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“Recovery Coaching – Finding New Roads”

This workshop will explore the history of self-help (AA) and the development of the 12 Step Disease Concept/Minnesota Model which emerged as the primary treatment model in America. It will review the major tenets of the model and compare it to an alternative approach known as the Recovery Management Model as well as other alternatives to 12 Steps. It will preview the Recovery Oriented System of Care (ROSC) as a person centered wellness model and its use of the Recovery Coach to remove barriers to recovery while improving outcomes.


Dave O’Donnell, MHS has been a faculty member with the Addictions Studies Program of Governors State University since 1991. He worked as a CADC for twenty years before retiring in 2010. He authored one of the first Adolescent Early Intervention proposals known as “The Children of Alcoholics Screening Test” program (C.A.S.T.) funded by DASA in 1988. Mr. O’Donnell has always been a proponent of “Resiliency Models” and approaches that emphasize individual strengths and self-determinism. He is a strong advocate for treatment models (Recovery Management, Reduction, Harm Reduction, and Selective Abstinence) that are flexible and client centered in addition to the twelve-step model which is more model centered. He believes strongly that all clients should have a stronger voice in choices in treatment and establishing what are attainable and realistic outcomes.

Amy Burrows is finishing up her Governors State University internship as a recovery coach. She is looking forward to all of the developments that ICB and ROSC committees can implement to move long term recovery forward. Ms. Burrows has recovered from PTSD and substance abuse personally and is proof recovery is possible. She is very open to share her experiences to help others.

LaRonda Fisher is a recovery coach who works at an inpatient treatment facility helping individuals recover from substance use disorders. She believes that lifelong sobriety is absolutely obtainable if people are equipped with the necessary tools and skills.  Upon completion of her Bachelor of Arts in Corporate/Organizational Communications from Northern Illinois University, Ms. Fisher went to work in the field of education, first as a third-grade bridge teacher and then as a business manager with Chicago Public Schools. She has also worked in sales and the financial services industry.  Ms. Fisher has always had the desire to help others and has spent countless hours dedicating her time by volunteering with various organizations from feeding the hungry to working at battered women’s shelters. She became interested in the field of addictions while watching her oldest brother battle substance abuse issues and has remained dedicated to the community ever since. In her commitment to pursuing a career in the field, she enrolled in the Master of Health Science in Addiction Studies program at Governors State University, where she is one semester away from completion of her coursework.