I spent three days at the end of last week at recovery coach training at Sharp Treatment Centre which was an interesting and fulfilling learning experience. As a certified life and recovery coach I am extremely interested in new ideas, tools and techniques that I can add to my coaching toolkit, and this weekend was no exception. Learning and education are very high on my hierarchy of values, and I have done a lot pf personal work recently on determining exactly what it is that drives and inspires me and I am particularly interested in the work that Dr John Demartini does in this area. So any chance I get to personally educate and empower myself I accept with huge gratitude.
The learning aside at for the moment, what really resonated with me over the few days was the need for a new approach to substance (mis)use disorders and aiding individuals, families and communities in their plight around the use and misuse of substances. The shame, guilt and stigma that envelopes people caught in the cycle of substance and behavioural issues is nothing short of overwhelming. Yet the traditional approaches to treatment and recovery seem to be having very little effect on the problem, which also includes the ineffectiveness of the state to help treat it’s citizens. Instead of receiving treatment for use of illegal substances, individuals are receiving prison sentences and the penal system in this country is in my opinion doing nothing to rehabilitate anyone, but rather reinforce the behaviours and dependencies that led to the sentences.
So what is needed is a huge shift in how addiction and substance abuse is viewed and treated. And this is Recovery Coaching fits in as it is a forward-focused and solutions-driven approach to uplifting individuals and communities, without simply labeling people as addicts with an illness who are doomed to a life of misuse, periods of sobriety and ultimately relapse into active addiction. Since Recovery Coaching exists in a place of wellness, advocates of the methodology believe that substance misuse disorders can be overcome and that wellness can be maintained thereby empowering and enriching people’s lives. Through education and learning, individuals are able to live productive lives filled with meaning and purpose, free of the yoke of addiction and all the societal beliefs and stereo-types around it. Recovery Coaches don’t treat addiction, they aid wellness and help their clients develop plans and strategies to reach personal and professional fulfillment. Through self-development people in recovery are able to help themselves and in the process have a positive effect on others. Because the truth is that all we are able to control is ourselves and our own lives, but by moving away from destructive behaviours and thoughts, we move into a place of personal independence and interdependence, and away from co-dependency, blame, shame and guilt.
By starting with one person, ourselves, we can start a ripple effect that will move steadily outwards to our families, friends, communities and eventually the nation as a whole. By talking, educating, sharing and inspiring others to take a different look at what Recovery Coaching can bring to getting and staying well, rather than wallowing in the darkness of being an addict forever, small steps now can lead to enormous long-term changes. No, it isn’t something that happens overnight, but the more passionate people that are introduced to the powerful nature of coaching recovery within a place of wellness, the more momentum there is to be gained. I truly believe that we are on the verge of an immense paradigm shift in the treatment and recovery world, and I am excited and inspired to be part of the move towards a new solution. So in closing I would like to leave you with these words from Nelson Mandela,