Recovery Coaching/Integrating Recovery and Clinical

2013 Collaborative Session Notes 

Integrating Alumni & Clinical Services

Conveners: Tim McLeod, Sierra Tucson  [email protected]

Carver Brown, Pine Grove  [email protected]

Scribe: Felicia Kleinpeter, St. Christopher’s [email protected]


Sabrina Mathis, Foundations Recovery Network

Jason Wahler, Northbound

Keenen Diamond, Northbound

Donna Schwartz, Valley Hope

Bill Kinloch, The Refuge

Cecile Callis, Pavillon

Kacy Marion, Origins Recovery Center

Sherri Layton, La Hacienda Treatment Center


If you are met with staff resistance, explain how alumni/alumni services team can take work/clients off their hands for a period of time.

– Back to Basics

– Workshops

– Alumni Q & A


Encourage staff by soliciting comments from alumni

– which staff helped them and made a difference


Create a list of alumni who would be willing to connect with callers in need of support. Match alumni with callers


– Service oriented piece can result in revenue.

– Tie bonuses into satisfaction surveys, not revenue

– Clients are not commodities!


Pine Grove Alumni Program

Met with each director, then the clinical team separately

Presented the big plan to the top person only

Problem solve on the front end for each arm of the facility

Then wrote exact language back into the business plan


Days of Hope

– Alumni and families come back 5 times a year for 2 days.

– It’s free for the rest of their lives.

– Solidify recovery, assist in groups, and demonstrate what it’s like to be an alumnus.

– Alumni come back to see the staff and hang out with patients

– Happens on a Thursday/Friday

No weekends so that clinical staff members can participate and not lose their weekend


Valley Hope

“Renewal Day”

– Hold once per month

– Process groups/alumni groups

– At 1 year, wear a medallion

Coffee Cups

– Graduation explain the process and that the decorated cups are hanging on the wall for them

– If they remain sober for 1 year, they can come back and get their coffee cup

– tie a black ribbon on the handle of the cup for anyone lost that year from using

– tie a green ribbon on the handle for anyone who died sober

* Make alumni support part of treatment experience



– “Alumni World” – gives alumni space, food and let them create. Facilitate activities (paint ball, fishing, sailing, etc.) but let alumni create the program.

– Invite clinical team – free fun for them and connects them with alumni

– Utilize alumni for service work – soup kitchen, mission, etc.

INCLUSIVITY — Include other centers alumni into the program!

– They are like-minded people in recovery

2013 Collaborative Session Notes 


Scribe: Sabrina Mathis, Foundations  [email protected]


Jacob Goldberg , St Christopher’s Addiction Wellness

Vickie Bing, Benchmark Center

Ross Martin, Focus Healthcare of TN

Lauren White, Pine Grove

Melissa Garrison, Rosecrance


– Meet 4 times during treatment – 1 meeting per week

o Get to know you session with each week getting progressively deeper

o “Recovery Groups”

– Program starts at the residential level – not done while patient is in detox

– Staff are called Alumni Specialist

– Follow up calls 6 times a year


What A New Path does:

A New Path is a 6 month program

– Teaches Life Skills Training that includes

o Budget

  • Debt/Credit / How to repair damage done

o Goal Mapping

o Balance

  • How do I achieve
  • Have color coordinated calendar
  • Map out their day/week at a glance

o Career Development

  • Resume building
  • Job interview skills
  • How to network
  • Mock interview

o Testing – skills and identity

o Exercise and Fitness

o Nutrition and Healthy Diet

  • Cooking / Grocery Shopping

o Time Management

o Communication

o Cleaning/House Keeping

Spring 2015 Collaborative Session Notes

Recovery Coaching Inside a Treatment Center

Convener: See below in BOLD

Scribe: Bill Kinloch, The Refuge, [email protected]


Brantley, Ami Lakeview [email protected]
Cape, Laurie The Bridge to Recovery [email protected]
Cox, Mitch Focus [email protected]
Foster, Chris American Addiction Centers [email protected]
Gordan, Becky A New Path [email protected]
Haggerty, Kevin The Ranch [email protected]
Hall, William Cornerstone Recovery Center [email protected]
Heller, Nichole Beachway Therapy Center [email protected]
Kinloch, Bill The Refuge [email protected]
Lynch, Chris American Addiction Centers [email protected]
Miller, Ryan Futures [email protected]
Obernauer, Lorie LO Group, Inc. [email protected]
O’Neil, Cara Hanley Center at Origins [email protected]
O’Shea, Chris The Journey Home [email protected]
Rosay, Stacy CCAR [email protected]
Smith, Melissa Serenity Now [email protected]
Stannard, Elizabeth Hazelden/Betty Ford [email protected]
Wood, Courtney Westbridge [email protected]
Zaccour, Karen Lakeview [email protected]


List 3 (or more) important ideas offered by the convener.

  1. Bring Recovery Coaching techniques to large alumni groups
  2. Use the tools for client advocacy
  3. Impactful/fun games AND teach connection, teamwork and asking for help

List 3 (or more) great ideas offered by the participants.

  1. Get the CCAR Training whether you are going to be a recovery coach or not
  2. Help the clients with life skills while on property
  3. Implement the new coaching program and teach clinicians so all are on board with empowering the clients

List 3 (or more) questions or outstanding issues about the topic that everyone wants to know more about.

  1. Games and topics to take clients through
  2. Leading large groups and how to keep them engaged
  3. Where do you get the training?


Other things discussed:

Build relationships with patients while in treatment with one on ones.

Meet people where they are.

Ok to disclose your own story.

Intervene on people wanting to leave AMA.

Ask motivating questions, commiserate and engage.

Clients make the choices, coaches offer choices.

Discover the skills and knowledge they bring to the table.

Become their ally/collaborator.

Make groups of 30-40 and let the group lead the discussion.

Ask them what’s working and what’s not.

2015 Fall Collaborative Session Notes

 Clinical Interference with the 12 Step Process

Convener: Ami Brantley, Lakeview [email protected]


Clients only goes through 1/2/3 in treatment.


They are not given the Big Book and must purchase them if they want one.

They are encouraged to get a sponsor – have a good amount of alumni to sponsor the women

  • A certain girl has come to treatment about 8 times.
  • This time, she was very willing and committed to a sponsor
  • Her therapist said no to having a sponsor and she lost her drive
  • Therapist said sponsor shouldn’t be another alum
  • Therapist is not on board with step process


How do you encourage someone in the 12-step process when clinical under-minds you?


Current rules:  Need 1 year sobriety to sponsor, 2 years sobriety to come back to share at meetings

  • Do Back to Basics group with clinicians
  • Need boundaries for the clinicians
  • Clinicians need educations, how do I help them understand?


A treatment center works effectively when the departments are separated with duties

Re-define your specific roles

  • A bunch of new clinicians -> clinicians don’t understand what the alumni program does


Participate in New Hire Orientation

  • Training with Back To Basics
  • Possibly doing Back to Basics with clients


12-Steps has to be the foundation of all of our things


Clinicians are handing out 12 step work, alumni should be involved in all the 12 step process


Host Alumni Big Book study every week.

Have 10 meetings a week


Do you have the man power in Alumni to take over all 12 step stuff

  • Many clients
  • Big groups and not enough time


Incorporate Recovery Coaching

  • Do you have time to meet with clients individually
  • Need to fit more time for 12 step in schedule

Alumni are coming onto campus on a regular basis – following all rules and HIPAA compliant


How do we know if clients are getting quality sponsors when getting phone numbers from outside meetings?


Have meetings with clinicians & all non-12 step people that are mandatory optional

  • Explain the importance of the 12-step process and that we are the experts
  • Alumni program needs to be in the clients experience throughout the treatment program

2015 Fall Collaborative Notes

Recovery Coaching

Conveners: Lorie Obernauer, LO Group  [email protected]

Carver Brown, Pine Grove  [email protected]

Scribe:  Sabrina Mathis, Foundations  [email protected]


Chris Gates, MAP  [email protected]

Heidi Chaffee, Sunspire Astoria Pointe  [email protected]

Missy Garrison, Rosecrance  [email protected]

Kaitlin Pickrel, Foundations  [email protected]

Wally Paton  [email protected]

Howard Bryant, CeDAR  [email protected]

Laura Niedringhaus, Beacon House  [email protected]

Jaime Gibbons, Cumberland House  [email protected]

Kristen Smith, A New Path  [email protected]

Brenda Capizzi, Mesa House  [email protected]


Differences between a Coach, Sponsor and Therapist

Very important to differentiate these three positions.


Carver and Lorie attended a training session in Connecticut sponsored by CCAR

Peer Recovery Coaching

  • Trained on how to become peer recovery coaches
  • Also how to train others to become peer recovery coaches


Exercise that they did actually struck them as a great piece to do with others.

3 Ways you can be treated in relationships

Think of times in your life when you have been treated as an object/felt like you were treated as an object.

Example:  not empowered, no decision making authority of your own, no input in progress you will make.

Carver: at a “jitter” joint place, sort of treatment facility once and was told where was going, the decisions to be made with no input.

Personally – belief system developing within family.  Father was a marine, alcoholic, southern Baptist.  Very rigid family belief system – dictated down to them.  Felt like a little marine, no vote or input to anything.

Michael:  When he was a drug dealer.  When friends were out of drugs, it didn’t matter the time or place, they would contact for their next supply.  Michael didn’t like the feeling of being in the position of being used/disrespected even though he had been in the position before.

Laura:  When she was an athlete and played volleyball competitively – if you didn’t perform, then was not being the object of attention.  Dad had a terrible temper, alcoholic.   In the long run affected ability to perform, self-confidence and feelings.  When she couldn’t perform anymore then when it was over then realized exactly how lost she was.

Kristen:  Got sober and worked at La Hacienda and was very much truly devoted to the place.  Boss quit and went away, almost like overnight disappeared.  Kristen wanted to step in and take the opportunity to problem solve and help.  Was told to go back to Houston and not worry because “we got this.”  Felt even more devastated, like she was not validated, had no voice, had lost her team spirit, felt isolated and lost self-esteem.


Think of time when somebody has treated you as a recipient -helped us with best interest in mind.

Lorie:  Had a friend she confided in and when she would have a problem then she would tell her all the details and just want her to listen.  The friend would listen and then she would matter of fact tell her what to do.  It was not that her ideas where not good…but it made Lorie feel small, less important.  Had mixed feelings that she should be grateful but then be pissed because the friend really wasn’t understanding what going on in Lorie’s life.

Is there a positive way to treat someone as a recipient?

“teach a man to fish versus giving a man a fish”

  • It teaches the man to do what is necessary to not be hungry the next day instead of being just a recipient and having a fish for one day.

I need help but the way I was given help made me feel like I was not capable of solving the problem.

Kristen:  going through a divorce – you get advice when all you want is someone to head you out, hear what it was like for you.   Felt like she was not being validated what she was supposed to be.

Lorie:  Similar experience when husband died.

Carver:  When he and wife (Beth) went through a couple of miscarriages and then started with IVF.  People kept saying that it will work and they would get pregnant.  Hearing that was not helpful but they just wanted to share the pain they were in.

“Almost like being robbed from feelings”


Think of a time you were treated as a resource.  A time when someone comes to you and says what do you need/want/feel about this.  When have you done this in the past and been happy with the results and how can you use these results.  Questions that help us look inside – cause us to be active instead of being passive.

Jaana:  Lucky to work at a facility that recognizes the burn out and work fatigue of the job.  They realized it and helped her to find a solution that took her talents/strengths and ability to a new position that she could focus on.  Was able to think out and express her own needs so she could feel empowered.

Missy:  Sponsor who has been around for 37 years and this is how she has sponsored Missy and how Missy sponsors her sponsee’s.  She listens then ask the questions.  When it happens it makes Missy stop and take a look deeper inside and ask the harder questions.  Is very empowering and validating the path because this is your life.  You can’t stay the victim –it makes you take responsibility.

Chris:  Was once a recipient but now has become a resource at his company.  He put it back on them to let him do what it is he knows best and should do.  Now he is empowered


  • Isolated
  • Not important
  • Not valued
  • No voice
  • No feelings
  • Lost
  • Disrespected
  • Affects ability
  • Low Confidence
  • Low Self-esteem


  • Unheard
  • No voice
  • Ineffectual
  • Couldn’t have figured it out myself
  • Weak


  • Trusted
  • Have a voice
  • State your needs
  • Empowered
  • Context of Recovery

Think of folks in early recovery

Have lots of interactions with lots of people

What is your impression of how they are being treated in the treatment environment?

  • Alumni Teams want them realize strengths and what they can build on.
  • Actually see that people don’t have a part of their recovery plan
    • Clinical is sometimes associated with the pathology of illness
    • In residential area people are treated more like object – go here, sit here
    • In groups level, is more of a recipient level


How do you see people treated in the rooms?

Depends on the groups

Mixture of objects and recipients

“I’m not going to let someone with 1 month tell me how to work the program when I have 2 years.”


Not every treatment center/clinical teams treat the patients as objects

As a coach, we want to treat clients as resources – a possibility to act and react with them


  • Make a list of the 6 most important things to you in your life (no particular order, no parameters/objects/values/anything
  • Rank them in order of importance to you now
  • Create a pie chart!
    • Divide the circle into the sections representing the level of importance of those 6 things on your list
  • Partner up with someone and let them have your work/chart
    • Cross out 2 values from the chart that you were just given
    • Hand the chart back – should be the chart you created
    • Look at what was crossed out
      • How do you feel?
        • How dare you?
        • My passions are my life
        • She killed my dog
        • Focus on other values
        • Expand and start to manipulate
          • Began building categories so that those that were crossed off can be included in/replace
        • It means more than how I ranked them originally


When you tell someone they can’t, then we are invalidating them and taking their dreams away.

There are ways to make suggestions

Treat them as a resource

Practice active listening

Acting as peer coaches

No place for a coach to say you should do this.


“What do you want to do?”

“How can I help you to be successful?”

Can clinical team see this as undermining?

CeDAR – we won’t get in the middle of the direction of the clinical team.

Know what lane you are in.  Sometimes you shift from coaching to being an interventionist

Change roles very quickly based on the need

Use your recovery capital and resources that you are equipped with

Carver’s Disclaimer

“If I ever recommend anything or give you guidance on something that is diametrically opposed to the treatment team, then I am clearly wrong.  And if I am in direct conflict with the treatment team then I wholeheartedly acquiesce to the brilliance of those clinical trained credentialed professionals.”

Recovery will offer everything you heart desires…but so does addiction.

Don’t ever get in the way of someone’s recovery journey

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Contact Information

Treatment Professionals in Alumni Services
PO Box 1152
Salida, CO 81201
(757) 784-7550


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