Recovery Coaching is a very significant part of my coaching practice because of the critical nature of it. Marriages, careers and even lives are at stake. So far, I have worked with folks who struggle with alcohol, chemicals and pornography. Each has its own unique challenges.
Alcohol is readily available and legal. It is also the most widely acceptable substance to use and abuse. In the high school and college years, the abuse of alcohol is something of a rite of passage esopecailly for young men. The ability to "hold your liqour" is a mark of manhood. The isidious part is how easily and subtly one slips over the line from social drinking into problem drinking aka alcoholism. As with all addicitve behaviors the critical issue is the inability to stop. Lots of people think they can stop any time. And then they try.
Chemical addiction is a bit more tricky due to the variety of legal and illegal substances that can be abused. Detection is often difficult for family members. But the bottom line does not change. It is the inability to stop using that defines addiction.
Pornography is a blight on the world. It is readily available, private, anonymous, and for many all consuming. Recent functunal brain scanning research has revealed that the effect of pornography on the brain is disturbingly similar to that of heroin and the dependency no less real for being produced by the brain itself. It's activation of the pleasure centers of the brain is typically reinforced by the effects of masturbation. To further complicate matters it carries with it a strong sense of infidelity. The unsuspecting spouse often feels that the pornography addict has been having a kind of affair. Their feelings of betrayal make little distinction between cyber infidelity and a real life affair. I often begin work with the sexually addicted by asking them to adhere to the measure of sobriety advocated by Sexaholics Anonymous, no sex with yourself or anyone other than your spouse. The measure of their dependency will make itself known pretty quickly.
This is both the most rewarding and disappointing work I do. Every new client is given a evaluation interview. The purpose of this interview is to help me determine whether they are ready to be sober or just coming in to get a spouse or parent off their back. The key phrase I look for is some variation of "and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get free of this." The addict must be convinced that if they act out again they will die. This can be physical death or the death of a significant relationship. Either way a certain desperation is a key component to recovery.
The course of recovery coaching can run a year or more. Where traditional coaching involves getting together once or twice a month recovery coaching adds to this daily accountability/check in phone calls. Recovery is taken in 24 hour increments i.e. "one day at a time". Sometimes it needs to be broken into even shorter increments. I have seen it down to a matter of minutes at at time. It turns on a commitment to do "whatever it takes" to say clean and sober.
Like I said, This is the most rewarding, frustrating work I do. It is also the most important work I do. It has become my life's passion and calling. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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