Life Coach

Conquering addiction alone can be difficult. Life coaches are a great way for someone to find additional support in recovery and help them overcome life obstacles.

Life coaches undergo specific training and practice hours in order to gain certification. There are various training programs and certifications available, and most offer different levels of certification. Training for 60 hours and working with clients for 100 hours will earn an associate certificate. The next level up is a professional certification. A master certification requires 200 hours of coach training, 2,500 hours of working with clients, and 10 hours spent working with a mentor. The latter is best suited for coaching people who are dealing with complicated matters like addiction. There were 19,791 life coaches employed in the United States in 2014, according to IBIS World.

Life coaches ask a lot of questions. The questions they ask are based on trying to get to know you and how you operate. Life coaches can help someone to view obstacles in their life and ways to overcome them. They can also help to create clear game plans to help achieve goals.

Who Can Benefit From a Life Coach?

Anyone who is struggling with which direction to take in life can benefit from the help and support of a life coach. Addicts often find life coach services very resourceful since they frequently need help with more than just substance abuse issues. For instance, many addicts struggle with unemployment, low self-esteem, relationships, mental illness, physical health, and more.

A life coach can help in repairing relationships that may have been damaged by substance abuse. Among divorced couples surveyed, 30 percent of women note their spouse’s substance abuse as a contributor to their divorce, according to Schonfeld and Goldring. Consequently, 30 percent of people who are divorced or separated use drugs to relax compared to only 17 percent of those who are married, per the Deseret News. With the helpful services of a life coach, many who self-medicate in lieu of healthy coping skills may be able to salvage failing relationships — both personal and professional. The International Coach Federation accounts for improved self-confidence among 80 percent of clients who work with a life coach and improved relationships for 73 percent.

Often, the physical health problems addicts suffer from stem from their substance abuse. Injection drug use alone is responsible for 12 percent of new cases of AIDS, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes. A life coach can help a recovering addict to address health issues and seek proper medical care. In addition, a life coach can encourage a healthy lifestyle that incorporates a balanced diet and regular exercise.

Frequently, addicts struggle with employment not only because of their substance abuse but because they’ve been spending their time in the wrong career field. Contrary to popular myths, substance abusers are not always unemployed or reluctant to work. In fact, out of every six unemployed persons, only one is a drug or alcohol abuser, per CNN Money. As a person gets sober, it can also serve as a time to reboot their career. If they are in a field that hasn’t been fulfilling, it might be time to take a new direction. A life coach can help a person to define a new career path based on things the person finds interesting and fulfilling.

Helping to Set Specific Goals

A life coach will help someone figure out what they actually want in life. So many addicts come into treatment and leave with realizations that they’ve been living for their spouse or parents, or in the pursuit of goals set by someone else.

What are your objectives for your life? A life coach is the perfect person to narrow them down. The next step is learning to understand what obstacles have been holding someone back or preventing them from reaching said goals. People sometimes engage in self-sabotage, often unknowingly, and a life coach can help a person to stop destructive behavior and work productively toward their goals.

A life coach can be a great accompaniment to a substance abuse treatment plan. While therapy can help patients to undercover issues that led to substance abuse, life coaches can help to put the knowledge learned in therapy into practice.

While a therapist may help a patient to identify triggering situations and strategies for dealing with those issues, a life coach can help the patient to implement those strategies on a daily basis.

Regardless of what circumstances led someone to substance abuse, the end goal of treatment is the same — protection against relapse and sustained sobriety. The driving force behind each step taken with a life coach is to reinforce this goal. Among alcoholics in a Journal of Addiction study, relapse is a reality, even for those who achieve long-term sobriety, spanning from 20 percent to as high as 80 percent. A good life coach will encourage patients to:

  • Stop living in the past and instead move forward with life.
  • Discover specific life goals.
  • Take challenging steps in life.
  • Learn how to make positive, productive choices.

Life coaches are not therapists. They won’t tell someone what to do. Rather, they will support clients in leading their own life — something some may have been afraid and reluctant to do all these years. This process isn’t about someone lecturing on what to do next. It’s a synergetic approach toward healing a broken life and moving forward. Clients will remain in complete control of the choices they make. The life coach’s role is merely to help clients discover what they want those choices to be.

During treatment and in the months and years that follow in recovery, a life coach can help clients to remain accountable for actions and take the right steps to stay on track with goals. A therapist will help clients understand themselves better and come to terms with underlying psychological and emotional issues that may have fueled substance abuse. A life coach will teach clients tools to carry on with life in a healthy manner, without the need for drugs or alcohol as a crutch.

Co-occurring Disorders

Life coaches can also help patients to manage stress, which is common among those with co-occurring disorders of mental illness and substance abuse. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports 21-43 percent of people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at some point during their lives also battle long-term drug or alcohol abuse. Among youths, teenagers under large amounts of stress are two times as likely to use alcohol or illicit drugs than low-stress teenagers, per CASA Columbia.

Experience in Addiction

Life coaching starts with a commitment to a number of scheduled coaching sessions; six months or longer is typical. Whether someone is new to recovery or has been sober for a while but have lost direction, a recovery coach — a life coach who is geared toward addiction treatment — could be the key to turning his or her life around. With proper guidance and coaching, this individual could achieve a more satisfying life than he or she imagined was possible.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.