not therapists, recovery coaches help the client deal with the day to day obstacles that get in their way of staying clean and sober. Often, recovery coaches are in touch with the treatment center to insure a smoothe thread of services and communication on the client's behalf.

Indeed, recovery coaches meet a need the family, and addict yearn for, but that many families cannot provide directly for their loved ones, either because of strains in the relationship or due to physical distance. Family members often hire recovery coaches to help their addicts beat the odds. While there are no guarantees with this disease, recovery coaches can and do give their clients a point of continual contact - and that can be the difference an individual needs to make it in the daunting world of early recovery!

Readers, please note:

These blogs are designed to provide those who love, live and/or work with addicts with ideas to contemplate. They are not designed to replace the wonderful support available to co-addicts in programs like naranon, alanon, gamanon, and s-anon. These 12 step programs offer meetings all over the world, in person, on the phone, and online. You can find their listings on their web sites:
There are people at these meetings who have dealt and continue to deal with the rampage that addiction can bring into the lives of those affected by someone else's using. Feel free to call me to find out more or to check out their websites for more information.

In addition, having a coach can intensify the pace of growth in these areas. If you feel you or someone you love would benefit, I would be happy to speak with you or someone you know who is affected by the addiction of another person. Let’s have a confidential, complimentary consultation to talk about how we might work together to jumpstart your own recovery journey and perhaps even that of those around you.

Beverly A. Buncher, MA, CEC, CLPF
Recovery Coach
Recovery Support Specialist
Helping People in Recovery Find Their Way
786 859 4050  (Focus on You! - for family and friends of addicts)  (Life Purpose in Recovery)   (Treatment Professionals in Recovery)
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Find and select some good points from you and it aids me to solve a problem, thanks.

- Henry