In the early stages of recovery, the path forward can seem clear. You enroll in a local rehabilitation center, learn how to manage your substance use disorder, and possibly transition to outpatient treatment if you need further care. But what do you do after alcohol or drug addiction treatment? Well, one option to continue your addiction recovery is to work with a peer recovery coach.
Peer recovery coaches can provide invaluable support as you move forward with your new, sober lifestyle. But what is a peer recovery coach, exactly? And how can they help you avoid relapse? Let’s discuss how a peer recovery coach can make a positive impact in your recovery.
What Does a Peer Recovery Coach Do?
Peer recovery coaches come from all walks of life and all backgrounds, just as people with substance abuse issues do. These are individuals who have either successfully gone through addiction recovery, or they have a close personal relationship with someone who has and have had additional training. In short, peer recovery coaches have essential tips and insight on how to achieve long-term recovery.
While you are undergoing treatment for addiction and mental health issues, you will get support from recovery groups. But community support should not stop there. Even after graduating from a treatment program, a peer recovery coach can provide that support and guidance that is crucial in navigating life without drugs and alcohol.
But how does a peer recovery coach actually help? Well, there are a few ways, including:
- Acting as a role model and demonstrating healthy behaviors.
- Providing continuing education on addiction and mental health issues.
- Offering guidance and support to keep you in a healthy mental space.
For millions of people recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol, recovery can be an isolating process. You may find that you have less in common with old friends than you thought, and a peer recovery coach is a great way to feel less isolated and remember that you’re on path to recovery. Making new, sober friends is often a part of recovery, but if you haven’t had time to do that yet, a peer recovery coach can serve as a great reminder of what you’re working toward.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of a peer recovery coach is knowing that there is always someone in your corner. No matter what’s going on in your life, you know that this one person wants the best for you and your recovery. They represent the best of what recovery can do for an individual, and they’re a reminder of what you can achieve if you stick with your recovery.
Do Peer Recovery Coaches Really Improve Sobriety Success?
It can be hard to believe that an individual can have such a profound impact on recovery, but it’s true. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), having a peer recovery coach offers two key benefits. First, you are more likely to stay sober with the assistance of a peer recovery specialist. Secondly, you are more likely to have a higher quality recovery overall (better happiness, more satisfaction with personal relationships, etc.).
Research indicates that having community support, particularly from a certified peer recovery specialist, can give you benefits like the following:
- Better and more frequent application of recovery concepts that you learned in an addiction treatment center.
- Lowered risk of relapse.
- Improved relationships with mental health professionals.
- More satisfaction in your overall treatment process.
Once you’ve completed an addiction treatment program, working with a peer recovery coach will be a great way to keep those skills sharp. By combining professional addiction treatment with peer support, you can make a long-term recovery from drugs and alcohol.
How to Choose a Peer Recovery Coach
Remember, while a peer recovery specialist can do great things for your recovery, they are not a mental health professional. This means that their credentials are different from a therapist’s, and you’ll have to look at different criteria to determine who is the right peer recovery coach for you. In Louisiana, certified peer recovery coaches have to meet certain standards required by the Louisiana Department of Health.
These criteria for Louisiana peer support specialists include:
- Lived experience with a behavioral health issue. This can include addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders.
- A high school diploma or GED.
- At least 18 years of age.
- One year or longer in recovery from a behavioral health issue, as defined by SAMHSA’s working definition of recovery.
- Completion of a training program that totals 76 hours of practice and instruction. This includes daily homework, a written midterm, and both a written and a practical final exam.
- Completion of 10 continuing education credits each year. Three credits must relate to ethics, and the other seven must relate to peer-to-peer support.
As you can see, peer recovery coaches go through a lot to stay certified and ready to help people in your position. So when you’re choosing a peer recovery specialist, make sure they’re up-to-date on their certification. If you find multiple certified peer support specialists that you like, ask them about what sorts of behavioral health issues they personally have experience dealing with. While your peer recovery coach does not have to live with the same exact struggles that you do, having common ground can be a great place to start.
How to Start Addiction Recovery
Of course, peer recovery coaches come in after addiction recovery, so the first step is to attend a rehabilitation program. If you’re looking for drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Baton Rouge Louisiana, look no further. At Baton Rouge Behavioral Health, we take a holistic and comprehensive approach to addiction recovery that ensures the best recovery outcomes for individuals in our community.
Would you like to learn more about getting started with your new sober life? You can call our respectful and compassionate admissions specialists at 225-300-8470 or ask your questions online. Drug and alcohol addiction recovery is possible, you just have to take the first step!