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From Darkness to Light – Personal Stories of Recovery Coaches

Issue 31

By, Denise Black

Our stories can offer a reflection of the strength and determination of those who have overcome the grip of addiction and entered a life of recovery. Those same stories may offer inspiration, support, and encouragement to those who are still struggling.

As the recovery movement continues to gain momentum locally and nationally, our stories are being told to a variety of audiences. This helps to advance the field of recovery in many ways.

In serving others as recovery coaches, we act as a bridge to resources and provide mentoring, resource navigation, and general support to individuals as they move through their recovery journey. And perhaps most importantly, we offer support, hope, and optimism that recovery is possible.

As recovery coaches, our lived experiences and stories play a role in why and how we help others. Our personal stories and experiences with substance use disorder, either personally or as an affected other, have shaped who we are and how we have moved from darkness to light. This month will highlight the stories of two recovery coaches.

From Bill

The initial reason I became a recovery coach was I wanted a way to serve my community after leaving EMS due to a long-term injury. I was looking for a new identity. While taking the Recovery Coach Academy, it became clear that I had the opportunity to impact other’s lives. I had the chance to take what I’d always thought of as a very dark time in my life and use it for good.

I can take my experiences and use them to show someone else that they could do it too. I truly love what I do, probably more so than just about any “job” I’ve had before. Watching someone climb out of the depths of substance use and begin to live again is beyond explanation. The rebirth, the growth, the reconnections with family they thought they’d lost, second to none. This is why I do what I do.

From Kristen

Throughout my recovery journey, I have faced the stigma, shame, and bias that continues to exist in our society for people living with substance use disorder—the feelings of being alone and disconnected. I was also fortunate enough to experience genuine empathy and compassion; people who held hope for me when I couldn’t find it for myself. Everyone should be allowed to be seen, valued, and listened to.

As a peer recovery coach, I believe in the power of connection. Each person I connect with is unique; their life story is still being written. We create a safe space together, building a foundation of trust and understanding. Through active listening and motivational interviewing, I gain insight into their self-identified strengths and goals. I encourage self-empowerment as they navigate their chosen paths while offering motivation and resources. It’s my privilege to meet people where they’re at on their recovery journey and a true honor to walk beside them.

Healthy Acadia
Healthy Acadiahttps://healthyacadia.org/
Healthy Acadia is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works on a broad range of community health initiatives that help Hancock and Washington counties thrive. Since 2001, they have worked to identify priority health needs and to address root causes. They convene and facilitate numerous collaborative community efforts with shared leadership from many sectors to develop plans and take action to improve health and well-being and to rapidly respond to critical and emergent health needs in our communities. The scope of Healthy Acadia's work encompasses six areas: Strong Beginnings to support healthy development and resilience from birth to adulthood; Healthy Food for All to ensure that all people have access to nutritious, affordable food, and to make the healthy choice the easy choice; Active and Healthy Environments to ensure that our indoor and outdoor spaces are safe, healthy, and promote physical activity and wellness; Healthy Aging to ensure that all of us can age well — with strength, dignity, comfort, and grace; Substance Prevention and Recovery to support people of all ages to live lives free of substance misuse and substance use disorder, and to support individuals throughout their recovery journey; and Health Promotion and Management to improve community supports across a wide range of health needs, from cancer patient navigation and stress reduction to barrier removal for health challenges and chronic disease and pain self-management.

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