Coaching and Mentorship - A support approach to battling addiction
Addiction takes many forms, but drug and alcohol addiction lead the pack. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our health bill is $740 billion annually due to abuse of alcohol and drugs. So, what is an addiction and how can a coaching and mentorship approach?
Addiction is the physical and psychological compulsion to engage in behaviors or consume substances to such a capacity that it is bad for health. Addiction to drugs, particularly to opiates such as heroin is so powerful that a user will often resort to criminal and unethical behaviour to get their next fix. The result of such actions can be detrimental to an addict's support system including their family and friends. Isolation and estrangement from loved ones are some of the most significant battles that an addict can face, because, without a secure support network, it is challenging to stay abstinent. Therefore, coaching and mentorship can be powerful tools used to fight addiction as they provide a dependent person with the support they so desperately need.
There are many different sources of mentorship that an addict can avail of, and one of the most famous is the 12-step program utilized by Alcoholics Anonymous. Having a coach or mentor on hand is so powerful as it aids the addict to stay on track. There is a sense of accountability by reporting progress to a person that has an invested interest in a one's healing.
Coaching is powerful for addiction recovery as a great coach will address both the psychological and emotional issues that form the foundations of addiction. Once they identify these problems, they will then carefully develop tools that a user can practice in real life to help them improve and ultimately abstain. Coaches are non-judgemental and understand the struggles of addiction such as repeat relapse. They are so actively involved in the life of the addict that it is hard for them to feel alone, or without support.
A report on the Institute of Health website cites many reasons why peer support and mentorship is beneficial to addiction patients. Results from a study that the Institute reported on noted benefits in areas including treatment engagement, substance use and secondary substance-related behaviours. Astounding findings were that addiction sufferers were three times more likely to attend their outpatient substance abuse programs when working with a mentor. Similarly, there was a higher incidence of program completion amongst those receiving support from a coach or mentor.
Peer mentoring can be a positive tool for drug and alcohol dependents. A dependent person can find comfort in having a reformed addict play the role of their mentor. There is also an inspiration to be gained in taking guidance from a person who has successfully battled their demons. Working with a mentor can give an addiction sufferer they self-belief that they too can beat their dependency issues.
While addiction coaches will not be able to solve all of a patient's dependency problems, they can provide invaluable support and advice. If you are suffering from addiction problems, it is worth giving coaching and mentorship a try.