In the Streets

By: Richard Buckman

In the Streets puts the spotlight on recovery housing, issues surrounding it and its crucial transitory step in the continuum of recovery.

Recovery Coach: Say What?

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Jun 27, 2011

In recent years we have seen the emergence of yet another suggested adjunct to addiction recovery, albeit not without controversy.

Recovery Coaching is a new concept for many. I first encountered the term when a colleague shared a story about a person he was working with from the New York City area who had gone to rehab in a warm weather, high-end environment that not many average folks could afford.

My colleague spoke of flying out to the facility to accompany his charge home to NYC. The arrangement was that my friend would move into an apartment paid for in advance for six months by this guy’s family from California.

$500 a Day For 24/7 Coverage
The coach would be paid at a rate of $500 per day and would live with the newly clean individual 24-hours a day, seven days a week for the six-month period.

Knowing this coach for many years, it was clear that there was not any clinical training to speak of, or advanced degrees. In fact, there was no college at all. There was, however, a strong and respected no-nonsense approach to recovery, which was a well known to many of us on the periphery.

William White has written extensively on Peer-based Recovery Support Services.
Soon after, I met with another colleague who was doing similar work with female clients and she reported it was both personally rewarding and quite lucrative.

Eureka! I had found it: The perfect job for someone in recovery. Geez, I mean with my sparkling reputation, obviously superior intellect and rock-solid recovery history, who was better equipped then I to jump feet first into this windfall employment area? Before I knew it, I would have an emerging empire and a fully equipped pool of the world’s best coaches available to assist others around the world. Would my new office be best located here in New York, or perhaps out West? Hmmm…this would require further thought.

Hold on a Minute
Not so fast huh? Well, let’s see. First of all, I would not be available to be anywhere else for 24 hours, not even for one day, let alone six months. So when I returned to reality from my fantasy trip, it occurred to me that indeed these coaching type relationships were happening. The cases we knew of typically involved wealthy celebrity types who inherited a personal chaperone—a Sobriety Whisperer, so to speak—able to jump mid-sentence into the misguided thought process of a wayward duckling, redirecting the energy and path of the newly sober.

By several accounts a couple of the high-end rehabs appeared to embrace this coach concept and developed relationships with contacts around the country to enlist coaches for additional support for their soon to be discharged clients.

While I do not have any outcome data handy, I did come away with the desire to talk to others about this emerging trend

Peer-based Recovery Support Services
At around the same time (2005) I had been attended the Faces and Voices of Recovery Summit in Washington, D.C., and heard William White elaborate on several of his essays, and what was being called Peer-based Recovery Support Services. White notes that back in 2002, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) began to shift its focus to these Peer-based Recovery Support Services.

Several states soon followed suit, and soon to emerge was the recovery oriented systems of care or (ROSC)

Next: Recovery Coaches—why all the controversy?

» Read about Richard here

For more about the emerging field of Recovery Coaching, which we will be covering extensively in, read Jim Jensen’s Peer to Peer/Mentoring blogs.


Deirdre  3199 days ago
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Thanks for this Richard. I actually helped to hire a few Recovery Coaches/Companions/etc. for a high end facility I worked for and I'll never get over the ethical lapses I encountered with their highly paid "work." From requesting his own office with phone, desk, computer within the offices of the wealthy owner, to giving financial advice !

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