Recovery coaches and online therapists are amazing tools for instant help in addiction recovery. So when should you reach out?
Workit Health offers online recovery coaching and online therapy. Having access to a coach or counselor is just the beginning, however. It can take practice to build a connection and become vulnerable with someone you don’t really know.
A big part of recovery is understanding when to ask for help, whether it’s from your recovery coach, therapist, friends, or family members. Placing impossible demands on ourselves, and stuffing emotions down rather than talking about them, often caused huge stress in our lives, encourage us to drink and use more.
The good news? Learning how to reach out for help with honesty and vulnerability will help you in all areas of your life — not only in recovery, but in the workplace, and in relationships with friends and family, and even in romance.
So when should you reach out for help?
Here are 7 times it’s okay (and even recommended) to message your recovery coach:
1. Reach out before a big event where drinking or drug use will be involved.
Navigating triggers in early recovery is tricky. Putting a plan into place before you head into an environment with drugs and alcohol can help keep your sobriety safe. If you’re worried your coach or counselor will try to talk you out of the event, try to explain your motivations for going.
2. Reach out when you’re thinking about hitting up that girl or guy you used to use or drink with.
Early recovery is a lonely time. It’s lonely because we’ve just broken up with our number one love, drugs and/or alcohol. But many times that also means becoming separated from the gang we used to run with. It’s totally normal in early recovery to pine for past relationships, and more than a few of us have made horrible relationship choices immediately after getting sober (yup, raising my hand on this one).
This is why checking in with your recovery coach or counselor can put things into perspective before hormones make the decision for you.
3. Reach out when you’re struggling at work.
Work is a huge stressor for those of us in and out of recovery. If you’re working, chances are it’s a gigantic part of your life. Most of the workforce spends more time with coworkers than friends or family members. After getting sober, some of us replace drugs and drinking with overworking, another unhealthy habit. Work/life balance is vital to recovery success, and happiness in life.
4. Reach out anytime drug or alcohol cravings strike.
Especially in early recovery, cravings for drugs and alcohol can be overwhelming. Just reaching out to someone for help (rather than reaching for a drink or a drug) can help take some of the power out of the craving and provide you with comfort until it passes. Your coach or counselor can also offer suggestions on how to get through future cravings.
5. Reach out after a big fight with your family member or significant other.
Emotions are raw in early recovery — we drank and used to mask them, and they can come at us with the speed of a jumbo jet. Arguments can easily be a slippery slope to a relapse, and reaching out to someone to de-escalate your feelings and the situation can help.
6. Reach out after a relapse.
Addiction is surrounded by secrecy and shame, so it’s understandable that it’s difficult to acknowledge relapse. Oftentimes, we don’t even let ourselves admit we’ve relapsed, and letting someone else know can be a powerful reality check.
If you’re worried about judgement, remember that your coach or counselor is a professional who understands addiction is a marathon, not a sprint. They’re in it with you for the long-haul. They’d much rather have you tell them what’s going on then lie to them or not communicate with them at all because you’re embarrassed.
I relapsed several times before finding long-term recovery, and admitting each slip was painful. But openly talking about what was out of control in my life (once again) helped me get back on track with the help I needed.
7. Reach out when you’re struggling financially.
Alcohol and drugs take their toll on our finances. But support is vital to recovery. If you’re struggling financially, be open to talking to your coach or counselor about solutions. They might be willing to work with you on the price of your treatment to avoid losing you as a client. If you can’t afford your current treatment, they may be able to refer you to free or lower cost sources of support in your area.
Your coach or counselor only knows as much or as little about you, your struggles, and your successes as you choose to tell them. They are there to help you achieve your recovery goals, celebrate your recovery wins, and also help you deal with life as it comes at you in recovery.