At the point where an individual recognizes that they have a problem with drug abuse or addiction and they need and want help for this issue, they can sometimes come to the erroneous conclusion that it is impossible to recover fully and permanently. This finding usually occurs as a result of the individual’s failed attempts to achieve sobriety on their own, and without the help of others. Unfortunately, attempting recovery on one’s own often leads to feelings of hopelessness and seclusion, and it is not unusual for the individual to feel that they are utterly alone in a struggle that no one else understands. This is where peer recovery coaches can be immensely helpful.
Who Benefits from Peer Recovery Coaches
No addict needs someone to tell them that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol and that they need help. They certainly don’t need someone to tell them that there is no real recovery from drug addiction and that the best they can hope for is some tools that will enable them to continue fighting for their sobriety each and every day in the future. Unfortunately, this is what many individuals feel they receive through traditional rehabilitation treatment–judgment for their current condition and a lack of confidence in their ability to recover and live a healthier future. However, peer recovery coaches present an entirely different proposition.
A peer recovery coach is an individual who has himself struggled with drug abuse and addiction and who has successfully made a full recovery, and who is now providing support to others who are working through these same problems. With state certification, peer recovery coaches are paid an hourly wage for providing their support to others who are living in subsidized housing programs or experiencing chronic homelessness, addiction issues, mental health challenges or some other disability. This may open the door to some controversy, but one needs to consider all of the facts actually to determine whether this is truly a beneficial service, both for those who receive it, as well as for those who deliver it.
The Institute Consensus Statement on Recovery Support Services, which was published in 2012, acknowledged the existence and value of peer recovery coaches in addiction treatment. Whether these services are delivered through recovery community organizations, recovery community centers, recovery homes, recovery schools, recovery industries or recovery ministries and whether these individuals are called recovery coaches, recovery guides, recovery mentors, recovery support specialists or peer support specialists, the primary value remains the same--they are providing the invaluable support that can help an individual successfully work through challenges and difficulties that lay on the road to recovery. For the addict himself, having someone to talk with who has himself gone through many of the same difficulties that they are experiencing can help them build the self-confidence they need to foster the foundation of hope that often leads into a better, happier, healthier and more productive future.
Through the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a recovering individual is expected to reach out and help others who are likewise struggling with substance abuse and addiction problems. This is meant to be a part of the person’s recovery and is not intended to be paid. However, other individuals would argue that someone who is recovering from substance abuse had the need to rebuild their life, and if coupling their desire for recovery with the need to earn a living allows them to improve their survival, as well as the survival of others, there really shouldn’t be any complaints about paid peer recovery coaches. After all, no matter how one promotes their recovery strategies, and whether this advice and support are given free of charge or not, the ultimate goal is always to help others overcome their addiction challenges and step forward onto the path of full and lasting recovery.
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