Opiate addicts can have many set backs while in recovery. Getting clean from opiates is a rough process, especially during early recovery. The cravings are still there, so it's important to have a great support system around you. The damage opiates cause to your cognitive abilities greatly affects the early stages of recovery. Short-term memory loss is a common side effect from heavy opiate abuse. At working rehabs, (which are places where recovering addicts or alcoholics can work to earn their food and treatment) it's quite common for the addicts in the beginning to have hard times staying on task. Many have trouble focusing or remembering certain aspects of the job they have been given. The usual way of handling a recovering addicts set back is to pull them out of work and start them over in their treatment. This can be be very discouraging to a recent recovering addict whose brain and body are still acclimating to their sobriety.
Instead of a recovering addict having set backs, rehabilitation centers have started to implement a new kind of worker called a "Recovery Coach". The Recovery Coach is not a counselor. They are a motivator and someone who works alongside the people in recovery. They provide positive reinforcement and are a person the recovering addict can go to for guidance and help.
Most hired Recovery Coaches were once addicts themselves and know the process of recovery. By hiring recovering addicts, it provides a sense of comfort for the person who needs help. They know that their Coach has been through the same process they are going through. The Coaches understand the ups and downs and how their emotions are, but most importantly can relate to the addict. The comfort of knowing that the coach has lived through recovery themselves and not just read or studied about it is priceless for a recovering addict.
I hope to see more rehabs adding Recovery Coaches to their facilities. The impact that a Recovery Coach can have on the life of an addict in early recovery can be extremely beneficial. Sometimes a new recovering addict just needs a little "push" to keep on going. They might need slight reminders to stay on the path of sobriety. Things can change so quickly with a recovering addict, and the Recovery Coach helps them to stay focused on the larger picture of staying clean. Having Recovery Coaches working alongside recovering addicts provides a sense of friendship, understanding and most importantly acceptance.. They can look up to them as a mentor and can aspire to be where the Recovery Coach is today. It gives addicts in recovery who don't have much going for them, something to earn and look forward to. Their Recovery Coach can guide them, and show them that change is not only possible, but it's achievable and that the reward of sobriety is a gift that they can one day share with others. I hope to see more Recovery Coaches and more changes to help those addicted.