Recovery coaching has led me to work with people with drug addictions and I currently work with Westsiders Against Addiction, which is a support group that takes a spiritual approach to helping people overcome addiction. I have found that recovery coaching works extremely well with spirituality/religion on any level, as the inner search for wholeness that any path takes you on is wonderfully supported by recovery coaching. Aren’t we all recovering from something?

The clients I have worked with have said recovery coaching has helped them find their own “way” within to overcome their substance abuse. It has helped them look at themselves less negatively with the understanding that they have the ability to overcome, while feeling safe and comfortable enough to speak without judgment, fear or embarrassment and with open trust during the session. They have then been able to use the techniques to coach themselves. These truly are the keys to helping anyone.

I almost always use visualisation, as it is so powerful and easy for the brain to assimilate a newer approach to handling emotionally-triggered stress. At the same time it calms the emotions and allows the soul to come up with an alternative answer, which can be used when faced with the same stressful situation.

It is alsohelpful to look at a time in the past that was fulfilling and happy and bring those images and feelings to the present time. For example, fill the void the client is feeling, or use that to replace a negative feeling or action that drives the person to use the drug, using simple questions like, “how does that makes you feel” or“who / what are thinking of when you said that”.

Role playing is extremely useful in helping the client face the person/s who have harmed them, including themselves, and encouraging them to speak to that person/s so they can have their say. This helps them to unburden themselves and to replace that space with an affirmation. This “anchors” the work done through positive words in present time, for example the affirmation, “I am safe, I am protected, I feel accepted”.

An anchor is something the client must do for the week to develop a positive-choice habit to replace something they would normally do or say negatively, which would in turn, drive them to use.I have seen that the more the client puts into doing the “homework”, the more progress they make, and then each session they know exactly what they want to work on for that week. I almost see it as giving them their power, which the drug has so cruelly taken from them, back.