I always saw myself as an approachable treatment counselor who made immediate connection with each client through a collaborative approach to the recovery process. My perspective on my openness was challenged the day I learned more about harm reduction via my recovery life coaching training. Crossroads Recovery Coaching dedicated an entire lesson plan to the harm-reduction approach. I learned an invaluable lesson that day; self-determination means offering a discussion on all choices; harm-reduction, moderation management and abstinence. I became aware that I had not been providing a true conversation on self-determination. I had assumed that the client wanted abstinence. I never asked. I can now see and acknowledge that this was a mistake. I became aware that I had unconsciously been promoting the treatment center’s philosophy of total abstinence instead of one of self-directed treatment. You see when you work at a facility that is 12-Step oriented and abstinence-based; there is a non-verbal agreement that is made. This had always posed a challenge for me since I myself did not get sober through the 12-Step program. The 12-Step program has saved millions of lives, is a free and is a great resource for those without the funds to pay for continuing care. I understand why it was the program of choice for our population. I worked at a nonprofit where clients were receiving treatment services for free. It was a practical and effective choice to offer the 12-Steps to our clientele. Regardless of the reasons behind the logic, I recognize that people in recovery deserve a choice. I’ve corrected the oversight and started a business where people have a choice and plans are individualized. These days, all my client conversations start off with self-determination about the path of choice. I’m forever grateful for that lesson on harm-reduction. I’m a better coach because of it.