Practicing life coach interviewing skills, Jerry Remington puts a smile on his face, showing how a better spiritual life looks “smiling more” to Chris Hagins as they practice in Remington’s garage on July 10 in Everett. Watching and critiquing is Steve “Redd” Arnold (left). Remington, the president of the Everett chapter of the Unchained Brotherhood, a clean-and-sober motorcycle club, is leading the group toward becoming certified in life and recovery coaching. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Clean-and-sober Biker group branches into recovery coaching

EVERETT — The Unchained Brotherhood, a men’s motorcycle club, is taking on a new challenge for its local members: coaching.

Unchained Brotherhood, which counts 70 members in four chapters statewide, is a club of clean-and-sober bikers who draw strength from their camaraderie and from giving back to society.

The new initiative is to get the Everett chapter’s members certified as recovery coaches.

“What we’re trying to do is follow our group purpose. What we do is stay clean and help other people,” said Jerry Remington, the Everett chapter president.

The Everett chapter holds two food drives every fall to benefit the Everett Gospel Mission and Seeds of Grace, an outreach ministry at Allen Creek Community Church in Marysville.

They also conduct toy drives, and Remington has visited the Snohomish County Jail and other correctional institutions to speak on panels about addiction and recovery.

Through happenstance, the club connected with a group that provides credentialing in coaching, leadership and other fields.

“A couple months ago I saw one of their bikers go down and helped him until an aid car came,” said Paul Rand, one of their partners in the nonprofit Strategic Learning Alliance.

Rand kept in touch with the biker as he recovered from his accident, and in that way met with Remington. They both saw an opportunity in each other’s group.

Rand found a group of men dedicated to bettering themselves and society, some of whom have come through not just addiction but also homelessness.

About a half-dozen members of the Brotherhood took part at an initial training session held at Remington’s paint shop in central Everett this month.

A few more training sessions and a final exam would certify those members as recovery coaches.

“I know it’s really going to give Jerry and his team the skill set to be even more effective as the community looks for more solutions from the ground up trying to fight an epidemic here in Everett,” Rand said.

Recovery coaching differs from counseling in that counseling is a clinical process rooted in psychology often targeted at healing past trauma. Coaching focuses on the future, overcoming barriers and achieving goals.

Rand’s group provides a certification of what’s a largely unregulated industry, he said, focusing on setting some baseline professional standards and ethics. So far, he’s provided training in groups ranging from small nonprofits to large corporations.

But never a biker club.

“It was one of the best classes I’ve ever witnessed,” Rand said after the first session.

Remington, for his part, intends to pay it forward, obtaining certification not just as a coach but as a trainer as well, helping other members of his chapter achieve certification, and then spreading it to other chapters.

He said that, because the Brotherhood is a men’s club, he may need to set up a separate nonprofit so the coaching and certification process can include women, too.

“I don’t want to just coach men. We’d be selling ourselves short,” Remington said.

He also wants to go back into the jail to help coach inmates who are approaching their release dates. The first days out of jail are full of anxiety for many inmates, and it’s easy for them to fall back into the cycle of addiction.

It’s all part of the club’s mission of giving an alternative to people fighting addiction.

“This is a good opportunity to get a certificate in something bigger than we are,” Remington said.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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