In sports, people look to their coaches for advice on how to improve their game and sometimes about life in general. The coach is the one who encourages the player to try to score and advises them on how to improve their strategy for success. A life coach has a similar purpose that can be utilized for addiction recovery.

What Is Life Coaching?

Life coaching is a type of assistance that utilizes guidance and support to improve a person’s life. A life coach provides advice on how people can maximize their success in life and help clients to reach their goals. If someone is unsure of their goals, a life coach can help them to identify reasonable, achievable goals based on the person’s interests and circumstances. Essentially, a life coach encourages people to strive for a better life and figure out tangible steps to make that goal a reality.

While there are no strict education or certification requirements for life coaches, most hold some degree of training in the field. Specific requirements vary by state, and there are many voluntary certification programs that offer specialized training the area, such as the International Association of Coaching and International Coach Federation. Many life coaches hold degrees in related fields, such as psychology or social work.

What Is Life Coaching?

Life coaches may offer general services, or some may specialize in a particular area, such as addiction recovery. Generally, a life coach address various aspects of life, including:

  • Relationships
  • Nutrition
  • Self-care
  • Employment
  • Stress management

They advise clients on managing responsibilities and coping with hardships. They also help clients to identify obstacles to their goal and work to overcome them.

Since many life coaches do specialize in certain aspects, it’s always best for those in need of specific assistance to inquire about the coach’s training and specialty. CBS News states that a well-trained coach is able to advise people in regard to both business and personal matters. Essentially, a life coach addresses every aspect of a person’s life. While a particular area might require more attention, and hence the desire to find a life coach with experience in this area, the coach will incorporate all aspects of life into their approach, much like a therapist does.

Addiction and Relapse

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that 23.5 million Americans ages 12 and older required treatment for a drug or alcohol abuse disorder in 2009, which is equivalent to 9.3 percent of people in this age bracket. Out of the number of people who required treatment for an alcohol or illicit drug problem, only 2.6 million actually received care. This figure is equivalent to 11.2 percent of people who needed treatment.

This figure hasn’t changed much throughout the years, as documented by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In 2014, 22.5 million people ages 12 or older, equivalent to 8.5 percent of the US population, needed treatment for an alcohol or drug abuse problem. Of these individuals, only 4.2 million received any substance abuse treatment while slightly over 2 million received specialty care. Only 18.5 percent of the people who needed help received any treatment.

Once people undergo addiction treatment as an inpatient or outpatient, they require further care. This is because a relapse is a common concern for people who are recovering from an addiction. According to HBO, people are most vulnerable to a relapse 30-90 days after being discharged from a treatment program. Statistics indicate that more than 50 percent of those who have been discharged from treatment will consume alcohol or use drugs within a year.

The risk of a relapse drops significantly around four or five years after starting the recovery process. Psychology Today published results of a study conducted on close to 1,200 people who were suffering from addiction. The follow-up portion consisted of more than 94 percent of those individuals. The results concluded that approximately 33 percent of people who were abstinent less than a year will remain abstinent. Of the people who achieved abstinence for a year, less than 50 percent will relapse.

How a Life Coach Factors In

How a Life Coach Factors In

Due to the high relapse potential associated with addiction, many in early recovery benefit greatly from having a life coach. Returning to “normal” life following a stay in an addiction treatment program can be difficult, and having someone there to facilitate a smooth transition can be vital to continued sobriety. A life coach can help a person in recovery to recognize issues that may result in relapse and guide them on ways to deal with such issues that don’t involve a return to substance use.

As stated, a life coach’s work reaches into all aspects of a person’s life, helping them to achieve success in various areas. For instance, a person may have lost their job as a result of addiction, and a life coach can help them to refine their resume, find a job, and encourage them to go to work regularly. If the person experienced legal issues while they were living in active addiction, a life coach can help them to navigate the process of dealing with such issues.

Life coaches can address financial management issues, helping clients to create plans to pay bills on time and get out of debt. They can also help clients to repair relationships that were damaged due to substance abuse issues. The life coach may assist the client in learning better life management skills and other vital skills that can help to prevent a relapse.

Those who have suffered from ongoing addiction have often neglected their overall health. Nutritional needs have often been ignored as well as physical fitness and adequate sleep regimes. A life coach can teach clients how to take care of themselves and incorporate lifestyle changes that will improve their general wellbeing, focusing on a balanced diet, proper exercise, and a healthy sleep schedule.

Ultimately, improvements in all these areas help clients to build self-esteem and feel more confident in their ability to live a productive life. The life coach allows the individual to develop better habits and ultimately change their lifestyle, which is imperative when someone is trying to embrace a new life in recovery. The life coach acts as an essential source of encouragement and support, motivating the client as they begin to reach their goals.

A Complement to Comprehensive Therapy