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No one completes an addiction treatment program thinking they are going to relapse. However, recovery is challenging, and up to 60 percent of people relapse. Working with a recovery coach can increase your chances of lifelong recovery.

But what is a recovery coach? And what does a recovery coach do? Get these answers and learn how Casco Bay uses recovery coaches as part of its comprehensive addiction treatment programs to overcome the challenges of early sobriety.

What are Some Challenges of Early Sobriety?

When someone starts thinking about quitting drugs and alcohol, they might think that recovery is only about not using those substances anymore. They might believe that if they can avoid drinking or using drugs, then they will be okay.

However, they will soon find out that recovery is more complicated than that. There are many challenges that they might not expect, and some of the hardest challenges come from their own thoughts and feelings. Here are some common challenges people face during their first year of recovery from addiction.

Difficult Emotions

Staying sober can be easy for some people when everything in life is going well and they feel happy. Sadly, this carefree state doesn’t last forever. Problems arise, bad things happen, and sometimes we feel terrible without reason.

Coping with difficult emotions is one of the most significant challenges in recovery because drugs and alcohol are often used to manage these feelings. Stress is the primary culprit, but shame, anger, grief, sadness, and anxiety can be significant obstacles too. A crucial part of addiction recovery is managing stress and coping with challenging emotions effectively.


When recovering from addiction, you may know that cravings will be an issue since you experience them often during active addiction. However, dealing with cravings while staying sober is a new challenge. This is because cravings can feel like a command that’s tough to ignore.

To cope with cravings, you need to use multiple strategies. You should identify and avoid triggers that make you want to use, use behavioral strategies to resist the urge to use, and use emotional regulation techniques like a distraction, “surfing” the craving, and staying in the present moment.

Relationship Trouble

Addiction can harm your health and career, but your relationships usually suffer the most. Substance use can quickly lead to dishonest behavior, which damages trust in a relationship. Your focus becomes drugs and alcohol, and you may neglect your responsibilities to your loved ones. You might even lie to them and steal from them to fuel your addiction.

Drugs and alcohol can impair your judgment, causing more fights and escalating them faster. This can lead to a whole host of other problems. However, having social support is one of the most important things for recovery. Many people in recovery reflect on their damaged relationships and wonder which ones can be repaired.

Money Problems

Addiction is tough on your finances after relationships. Drugs and alcohol are expensive, and some drugs cost a lot more than others. But other expenses can be even more crippling. These expenses include high-interest debts, legal and medical costs, and lost income.

It can be disheartening to come out of treatment feeling like you’ve made progress in turning your life around, only to realize that your finances are a mess. This can add to the stress that was mentioned earlier. Overcoming these financial problems is possible, and it’s easier to do when you’re sober, but it will take time.


When starting recovery, people often face a dilemma: they know that spending time with old friends who drink and use drugs may cause them to relapse, but they haven’t made new friends yet and can feel lonely. Loneliness can be challenging because it can lead to boredom, depression, and anxiety, which are not helpful for recovery.

As mentioned earlier, social connection is essential for recovery, so loneliness should not be ignored. Making friends within your recovery community is the best way to deal with loneliness. These friends can be people you went through treatment with or people from your 12-Step group. They are people you see regularly, understand what you’ve been through, and share your commitment to sobriety.


Boredom can be a big challenge in recovery, which may come as a surprise to some. This is because drugs and alcohol consume a lot of time and energy from obtaining them to using them. Once someone quits, they suddenly have a lot of free time and don’t know how to fill it.

Additionally, addiction can change the brain, making drugs and alcohol seem much more exciting than other activities. Even things they once enjoyed might not seem as interesting anymore. Coping with this requires strategies and patience while adjusting to sober living.

Mental Health Issues

Most people with substance use disorders also have co-occurring mental health problems. A comprehensive treatment program will address both issues to ensure a successful and lasting recovery.

However, mental health issues may become more apparent for those who try to get sober on their own or through support groups like AA or NA. In these cases, therapy may be necessary to fully address the issues and maintain sobriety in the long term.

Transitioning Home

Going back to everyday life after leaving a treatment facility can be tough. Treatment facilities provide a lot of structure and support, while daily life outside can be chaotic and unpredictable. Coping with issues in the controlled environment of a treatment facility is different from coping in real life.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a transitional plan in place. This might involve moving to a lower level of care, such as an intensive outpatient program or a sober living environment, or getting transitional services to help you adjust to the challenges of everyday life.


It’s important to remember that addiction is a chronic disease, and relapse is quite common. A relapse can be risky and discouraging, making you feel like you’ve wasted time and money and let down everyone who cares about you. You might feel like giving up altogether.

However, a relapse doesn’t have to mean permanent failure. Many people recover after multiple attempts. The key is to reduce the harm and get back on track as soon as possible. This is when what does a recovery coach do comes into play.

What is the Role of a Recovery Coach?

what is a recovery coach Maintaining sobriety after addiction treatment can be daunting and may put your recovery at risk. In such cases, a recovery coach can be a valuable resource for helping you navigate difficult situations that could potentially trigger a relapse. A recovery coach can provide a range of services to support you, including:

  • Connect with you regularly to discuss your progress and challenges, giving encouragement and support along the way
  • Help you find local 12-step meetings or other support groups that align with your goals and preferences
  • Connect you with mental health professionals, such as therapists or psychiatrists, to help you address any co-occurring mental health issues contributing to your addiction or making your recovery more difficult.
  • Provide information and resources for family support programs, which can be an essential source of encouragement and motivation during your recovery journey.
  • If 12-step programs aren’t a good fit for you, your recovery coach can discuss alternative recovery programs and resources that meet your needs.
  • Find online support groups and resources that can provide ongoing support and motivation.

In addition to helping you find community services and support groups, your recovery coach can also help you explore lifestyle changes to support your recovery journey. This may include recommendations for athletic activities, fitness classes, or classes in yoga or meditation, which can help you feel physically and mentally healthier.

Ultimately, the goal of a recovery coach is to provide personalized support that helps you stay on track with your recovery goals and build a fulfilling, sober life.

What is the Difference Between Sponsors and Coaches?

what does a recovery coach do A sponsor and a recovery coach are both valuable resources for people in recovery, but they have some important differences.

A sponsor has usually been sober longer and has experience with the 12-step program. They mentor their sponsee, offering guidance and support as the sponsee works through the steps of recovery.

The relationship between a sponsor and a sponsee is typically informal and based on mutual trust and respect. Sponsors often have a personal relationship with their sponsees and may meet with them regularly to discuss their struggles and progress in recovery.

In that case, what is a recovery coach? A recovery coach is a trained professional who supports and guides people in recovery. Recovery coaches may work with clients one-on-one or in groups, and their role is to help clients develop and implement a plan for achieving and maintaining sobriety.

What does a recovery coach do? Recovery coaches may help clients set goals, develop coping strategies, and navigate the challenges of early recovery. Unlike sponsors, recovery coaches are typically paid for their services, and their relationship with clients is more formal.

While both sponsors and recovery coaches provide support and guidance to people in recovery, the main difference is their training and professional status. A sponsor is usually a fellow member of a 12-step program, while a recovery coach is a trained professional who provides services for a fee.

Casco Bay Offers Recovery Coaching as Part of its Recovery Services

role of recovery coach At Casco Bay Recovery, we offer recovery coach services as part of our recovery services to support individuals who are struggling with substance use disorder or addiction. Our recovery coaches are trained professionals who work with clients to help them achieve and maintain long-term recovery.

Our recovery coaches provide personalized one-on-one support to clients, helping them develop a plan for achieving their recovery goals. They work with clients to identify their strengths, resources, and barriers to recovery and provide guidance and support throughout the recovery process. They may also connect clients to community resources and support groups and help them navigate the challenges of early recovery.

Our recovery coaches also work closely with other treatment team members, including therapists and medical professionals, to provide comprehensive care and support for clients. They may also collaborate with family members and loved ones to provide education and support around addiction and recovery.

Our recovery coach services are essential to our recovery services, providing clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve and maintain life-long recovery.

Get Support for Your Recovery Journey at Casco Bay Recovery

how recovery coach can help Have you completed an addiction treatment program and still struggling to stay sober? Do you want to stop using drugs or alcohol but are unsure how? Our recovery coaches walk through each recovery step with you and help create your individualized treatment plan. Contact us today to learn more.