Ben Casem has been involved with Sundram Manor for quite some time. Specifically, he started there as a volunteer in 2005. Not long after he started volunteering, a couple of residents asked if he’d sponsor them in local self-help groups. He also held groups at Sundram on self-help topics and drove residents to meetings. Clearly, Ben is very active in self-help activities throughout Niagara County.
The Recovery Coach Process
In fact, Ben was so inspired by his self-help work that he took his volunteer service one step further. Ben recently became a Certified Addiction Recovery Coach through OASAS. This improved his skills so that he’s an even better partner for people in recovery.
The certification process involved a five-day training. According to Ben, there were different instructors who all covered different topics related to recovery. He worked together with his fellow students to discuss the subjects in small groups. They even used role playing. At the end of the training, there was a final exam. “We had to cover a lot of ground in a little time,” said Ben.
Ben says he “absolutely” believes that more people should get involved in recovery coaching. Actually, Ben says that it “wasn’t a big transition” to go from working as a self-help sponsor to a recovery coach. People with experience in the self-help community may want to consider it. “It’s given me a better understanding,” Ben said.
Using Recovery Coach Skills
After becoming a recovery coach, he “wanted to put it to some practical use.” Conveniently, Sundram Manor had an open residence monitor position. Thankfully for us, he officially became an employee of the program in May of this year. He puts his recovery coach skills to use every day.
Ben will celebrate 20 years sober next May. Coincidentally, he’s considering going a bit further in his education. “There’s another certification I could get,” he explained. He’s got his eyes on OASAS’s Certified Recovery Peer Advocate training. It’s a bit more intensive, but Ben is up for the challenge.
Along with his recovery coach skills, Ben brings patience to Sundram Manor and the knowledge that recovery is a process. “I remind them that they didn’t get sick overnight, so they’re not going to get well overnight,” he explained.