Home / Resources / Blog / What Is A Recovery Coach?

What Is A Recovery Coach?


woman struggling with addiction being supported

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

For a person living with substance abuse, there are many pathways to recovery. Everyone is unique, so what worked for someone else may not work for them. Sharing with peers who are also living with addiction has long been a way to guide, encourage, and support those in recovery. However, it’s beneficial to have a recovery coach as well. This person serves as a personal guide for anyone seeking to manage their addiction.

What is Recovery Coaching?

Recovery coaching offers monitoring and accountability for someone in recovery. The Hazelden Betty Ford’s Butler Center for Research found that people who took advantage of recovery coaching increased their average abstinence rate by 82%.

Recovery coaching can help anyone with drug or alcohol addiction issues, but it can be especially beneficial for:

  • Someone who has been through treatment multiple times
  • Anyone facing the loss of a professional license
  • A person who is struggling with legal issues or custody matters
  • Young people planning to return to college
  • Or an individual that needs additional accountability

It is important to remember that a recovery coach is not a therapist. Their role is to assist a person in recovery with the more practical aspects of living a sober life. That being said, the most important assets a recovery coach must possess are empathy and compassion.

What Do Recovery Coaches Do?

Unlike the support of family, friends, or peers, a recovery coach is solely focused on promoting an individual’s recovery and removing any barriers to that goal. These individuals have been trained to guide, mentor, and support anyone seeking long-term recovery from substance misuse.

Their role differs from that of a therapist. Where a therapist focuses on mental health concerns, a recovery coach can help a person implement any homework a therapist asks the individual to do between sessions. A recovery coach may also support whatever emotional work is done in therapy. Someone dealing with more intensive mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, or trauma may also need to seek the services of a therapist.

A recovery coach’s support comes in four primary forms:

  1. Emotional
  2. Informational
  3. Instrumental
  4. Affiliational

Emotional support involves providing those in recovery with empathy and concern. The informational role includes offering connections and referrals to resources that will support the wellness of the person in recovery. The instrumental aspect centers on the concrete assistance a recovery coach provides in terms of locating housing or employment that someone in recovery may need. Finally, affliational support comprises the connections a recovery coach gives to activities or other groups in the community that can assist someone in recovery.

Benefits of Having a Recovery Coach

A recovery coach is not required for someone to achieve long-term recovery, but they can assist the person in many ways. For instance, a recovery coach may help someone avoid relapse. While relapse is considered a regular part of recovery, thanks to a recovery coach, it may not have to be. A recovery coach helps teach those with substance issues what their triggers are to better avoid or manage them. And should a relapse occur, a recovery coach may be able to shorten its length and help the person return to their sober path more quickly.

Another benefit of a recovery coach is the accountability they provide. These individuals expect to hear from their mentees regularly. This expectation sidesteps any concern someone in recovery may have about reaching out to friends or family with their struggles. A recovery coach won’t feel burdened by a call, nor will they judge someone. The expectation is the person in recovery will be honest and open with their recovery coach, so they can work together to adjust the recovery plan as needed.

Finally, many recovery coaches have walked the path to a sober life. They understand what their mentee is going through, and they possess the knowledge and tools to guide them forward in their recovery. Not only can they give the individual insight into the issues they will face in their recovery, but they can also identify the main obstacles that may hold the person back. Then a recovery coach will share the tools and skills that will help.

Building on a belief that spiritual development and healthy recovery can bring inner peace to clients overcoming addiction and substance abuse, Into Action Recovery Centers takes a people-centered approach to addiction treatment. The center is conveniently located in Houston, Texas, and is led by experienced master’s level counselors and medical professionals who specialize in personalized treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.


Dr. Mohammed Saeed, MD.

Dr. Saeed is a psychiatry specialist with over 40 years of experience in the medical field. He received training in General Psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where he was selected as the Medical Director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He currently serves as the medical director at Into Action Recovery Centers. Full Bio

You Might Also Like: