Recovery Coaching in Addiction Recovery

Woman in hat

Recovery Coaching is fairly new concept in addiction treatment. Coaches work in the present, assisting clients with achieving goals, such as, maintaining addiction recovery, improved health, work goals, relationships, and finances [1, 2].

Coaches are paid, highly trained individuals who work with you to ask questions around creating achievable goals and future planning. Typically these individuals are looking to give back to others, and often are recovered addicts themselves. SAMHSA states that a recovery coach is a person who helps the recovering addict sustain recovery [2].

The Role of Recovery Coaches in Addiction Treatment

Recovery Coaches in Addiction Recovery online searches rose 40% from 2015-2016, with more individuals seeking out further assistance once completing treatment [1].

Coaching also tends to be less intimidating, and have a reduced stigma than that of addiction professionals. In a recent study that looked at the effectiveness of recovery coaching, followed 100 patients who received recovery coaching [1]. The study found that 26 of the 100 relapsed, and of the remaining that did not relapse, 90% were able to obtain recovery [1].

Recovery coaches can help with interpersonal relationships, communication skills, and seeking employment. Recovery coaches ask the individual how they want to pursue their recovery. If however, the coach feels that there are deeper mental health issues, they will recommend seeking out or returning to your outpatient therapist [1].

Typically coaches are to be familiar with general substance abuse, addiction, and mental health symptoms to be knowledgeable about challenges and solutions. Coaches learn and are familiar with theoretical models of addiction as well as models of changes such as harm reductions, abstinence, moderation management, faith and 12 step programs [1, 4].

Coaches are also familiar with and aware of community and mental health treatment programs. They are aware of when their role stops and a mental health professional may be needed [4].

Types of Addiction Recovery

Recovery Coaches in Addiction Recovery work with all types of addictions. Coaches work with chemical dependency, sex addictions, eating disorders, or gambling addictions. They do not diagnose or provide treatment, but can help clarify goals, and help the person achieve them.

Often times this is a great resource for individuals who feel they have little social support or family support. Typically recovery coaches are anywhere from $300 a month to $800 a month depending on your location and needs [1].

When looking at hiring a recovery coach it is important to know that there are many people who use the term, but searching for a Professional Recovery Coach is imperative. This will ensure that their training will be both in life coaching and addiction recovery.

Each state has their own rules and definitions of what a recovery coach is allowed to do. Some insurances will cover recovery coaches as well [2].

Relapsing can happen, and recovery coaches will work the individual as long as they can. They will work with you to look at what the triggers were of the relapse as well as what changes may need to be made. If the person continues with the relapse, then the recovery coaching session will end, until recovery is the focus again.

What To Expect With Addiction Recovery Coaching

Woman in fear hatWhat to expect when first meeting with a recovery coach can be a little confusing. When you first meet with a recovery coach they will discuss what the coach process and relationship it. They will do an interview with you to see if it is a good fit for your stage in the recovery processes.

They will look to see if you can identify on or more achievable goals, relate to the coach as a partner, and help co-design the coaching relationship [4]. They will define the boundaries and limits to coaching as well as clarify what will not be offered through coaching.

One of the first organizations to begin recovery coaching was the Hartford, Connecticut based agency, Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery [3]. They initially set up telephone support over a decade ago and found that staying in touch with patients, helped the individual meet recovery goals.

It showed that ongoing support following intensive addiction treatment, can help the person continue to feel supported and meet recovery goals.

Currently recovery coaches can help with issues around housing, employment, proceedings with drug court, working with probation officers and engage individuals who are waiting to get into to treatment or struggling with motivation to stay in treatment [3].

According to Recovery Coaches International, coaching holds the belief that there is innate health and wholeness in each individual [4]. They use evidence-based approaches to help individuals find their values, assets, and strengths following an addiction.

Recovery coaches also realizes that individuals, after struggling with an addiction may have gaps in skills or education development and coaches work to support and help clients gain new skills [4].

Woman backpackerIn conclusion, Recovery Coaching in Addiction Recovery is a valuable tool that individuals can use. They work with the person to achieve recovery goals, can be a peer listener, and help the individual stay in the recovery process.

This service is particularly useful after discharging from intensive treatment and to help you regain recovery in real life. Coaching is not about continued therapy, or having another sponsor, it is about working with someone who has been where you are and helping you realize that recovery can be lifelong and achievable.


Image of Libby Lyons and familyAbout the Author: Libby Lyons, MSW, LCSW, CEDS, is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) who works with individuals and families in the area of eating disorders. Mrs. Lyons works in the metropolitan St. Louis area and has been practicing in the field for 11 years. Libby is also trained in Family Based Therapy (FBT) to work with children-young adults to treat eating disorders. Mrs. Lyons has prior experience working with the United States Air Force, Saint Louis University, Operating Officer of a Private Practice, and currently works with both Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute within their Eating Disorders Program and Fontbonne University


[1]: Top Ten Things to Know About Recovery Coaching. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2016, from
[2]: Recovery coaches offer a crucial link. (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2016, from
[3]: Luthra, S. (2016, October 24). Could peer-recovery coaches help fight drug addiction? Retrieved December, 2016, from
[4]: (n.d.). Retrieved December, 2016, from

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 28, 2017.
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.