Article: What is a Recovery Coach?

You’ve been hearing about them. You’ve seen them hanging out at the Recovery Center and your friend’s sister’s partner is one! That’s right! Recovery Coaches are more and more common. In Massachusetts, they are everywhere. It’s a beautiful thing! Yet, some amount of mystery remains…What is a Recovery Coach and what do they REALLY do?
There are many misconceptions about Recovery Coaches: “I already have a Sponsor”; “I stopped two years ago, so I’m good”; “Recovery Coaches take people to meetings and get their medication.” With all of the hearsay, how is one supposed to REALLY know? 

So here goes: A Recovery Coach is an individual who has lived experience with addiction as well as recovery. They support individuals in exploring what recovery means to them and then walk alongside them, removing barriers to recovery and providing stage-appropriate information to help the individual reach their desired goal(s).

In terms of training, Recovery Coaches start by taking a 30-hour training focused on key concepts of recovery, advocacy, building relationships, ethics, and cultural considerations. Next, they complete 30 hours of additional trainings, 500 peer-supervised work hours, and a multiple question examination in order to become certified in the state. 

“[Recovery Coaches] support individuals in exploring what recovery means to them and then walk alongside them, removing barriers to recovery…”

Recovery Coaches Coach Recovery. They help people find the best route (as identified by the individual) in order to go from point A to point B. Recovery Coaches employ a recovery-oriented approach, which is person-centered, strengths-based, and trauma-informed. They also work holistically, taking into account the whole individual. Mental, physical, intellectual, occupational, relational, environmental, financial and spiritual wellness all come into play. It’s not just about alcohol and other drugs. 

Recovery Coaches delve into working with individuals on their recovery capital, the assets that help one obtain, maintain, sustain, and grow their recovery. Recovery capital may include awareness, willingness, transportation, your loved one(s), or your pet turtle! These internal and external resources are the foundation on which the support of a Recovery Coach builds.

Remember. It is the recoveree’s recovery, not the coach’s. Hence we focus on the verb, to coach. We support individuals as they develop and implement new learnings, re-discover, and connect with themselves.

You can connect with a Recovery Coach by calling the BSAS HelpLine at 800-327-5050. They can guide you to someone in your community, anywhere in the state of MA. You can then ask about their coaching philosophies and see if they’re a good fit for you. After speaking with them for a little bit, you may find them asking you one simple question, “What does Recovery mean to YOU?


Peer Consultant, MGH COE
Director of Recovery Support Services, Choice Recovery Coaching Inc.