What is the difference between a coach and counseling/therapy? Why not just go to AA and get a sponsor, which is free?
These are very common (and justified) questions when it comes to coaching.
According to google: Generally, therapy is focused on problems rooted in the past to restore health in the present. Whereas coaching is action-orientated, as well as both present and future-focused. Coaching is action oriented guidance from someone who is typically specifically trained. Of course it is important to acknowledge, address and heal from past trauma, so I want to be clear I am not saying anyone should choose coaching over therapy, or vice versa. I am simply stating the differences (in my opinion and also based on google) but therapy and coaching can be like complementary medicine to one another. Also, any good coach will be able to identify and recognize when they are not technically qualified or trained to help someone. They will have references and resources to provide for the client to find someone who is properly suited. Or again, they may work in tandem with a therapist but when it comes to a mental health diagnosis or different cases of trauma, it may be better suited to a counsellor, therapist or psychotherapist.
AA is a fellowship of like minded individuals that aim to help alcoholics achieve sobriety (I took that language from the AA website, I try to keep labels to a minimum because I think there is too much stigma and they can be quite damaging. Also the definition of an "alcoholic" is stereotypical, no longer medically recognized and SHOULD NOT BE the scale by which you decide whether or not you should quit drinking). I repeat a label (or comparison for that matter) SHOULD NOT BE the scale by which you decide whether or not you should quit drinking.
I have always stated that I am an advocate of people trying any and all resources available to them to help them find freedom. So why am I suggesting coaching (which has a cost) as opposed to getting a sponsor (which is free)? By the way, I think having a community is important and having a sponsor that you can reach out to at any time is absolutely amazing! Technology has also made connection and joining support communities a lot more accessible via our laptops or cell phones, and for people in small towns who don't want to run into their neighbour at AA - it is a total game-changer. The difference that a certified coach provides is being able to give the client different tactics to navigate their current struggles (or future challenges) as well as identifying their beliefs that cause them to believe alcohol provides some kind of positive benefit, because most often that is why you keep going back to it, even though you don't want to. Most people are not physically addicted to alcohol (less than 10% actually are), therefore being able to identify and deconstruct beliefs is a huge part of no longer feeling the need or desire to consume alcohol. A coach is there to empower their client to not need them anymore, as backwards as that sounds. They want to help their client build a strong alcohol-free foundation and empower them with tools and tactics so they can navigate their cravings and social situations with confidence on their own.
As a This Naked Mind coach I am able to utilize different coaching methodology that helps the client break down their beliefs ("I'm not fun when I don't drink," "I need wine to relax" etc) and find a Turnaround while holding space for them. What is a Turnaround? It is an action of reversal in which the client creates a belief opposite the original belief and validates it for themselves. While this sounds simple, it is through a guided dialogue between coach/client and a lot of focus on active listening. Personally speaking, I am not always listening to the literal words the client is saying but I am listening to the meaning behind their message. Annie Grace (creator of This Naked Mind) presents the psychological and neurological components of alcohol use based on the latest science, and reveals the cultural, social, and industry factors that support alcohol dependence in all of us. I knew I had my own life experience when it came to Alcohol Dependence (both personally and growing up with a mother who also struggled) and I learned how it can impact your life, your behaviours (choices) and ultimately your mindset. I wanted to find a certification that helped train me in the latest science because when it comes to life experience, I've got plenty, the good, bad and ugly. I felt very connected to This Naked Mind for its compassion based approach and incredible online community that offers so much support and knowledge. The Core Values of a TNM Coach are: Grace First, Curiousity Over Judgment, Responsibility Over Blame, Growth Over Stagnation, and Integrity With Alcohol.
There are many different institutes which provide training and certification to become a coach. I chose to become certified by the This Naked Mind Institute by Annie Grace for the reasons I listed above. I also completed a course through the Canadian Addiction and Mental Health Association through the University of Toronto on The Fundamentals of Addiction. Lastly, through the American Association of Certified Counselors I completed a Mental Heath Coaching diploma as well.
I understand that paying for coaching can be met with skepticism, I would simply ask a couple of questions in return. How is alcohol (ethanol) enhancing or improving your life? How much is your health worth to you? How much would you have been spending on alcohol instead of investing in yourself? How long are you willing to continue feeling trapped, guilty or anxious? What is your freedom worth? If you don't decide to invest in yourself and make these changes, what is the unseen cost (losing your relationship with your partner or family, messing up your job, not living up to your full potential, missing your babies first steps, being so drunk you don't remember the end of your kiddos birthday party, skipping reading them their bedtime story because you just want to get your glass of wine, could your friends slowly stop inviting you out because you've become "that friend who can't control their drinking" or maybe your kids no longer want to have a relationship with you)? *It is also important to note you don't have to be at either end of the spectrum to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Alcohol dependency is progressive, so perhaps you aren't "there yet" but you might be questioning whether or not you will be. I suggest listening to your intuition. It is okay to take a break and get sober curious. You also do not have to make any major decisions while you are exploring your relationship with alcohol, remove the pressure and turn it into curiousity instead.
Helping other people find freedom from alcohol (and other destructive habits that negatively impact their lives) is my passion and purpose (self proclaimed but I am rolling with it).
When someone is trying to give up alcohol (for WHATEVER REASON) it can be incredibly challenging for multiple reasons. 1) It is an addictive substance. 2) It is socially encouraged. 3) It is an addictive substance and it is socially encouraged.
While I believe training is important, I also believe the skills and passion I bring to coaching are things that cannot be trained. I have been told my capacity for compassion and my empathy are some of my best qualities. I genuinely believe my ability to meet you shoulder-to-shoulder (with no judgment) wherever you are on your journey is a gift. I aim to empower you by heavily focusing on shifting your mindset, we will break through beliefs and I can help you with accountability. I have been able to develop these skills in many ways but it was very beneficial to be an active mentor in "The Alcohol Experiment" and "The Live Alcohol Experiment" by Annie Grace for the past 2 years (The Alcohol Experiment offers a judgment-free action plan for anyone who's ever wondered what life without alcohol is like. The rules are simple: Abstain from drinking for 30 days and just see how you feel. The "rules" are not strongly enforced, it is actually encouraged to have self compassion if you do decide to drink and it is used as a way to learn more about why you drink, referred to as a "data point"). Being a mentor was providing guidance and insight to people who were exploring and re-evaluating their relationship with alcohol. Many times people were facing the same challenges I had experienced, whether that was cravings, wondering why I can't just have one but I know so many people who can or what the heck do I do when someone asks me if I want a drink? I was able to help them navigate those thoughts and scenarios with comfort and confidence because I've been there.
I'll be honest, I find it uncomfortable speaking about myself or "selling myself" so instead I will share feedback I received (which I had to save because it brings the biggest smile to my face).
"You truly are on your path. I think of you often on this journey and feel renewed when I do. Your way of encouraging people, truly seeing them, is beautiful. You intuitively know how to create a sacred space for people with doubts and insecurities to be who they are, to know they are enough, to let go of shame and guilt, to feel worthy of their best life. We are blessed to be part of this community and to have you in it." - Julie
You don't have to feel deprived because you aren't drinking, switch the FOMO to JOMO (joy of missing out). I still hang out with people who drink, I still go out socially or to different events where alcohol is present and I have zero hesitation or discomfort. Change is possible, freedom is possible, and I am able to say that with certainty because I live it every single day. If you'd like to connect feel free to send me a message or book a free discovery call today!