The word “recovery” often conjures up images of struggling to abstain from an addictive behavior, be it drinking, using drugs, shopping, gambling, overeating or severely restricting eating, exercising to excess, promiscuity, etc. But, I want to challenge you to start thinking about Recovery Coaching as a way to prevent the re-occurrence of addictive and disordered behaviors, not just recover from them. Recovery Coaching is a great source of guidance and support to prevent a spiraling decline into escalating negative and harmful behaviors – even when these behaviors were originally healthy and were motivated by the desire to “relieve stress,” “get physically fit,” “exercise more,” and/or “eat healthier.”

Recovery Coaching is preventative in many ways because it helps individuals figure out what their underlying motivations are and whether or not these are based on health and accepting and loving oneself, or, if they have a darker side. Recovery Coaching can prevent a lifetime of being a slave to self-defeating, self-limiting, and self-destructive thought patterns. Through an unconditional coaching relationship one can gain self awareness, identify beliefs that no longer “fit,” be held accountable for following through on healthy actions and action steps for goal attainment, and brainstorm solutions for overcoming obstacles (both internal and external).

Recovery is about coping with urges to engage in unhealthy behaviors (regardless of what form those behaviors come in) – and the best way to do this is to be proactive and to think in terms of prevention of relapses. A solid relationship with a Recovery Coach that's built on honesty and trust can be the cornerstone of preventing a lapse from turning into a relapse. Having a nonjudgmental and knowledgeable Recovery Coach, who's not afraid to confront you and give you a little “tough love” when needed, can be the difference between succeeding and giving up. They can help you to identify and manage problematic thoughts and feelings, do a cost and benefits analysis (CBA) of your behavior, and figure out how to live a balanced life that works for you.

Everyone's circumstances, pre-determining factors, beliefs, and preferences are unique. So should be their paths to recovery and finding a healthy lifestyle that's viable for long term maintenance, not one based on short-term relief. Discovering this personal path to empowerment and life fitness is informed by rational, emotive, and behavioral factors. A lot of “bad habits,” “addictive behaviors,” and problematic coping or “using strategies” are developed in response to feelings of discomfort (anxiety, depression, low self esteem, anger, poor body image, maladaptive perfectionism, etc.). The goal of Recovery Coaching is to help individuals figure out how best to overcome their current personal challenges by developing a game plan for dealing with them. To learn healthy strategies to deal with what's on their plate now, and what might get dropped on their plate in the future. And, to decipher what works for them and what doesn't, gaining valuable insight and wisdom in the process.

Building tolerance for discomfort, finding better ways to manage strong emotions, and setting goals that address physical, mental, and emotional fitness are all part of the recipe for Recovery success and the prevention of a re-emergence of negative and self-destructive thoughts and behaviors. A recovery coach can point out discrepancies between what you “say” you want and what your actions are showing as your highest priorities. To obtain more than the outward appearance of life fitness, you need to match your behavior with your values, adjusting and balancing your priorities to fit with your vision of a happy and successful life. For instance, if you identify your relationship as your highest priority, but then spend all your free time engaging in your “using strategy,” then you're living an inauthentic life that's undermining what you truly value. Recovery Coaching can help you gain perspective, re-balance your priorities and set your goals accordingly.

In essence, investing in Recovery Coaching is a cost effective way of preventing you from staying stuck in a negative behavioral pattern or spiraling even further into one and systematically destroying your dreams for a happier and healthier life that includes satisfying relationships with others. Ultimately, your behavior affects not just you and your life, but it also affects the people you care about – it's up to you whether this affect is positive or negative. If you're questioning the “cost effective” part, consider this, what is it costing you to not make changes? If you fast forward 5 years, what will your life look like if you don't change its trajectory? Choosing to make healthy changes now is one of the very best investments you can make in your future.

Look at Recovery Coaching as prevention against:

increased physical, mental and/or emotional harm caused by self-destructive coping strategies;
the deterioration and/or demise of your relationships;
a negative impact on your job;
remaining “stuck” in a negative cycle that prevents successful goal attainment; and,
the loss of your dreams.

Do you still think that Recovery Coaching is too expensive?

Author's Bio: 

Stephanie Eissinger is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, Certified Professional Coach, and Self Help book author. She has spent her professional career empowering individuals to overcome life's challenges and live happier, healthier lives. Some of her self help books include: "Journey To Self Empowerment: Increase Self Esteem & Self Confidence," "The Fitness Goal Triad: How to Successfully Reach Your Fitness Goals," "Stress Management: 40 Tips For De-Cluttering Your Inner Closet," and "How To 'Rock' Your Body Image."