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Sponsor, Recovery Coach, Addiction Counselor: The Importance of Role Clarity and Role Integrity


The recent growth in peer-based recovery support services as an adjunct and alternative to addiction treatment has created heightened ambiguity about the demarcation of responsibilities across three roles: 1) voluntary service roles with communities of recovery, e.g., the role of the sponsor within Twelve Step programs, 2) clinicallyfocused addiction treatment specialists (e.g., certified addiction counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers), and 3) paid and volunteer recovery support specialists (e.g., recovery coaches, personal recovery assistants) working within addiction treatment institutions or free-standing recovery advocacy/support organizations. The purpose of this paper is to enhance understanding of these new recovery support roles by comparing and contrasting these three service roles.


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Funding for this initiative was made possible by grant no. 1H79TI083022 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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