Attending a support group, keeping up with therapy appointments, and adopting healthy habits are all par for the course when it comes to maintaining a sober lifestyle. If you’re like many others who’ve emerged from rehab in the last few months, you know how necessary it is to avoid triggers that could send you back on a self-destructive path.
Early on, many people express a need for additional social support to help themselves through the recovery process. But it can be tough to form meaningful friendships with others who understand and relate to what you’ve been through.
Enter the peer coach. A peer coach is someone who is specially trained to work with those who are rebuilding their lives from addiction. They’ve gathered significant interest in recent years and are now seen as a vital component to recovery by treatment professionals.
Joining forces with a peer coach can add a personal touch to your long-term recovery plan.
Peer coaches help people during their recovery by motivating them to stay sober, involving them in drug or alcohol-free activities, or finding them a safe place to stay. But what sets peer coaches apart from sponsors and licensed therapists is their first-hand experience – many peer coaches have endured and recovered from an addiction of their own. This allows them to provide a tremendous amount of insight to someone who has just embarked on their own recovery journey.
For many individuals, a peer coach was the missing puzzle piece they needed to complete their long-term recovery plan.
Treatment centers, they take care of you when you’re in there. They give you aftercare, which helps you get back into society. But they’re not there for you when you go home. To have somebody that will teach you how to go out and eat and sit with somebody and have a conversation…To say, hey, I’m having a hard time, what would you do in that situation. To look at their life and say, I want part of that.
How Peer Coaches Differ From Sponsors
It’s easy to confuse the 2, but the role of the peer coach is distinct from that of a sponsor.
For example, a sponsor tends to work within the framework of the 12-step method – the healing philosophy used in groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous. While sponsors have helped countless individuals overcome their addiction, those in recovery are typically encouraged to rely on the 12 Steps alone for their healing.
A peer coach is licensed through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Recovery Community Services Program (RCSP) after completing 40 to 80 hours of training. Peer coaches collaborate with the person in recovery to help them make choices about the path that works for them. They’ll also devote more time to connecting the individual with community health resources, employment, housing, and other services.
Addiction Center is not affiliated with any insurance.
Where To Find A Peer Coach
There are a number of national, state, and local organizations whose primary focus is on communities that require substance recovery support. These organizations supply recovery advocate representatives to families and individuals who are in need.
Some of the recovery support service organizations that exist include:
The National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery
The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment
White Bison, a support organization for American Indians/Native Alaskans
SAMHSA also provides a national directory of substance abuse and mental health treatment services, including recovery support services. Visit their website to locate a recovery support organization that’s close to you.
“We’re In This Together.”
Having a peer coach in your life can make a world of difference in your determination to stay clean. Remember: They were in your shoes once upon a time. Through helping you navigate the challenges of recovery, they’re reminding themselves how important and fulfilling it is to never stray away from the journey. And, in many ways, you’re helping them too.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to the website’s main phone number will be answered or returned by one of the treatment providers listed below, each of which is a paid advertiser: