Well known TV presenter and blogger Carrie Armstrong is no stranger to addiction and sobriety. Having struggled with alcohol for many years, she eventually came to terms with her own recovery to the point that alcohol is no longer an issue. Armstrong is also not shy about her belief that effective, permanent recovery is largely self-taught. Yet there is room for what Armstrong calls ‘sober cheerleading’ to come alongside self-taught principles of recovery.

Armstrong recently published a nice piece at the Huffington Post profiling the sober cheerleading approach to sobriety. The concept begins with the understanding that recovery is about the present and the future, not about the past. Moreover, that is where Armstrong notes the difference between her approach and the approach often taken by addiction counsellors and life coaches. She says the others spend too much time dealing with the past while she tries to focus on the future.

Helping Others Help Themselves

For sure, Armstrong has taken her fair share of criticism for coming up with a path toward sobriety despite claiming recovery is largely self-taught. However, she is quick to defend her principles by explaining that she is not offering therapy. Instead, her approach is one of helping recovering alcoholics find their own solutions and cheering them on as they go.

Armstrong now helps people by meeting with them in person or on Skype. During the sessions, she shares with them some of the skills she needed to develop in order to recover. She explains as best she can, then leaves the individual to go do the real work of applying the skills in their own daily lives. What she cannot adequately explain she just tells those she helps they will have to learn on their own.

The sober cheerleading approach has never been tested in a clinical setting to see if it works. Nevertheless, Armstrong claims there is no shortage of people asking her for help. In addition, with each one that succeeds, another one contacts her. Through it all, Armstrong does not earn anything from her efforts. She helps people because she wants to.

Recovery Is Personal

The most important take away here is an understanding that recovery is intensely personal. As many addiction recovery experts maintain, there is no single treatment that works for everyone. There is room for both the 12-step approach to recovery and the SMART approach of conquering addiction through problem solving. Likewise, there is also room for addiction counselling, life coaching, and sober cheerleading to co-exist.

The addiction recovery community should never be afraid to welcome new approaches, even if the only evidence of their success is anecdotal. After all, is the science of epidemiology not based on anecdotal evidence? Sure it is. Therefore, if only 1% of recovering addicts benefit from things like sober cheerleading, we should still be encouraging the use of these methods among those who will find success in them.

If you are having trouble with drugs or alcohol, we want to help. Addiction Helper offers free advice, assessments, and referrals by way of our 24-hour helpline. When you contact us, one or counsellors will be able to evaluate your substance abuse problem in order to help you determine how severe it is. Then we can recommend appropriate treatments.

Addiction Helper can assist you in locating a private rehab clinic, local charity, support group or other treatment provider in your area. We can also help with admission arrangements if necessary. Please feel free to contact us if you are ready to start looking at recovery options for yourself or a loved one. It is never too late to recover.

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