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Coaching vs Sponsoring

2017 is becoming a year of growth, adventure and massive change for me. I am leaving behind a broken heart and 2 years of alcohol relapse after a 5-year sobriety period. If you read my posts and follow me on Instagram you know that I am grateful for all the brokenness and how it has transformed my life and launched me into a stronger recovery and sobriety. My hashtag is #leapingin2017. I am living that daily.

This new cycle of sobriety is empowering and full of possibility; and the way that this shows up in my daily life is by throwing adventures “for the taking”. Adventures that scare the shit out of me – but I am leaping nonetheless.

Last week I decided that this year I wanted to explore the “other side” of service in recovery…I will pursue get my student cap back on and pursue a dual certification as a Certified Life Coach and Certified Professional Recovery Coach. Scary and exciting, but every instinct screams YES.

Because I have been in recovery (in and out) for 8 years, I am very familiar with Sponsorship. However, I was not as familiar with what a Recovery Coach does. Here is what I found out – It fascinated me, and hooked me into this possibility.

How is Recovery Coaching different than Therapy and Sponsorship?

Coaching is intended for those who want to reach a higher level of performance, satisfaction or learning. People who feel they’ve lost time to addiction are especially eager to do well and enjoy life. They make committed and enthusiastic coaching clients.

Therapy is for those who are seeking relief from emotional or psychological pain. Coaching ethics and guidelines require that if a client is primarily seeking relief from emotional or psychological pain they must to be referred to a therapist. Coaching is often used concurrently with therapy, but should not be considered a substitute for therapy.

Coaching focuses on the present and future, while therapy focuses primarily on the past.

In therapy the concern is how unresolved issues are impacting the present. In coaching the question is what can be done today to move the client forward toward their goals and the realization of their vision.

How Is a Recovery Coach Different From a Sponsor?

Sponsors come from 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Drug Addicts Anonymous, etc. Sponsors are not paid professionals; they benefit personally from the service they give you by staying clean and sober or abstinent themselves. A sponsor’s job is to help their sponsee stay clean, abstinent, or sober by working through the 12 steps and using the program and fellowship effectively to stop the addictive behavior. Sponsors have a singleness of purpose—they stick with the steps and traditions. Often the focus is on cleaning up the past and teaching the process of the12-steps, sharing guidance and personal experience.

A Recovery Coach isn’t limited to using the steps and traditions and coaches don’t focus on the past. A Recovery Coach will focus on rebuilding a present and planning a future - laying hope and plans for life after addiction. Recovery Coaching is not affiliated with any 12-step program and does not promote a particular path or way to recover. However, many recovery coaches are members of 12-step programs and have both a sponsor and a coach. A coach’s job is to challenge and support their client as they make lifestyle changes and begin to have a better quality of life. They provide a space for the client to share, establish an accountability program, and define milestones in the recovery process. A Recovery Coach is a professional in the addiction field and as such, gets compensation for the services rendered.

So I am totally excited (in a tips-of-fingers-kinda-way!) about this decision. It is a perfect example of the possibilities that I could not ever dream of accessing while drinking.

Sobriety gives me daily gifts. Dreaming big, exploring awesomeness, creating possibilities…that is how sobriety shows up for me every day.


Sober Mami::

Pamela is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach & Educator. She has been in recovery since 2009, and is a passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding addiction. Please share this post via the channels below or anyone in your life who may benefit from a little information about drinking and recovery.


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