During my corporate career I had worked as an executive coach and when I founded Tribe Sober I decided I needed to add recovery coaching to my skillset. I asked around for recommendations and was told that I must contact Anthony Eldridge-Rogers as he is the pioneer of Recovery Coaching in the UK. So I enrolled on his recovery and wellness coaching course and learned all about his meaning centred coaching model.
Anthony started his adult life as a survivor of a whole heap of challenges from addiction to homelessness. Over several years he managed to turn it around and learn to thrive in spite of his difficult start in life.
In this Episode
Anthony told us about his difficult childhood and how his mother became an addict and spent time in psychiatric hospitals.
Along with his siblings he moved in with his grandmother who was also addicted to drugs.
The only way the children found to deal with the trauma was to use drugs themselves
Anthony discovered the power of a mood altering substance at a very young age and was drinking alcohol at 9 years old
He loved the way it made him feel – the way his shyness and anxiety just fell away
He continued to abuse alcohol into his teens, adding drugs into the mix
Anthony’s mother got worse and (as he puts it) he had a front row seat to the horror show
Intuitively he knew that her psychiatric issues were linked to her drug use
Her doctors were desperate so shipped her off to a rehab where she arrived with a suitcase full of drugs
It took 3 or 4 months to wean her off the drugs and then to encourage her to mix with the other people as she began work on the 12 steps
Much to everyone’s amazement the program worked and Anthonys mother rose “as a phoenix from the ashes” – from a “basket case to a sane and loving woman”
Someone who was truly contrite about the damage she had inflicted on her 3 children
Anthony found all this emotion totally overwhelming – along with the shock of getting his mother back after all these years
So he hit the bottle – hard – for months – but the miracle of what had happened to his mother was by then firmly lodged in his brain
When attending family therapy his counsellor told him he had a drink problem – he was annoyed by this comment but it stuck in his brain
At the age of 19 he had a “road to Damascus” moment and knew that he would have to stop drinking so he started going to AA meetings
Anthony reflected that giving people hope is such an important part of the work that we do in recovery – and the people who Anthony was meeting during that period were giving him hope
They were telling him he was “treatable” and of course his mom had shown him that it was possible
So he got sober with a mix of rehab and 12 step meetings
Anthony had a career in the film industry but when he became a dad he decided to train as a coach
We reflected that whereas therapy tends to look backwards into our childhoods coaching was more about looking at the future
Anthony had been in therapy for many years and no longer wanted to talk about his relationship with his mother which of course all the therapists wanted to focus on – that approach no longer worked for him
As he went through his coaching training he had a massive aha moment – he felt like he had found the missing part of the puzzle
It occurred to him that the coaching skills that he was learning could be of great help to people as they move through their recovery
He came up with a great analogy about the intensive work done in rehab and how after detox and treatment the rehab will shoot the client out into orbit - but without the requisite coping skills they will just fall back to earth
Although they may have learned a lot in rehab and been weaned off the drugs they need coaching when they leave – to help them develop the coping skills to manage in the outside world
As Anthony put it – let's get the wheels back on the truck in rehab and then look at recovery coaching after that
Because the therapeutic approach, nor even having a sponsor was hitting the spot
As he began to research his coaching model he looked at the metrics of recovery
His research showed him that meaning and purpose were integral to recovery
Take away meaning and purpose from someone’s life and it will psychologically collapse
We are very conscious of that here at Tribe Sober – conscious that recovery is about so much more than “not drinking” – once our members have managed to quit drinking we then help them to learn to thrive in their alcohol free life which of course means discovering their meaning and purpose
If you want to take a look at our 7 step model that guides our members through this journey just go to tribesober.com and hit “join our tribe”
Finding our meaning and purpose makes us more resilient, unlocks our energy and gives us a feeling of connection
I love what he says about coaching being recoding the brain – just as we paste a bit of code into our computer – we can do that with our brain via coaching
You heard us talking about neural pathways and at the moment we are running our annual 66 day alcohol free challenge – its called #Sober66 and you can sign up anyday during September – you will get 66 days of community, online and audio support form the date you sign up
I asked Anthony what he would say to someone who was struggling – his message is one of hope – millions of people have conquered their addiction and gone on to have wonderful lives
So reach out for help and don’t go it alone – go to tribe sober and hit “join our tribe” if you’d like to give us a try
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