Ever since I can remember, I’ve had this strange ability to see things others don’t see. Around 2005, I saw something. I experienced a vision about CCAR’s future.
I stood on the beach of an immense ocean. The water drew away from me. I glanced up to the horizon. I saw a wave, an enormous tidal wave. Instantly, I comprehended the meaning of the wave, for me. My entire being understood that the wave represented recovery coaching. Recovery coaching was on its way, destined to dramatically alter the landscape of recovery.
The wave startled me and comforted me at the same time. I discussed the vision when appropriate opportunities arrived. Some people had skepticism. Some others were bewildered. People close to me believed. For three years, I conversed with key CCAR stakeholders – recoverees, volunteers, Board members, staff, funders and trusted allies. Collectively, we agreed to position ourselves to train and equip recovery coaches. The first CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© (RCA) launched in 2008.
Since then, the RCA has been revised numerous times with input from trainers across the country. Some modules have been added. Some have been dropped. Others have been improved and enhanced. We have shuffled the order to improve the flow. To my knowledge no other recovery coach curriculum has undergone rigorous, continuous improvement and refinement.
The 2019 version is exceedingly effective for participants and exceptionally fun for facilitators. As an example, participants enthusiastically received a new module on Assessing Personal Affinity and Bias recently piloted by Stacy and me. When I experienced the first vision, I had no inkling that more than 30,000 people would complete CART trainings. Yet, they have. The CCAR Board President encouraged us to consider a tagline for our Center for Addiction Recovery Training (CART). His suggestion?
The Global Leaders of Recovery Coach Training.
That declaration seemed brash, bold, and a tad cocky. However, when I consider the number of trainings being offered every month and all our supporting curricula, this may actually be true.
During a recent class, I was asked,
“Phil, what is the future for recovery coaching?”
Great question, isn’t it? I could have asked the questioner what she thought the future was, but I did not. I responded by sharing my vision of the tidal wave on the horizon. Several years later, the tidal wave is here. Those of us outfitted with surfboards have caught the wave. Some boards are quite large and hold many people. CCAR is on a long board and riding the wave.
I told the class that I have no idea how long the wave will last. Or how far we will go. All I know is we are going to hang on and ride it for as long as we can. Where we end up, I have no idea.
I waited for responses. A woman from the Shinnecock tribe spoke. She appreciated the vision of the wave. She went on to say that Shinnecock means “people from the stony shore”. It had an impact on her personally since her people are water people. The vision brought some clarity to her life and her current situation. For me, her affirmation was valuable.
For several years now, our recovery coach training curricula served to prepare for the wave. Once the wave reached us, we were ready. In the early part of 2017, we hired our first recovery coaches to work on the front lines – hospital emergency departments. Our team (12 coaches now) have seen more than 2,500 people and assertively linked people to ongoing care 93% of the time.
We are amazed at the wave we are on.
Surf with us.
In 2015, I finished a thruhike of the entire Appalachian Trail, a trek of 2,189.2 miles. It took 189 days and 6 pairs of boots. During that sacred time, my purpose in life became more precisely defined. I am, simply, to coach recovery. Recovery saved me from an early demise and brought purpose to my tattered life. I have learned that I’m a coach to my very core. I am blessed to put the two together. I started work at the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) in January 1999. I became the Executive Director of this recovery community organization in 2004. I have trained the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy© dozens of times and have a hand in modifying, improving and adapting various recovery coach curricula. I’m old enough now to start considering my legacy. This is one way for me to share lessons learned in my recovery, in my role as Executive Director and a trainer. When I engage with others, I present the same messages repeatedly. It’s time to write them down.
Phil “Right Click” Valentine
Recovery established 12.28.87