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There are several key research findings that underscore the need for sustained recovery support services and the potential of the recovery coach’s role.A growing number of studies confirm that addiction recovery: • begins prior to the cessation of drug use; • is marked in its earliest stages by extreme ambivalence; • is influenced by age-, gender-, and culture-mediated change processes; and • involves predictable stages, processes, and levels of change; and that • the factors that maintain recovery are different from the factors that initiate recovery (Waldorf, 1983; Frykholm, 1985; Biernacki, 1986; Grella & Joshi, 1997; Wechsberg, Craddock & Hubbard, 1998; Klingemann, 1991; Di Clemente, Carbonari & Velasquez, 1992; Prochaska, Di Climente & Norcross, 1992; Humphreys, et al., 1995).Considerable effort is underway to answer key questions related to recovery coaching functions (e.g., should these functions be integrated into an existing role or offered within a new service role?) and to determine where in the organization these functions can best be placed (e.g., are recovery support services best integrated within existing addiction treatment programs or within free-standing, peer-based recovery advocacy and support organizations? The piloting of the recovery coach’s role around the country is triggering such questions and comments as: 1) “Why do people need a recovery coach if they have access to a Twelve-Step sponsor? These functions are already being performed by addiction counselors, outreach workers, and case managers.” If it is to survive, a new service role must stake out its distinctive turf and justify its existence, and it must do so in the context of other roles claiming the same or adjoining territory.People specializing in helping those recovering from the acute and chronic effects of addiction are as old as humankind, but these roles have a distinctive history in the United States, dating from the eighteenth century.As alcohol problems arose among Native American tribes and within colonial communities, there also arose abstinence-based social and personal reform movements that contained the first specialized roles whose purpose it was to ignite and sustain the recovery process.Then he appeared as a mentor on American Idol five years ago and told his charges: ‘Remember, it’s a voting competition not a singing competition.’ Noone is full of beans about the tour, saying: ‘I was probably going to be a clerk at the local Nat West.
Quickly developing a specialty in the treatment of alcoholism, the Emmanuel Clinics pioneered the use of lay alcoholism psychotherapists, a sober social club (the Jacoby Club), and the use of “friendly visitors” (established recovering members making home visits with newer members).He was the Justin Bieber of his time with his thick flop of hair, bee-sting lips and an obvious boyish charm. People come up to me and sing all the old songs to my face, although I’m never really sure how to respond to that.’The band secured their first UK No 1 in 1964 with I’m Into Something Good and hit the States a year later where they were the top-selling pop act in 1965.But a kind of hush descends on Peter Noone - formerly of Sixties band Herman’s Hermits - at the comparison. The cherubic looking Noone wasn’t so clean-living back then.‘I remember going to the house of one of the Moody Blues and it was considered this real den of iniquity,’ he says.These findings suggest that the types of needed clinical and non-clinical recovery support services differ across clinical populations, and differ within the same individual across the developmental stages of his or her addiction and recovery careers.The importance of early and sustained recovery support is further indicated by treatment-related studies confirming that: • most people with alcohol- and other drug-related problems do not seek help through mutual aid or professional treatment (Kessler, 1994; Cunningham, 1999; Cunningham & Breslin, 2004); • less than half of those admitted to publicly funded addiction treatment successfully complete treatment (SAMHSA, 2002; Stark, 1992); • more than 50% of individuals discharged from addiction treatment resume alcohol and/or other drug (AOD) use within the following twelve months (Wilbourne & Miller, 2003), most within 30-90 days after discharge (Hubbard, Flynn, Craddock & Fletcher, 2001); • recoveries from severe AOD problems are not fully stabilized (the point at which the risk of future lifetime relapse drops below 15%) until between four and five years of sustained remission (Vaillant, 1996; Dawson, 1996; Jin, Rourke, Patterson, et al., 1998) or longer for some patterns (e.g., opiate addiction) (Hser, Hoffman, Grella & Anglin, 2001); • the transition from recovery initiation to lifelong recovery maintenance is mediated by processes of social support (Jason, Davis, Ferrari & Bishop, 2001; Humphreys, Mankowski, Moos & Finney, 1999); and • assertive approaches to post-treatment continuing care can elevate long-term recovery outcomes in adolescents (Godley, Godley, Dennis, et al., 2002) and adults (Dennis, Scott & Funk, 2003).The new role of the reformed temperance leader challenged the authority of physicians and clergy, who had served as the early leaders of the American temperance movement.Reformed men like John Gough and John Hawkins traveled from community to community giving charismatic speeches, offering personal consultations to alcoholics and their family members, and helping establish local recovery support groups.Many of these groups lost their vitality over time due to restrictive membership criteria (limiting membership “only to drunkards of good repute”) and to the loss of their outreach and community service functions.Competing with these early recovery support groups for ownership of AOD problems were two other groups: the physicians who headed the newly formed inebriate asylums and addiction cure institutes and the lay religious figures who were organizing urban missions and rural inebriate colonies. Crothers, Editor of the Journal of Inebriety, wrote an 1897 editorial attacking the idea that personal experience of addiction was a credential for understanding and treating addiction.‘I wouldn’t have classed myself as an alcoholic, but you have to be sensitive to people’s feelings and be able to do the job on stage, so after that I decided to cut down.I needed to do it for my own sake and haven’t touched a drop for about 16 years.