Since returning to South Africa a couple of months ago I have made my focus the development of my Recovery & Life Coaching business (Recovery Coaching SA). It’s an exciting adventure to build a dream and be able to start a vision from scratch. I’m constantly being presented with new and amazing opportunities as I continue along this road of personal and professional discovery. A couple of days ago I completed my first magazine article which will be appearing in a new South African publication, “Addict”, in August. I’m constantly meeting new people who are passionately dedicated to aiding the recovery of those battling with the disease of addiction. It’s a wonderful experience to see how many people are truly dedicated to trying to assist people and work with them to empower individuals.
I am a passionate advocate of the Recovery Coaching model as a path towards sustained sobriety. It’s about working in an accountable partnership with the person in recovery to develop a personalised recovery plan. By focusing on long-term goals and developing short-term action plans to get there, they are encouraged to follow their own truth on the road to recovery. Recovery coaching is not about telling, advising or leading. It’s about creating a safe space where we can find the answers to our questions and then follow our own authentic road map to recovery.
And each plan will vary according to who it is developed by. As a Recovery Coach it is my job to support the choices that a client makes for their own recovery, after all we are the experts on ourselves. By helping identify and overcome internal and external obstacles blocking their path, challenging faulty thinking and assisting the development of new and productive thought and behaviour patterns, the client is supported in their recovery process. It’s not an easy process, but if it is addressed in a forward-focused, solution-orientated way, we are personally empowered to strive for long-term wellness and balance. By building recovery capital in various areas of life, those in recovery strive for a richer, more balanced and holistic life. It’s an ever-changing, unmapped adventure, shifting and developing as we progress through the various stages of recovery.
What may only seem like a distant possibility in early recovery may seem evermore achievable when one moves into middle-stage recovery. And when in late- or maintenance-stage this ideal may be assimilated into the person’s daily life, with focus having shifted to new goals or aspirations. The aim of Recovery Coaching is long-term, sustained sobriety, but it does take into account that relapse is a reality in the process. Being aware that this can happen, clients are asked to identify personal triggers, internal and external obstacles and bring these elements into their conscious awareness, as a means to being more prepared and better-equipped to deal with them, and thereby minimise the effects that they will have on a potential relapse situation. Hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness (H.A.L.T) are also important issues that should be addressed through the coaching process, because they too are potential relapse triggers that should be avoided (or minimised) as mush as possible.
But if relapse does occur, and let’s face it the stats are not at good, then there is a plan in place to deal with this as effectively as possible. One that can help us move on, refocus on our long-term goals and get back on the road! It doesn’t advocate any fundamental weakness on the part of the person for relapsing, it doesn’t mean that the person isn’t committed to their recovery, it simply accepts that addiction is an ongoing battle and that compounding on the guilt and shame that already exists does not help get over the relapse event. We are human and if we stumble in every day life there is every chance that we are going to trip a couple of times in recovery, but rather than plummeting back into active addiction, choose to move forward from this point and not spend endless hours lamenting the mistake.
Recovery coaching is all about moving forward, focusing on what we want to achieve and where we are going. Rather than spending time rehashing the past over and over again, caught up in the stories of our active addiction, it’s about taking strides to where we want to be. In my mind it’s far more productive and empowering to look towards the outcome we are trying to achieve than constantly talking about where we went wrong and how terrible life was. Having made the decision to take control of our lives, there is far more to be gained by putting one foot in front of the other, with our eyes fixed on the horizon. The past cannot be undone, we cannot shake off this disease we have, but we can own our truth and become the navigators of our lives.
Because progress in recovery, no matter how slow and small, is still far better than any form of addiction. There may be times when the going is tough and you are filled with self-doubt, but learning to deal with our inner obstacles and build on our personal visions, will take us ever closer to where we want to be. And life is better with a clear head and an honest heart.
Keep focused on your ending and what you want the story of you life to be.
‘Til next time