|In 2007, Mid Coast Hospital’s Addiction Resource Center (ARC) began collaboration with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department to develop a Recovery Coaching program focused on assisting post-incarcerated individuals to create and maintain a stable, non-criminal lifestyle. Now in its eighth year, the program has helped hundreds of people, saved the county close to a million dollars, and continues to gain traction as a successful model for the treatment of substance abuse and addiction within our community.
While Recovery Coaching is becoming more common in addiction treatment, the Lincoln County Outreach Recovery Coaching program operates outside of the clinical setting by establishing a grassroots support network for those that have been referred. When someone is selected for the program, ARC Recovery Coach Bill Ellsworth works directly with the corrections team to establish and implement a plan exclusively focused on preventing re-arrest and re-incarceration.
Often program participants have histories with multi-generational addiction, child protection involvement, and multiple offenses that may include drug trafficking, assault, theft, alcohol and driving arrests, and probation violations. While Bill may draw upon his 30 plus years as a clinical therapist to build meaningful relationships with the "coachees,” his primary role is to maintain regular, frequent communication and help individuals become productive citizens by identifying and overcoming barriers.
It is through the community support network that the program has gleaned so much success. Establishing partnerships with local employers offers opportunities for stability and self-worth. Integration with treatment services at ARC and strong ties with self-help programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, provide emotional and logistical support in overcoming addiction. As basic needs are met and addictions overcome, criminal activity declines and year after year, the program results in lower recidivism rates almost 10% lower than the national average.
The program cost is minimal compared to the outcomes. For the expense of just one recovery coach that accesses a network of free resources, the Lincoln County Outreach Recovery Coaching program is able to work with 40 individuals per year. If each of those individuals received new offenses and re-incarceration, the cost to the county would have been four times as much. Additionally, the individuals are now gainfully employed; paying taxes and restitution that otherwise would not be recouped.
Along with the return on investment, Lincoln County receives far greater benefit from the Recovery Coaching program by transforming a life otherwise fraught with crime and self-destruction into one of respect and completeness. This joint partnership and ongoing collaboration with community partners, exemplifies the strength that we have working together to improve the health of our community.