Sober coach is a relatively new term. So just what is a sober coach and more importantly, do they help you stay sober? With more than 21 million adults in the United States living with a substance use disorder and only 3,000 physicians trained to help them according to the Association of American Medical College, it’s no wonder sober coaches are popping up all over.
But what exactly is a sober coach and can they really help you to stay sober? When it comes to addiction, it’s a life or death situation so it’s important to be sure who you’re relying on for help. In fact, research shows that having a strong support group outside of clinical treatment can help support recovery. Can sober coaches be a viable part of this support group?
Sober coach is defined as a field in addiction where the person provided one on one support to individuals newly in recovery. Sober coach is also referred to any of the following though they are not always the same:
- Sober companion
- Recovery coach
- Sobriety coach
These terms are often used interchangeably. What’s important to understand is that sober coach as well as the other terms are not clearly defined and exact definitions seem to vary from one person to the next. The services provided by one sober coach may be much different from another sober coach.
What do Sober Coaches Do?
In the 2018 National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, it was found that of the millions of Americans with a substance abuse problem one in five doesn’t know where to turn for help. As mentioned, only a fraction of physicians is specially trained for addiction and related issues. The need for more support for those with addiction issues is only growing. More professionals able to effectively identify, treat, and support those with addiction issues are needed. Sober coaches may be able to fill some of those gaps.
Some of the services sober coaches may provide include:
- Initial treatment plan including rehab, recovery houses, aftercare plans
- Transportation to support services after leaving treatment
- Support for attending counseling, 12-Step groups, non-12-Step groups, outpatient treatment, etc.
- Provide round the clock care or be on call
- Provide relapse support
- Help establish new life routines
- Acts as an advocate for the person in recovery
- Works with family and loved ones
The main goal of a sober coach or sober companion is to prevent relapse. All of the activities and services are based on that goal. Each person in recovery has different needs when it comes to a sober coach. However, the goal of the sober coach should be to help the person establish their own support system of sober and like-minded friends as well as the tools to avoid relapse.
A sober coach or sober companion should be certified, bonded, and insured. It’s important to do research on different sober coaches to learn more about their training and experience. Often, individuals who are in recovery themselves become sober coaches. These individuals may have a better understanding of how the other person is feeling and what can help them as they learn and grow.
When Are Sober Companions Most Helpful?
In some cases, sober coaches or sober companions have been used when there is a high risk of relapse or a reason the individual can’t go to rehab. For example, some famous people have hired sober companions instead of going to rehab or in addition to rehab. While there is controversy around if sober coaches are actually helpful or if they are just adult babysitters, some research suggests that they can be helpful for people transitioning from a highly structured and ‘safe’ environment of treatment to their previous lives.
In fact, this transition back can be one of the toughest parts of recovery. For many in recovery, it means changing people, places, and things. This can be very much like starting over. And while that can be scary, it can also offer lots of opportunities for a better life. This is another place where sober coaches may be helpful.
It can be overwhelming to change so much about your life and all that you knew. This can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. A sober coach can help by holding you accountable and supporting you as you learn a new way to live. They will also have resources, plans, and established ways to help individuals new in recovery. Rather than having to piece it all together, they can provide assistance in this area too.
Today, there are a number of different support groups from 12-Step programs to non-12-Step programs you can attend. Trying different groups and seeing which is the best fit for you is something highly recommended for long-term sobriety. You can certainly explore these groups on your own–as most people do–but some sober coaches may also attend these groups with you. It’s harder to make excuses for not going somewhere when you’re on your own. However, long-term sobriety requires dedication, work, and ongoing willingness which no one can ‘give’ you.
Sober coaches operate in addition to other supports such as therapists and outpatient treatment. Sober coaches are generally available to their clients 24/7. In addition, they meet at your home and can support family interactions as well. Many times family members may not be aware of their codependent habits and a sober coach can help support them to learn ways to better support the person in recovery and themselves.
These coaches who offer help to those in recovery aren’t usually covered by insurance and costs run from about $900 to upwards of $2000 per day. The cost depends on several factors including how much time the sober coach stays with the individual. As mentioned, many sober coaches are either on-call or spend 24 hours a day with their clients.
It’s important to understand that while sober coaches can be helpful for some in the recovery process, most people don’t use sober coaches and are able to get and stay sober. Thousands upon thousands of people across the United States are living in long-term sobriety and didn’t have a sober coach or sober companion.
The real key to getting and staying sober is to be willing to do anything to get and stay sober. This may mean going to different support group meetings on your own, changing jobs, or moving to a new place. Getting sober is hard work and so is staying sober. However, with or without a sober coach it really comes down to how willing you are to do whatever it takes.
If you or someone you love is battling an alcohol use disorder, substance use disorder, or mental health problem, Futures Recovery Healthcare wants to help. Contact us to learn more about our three treatment programs and if one is a good fit for you. We also offer a Mental Health Unit solely focused on the treatment of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. Call us at 866-804-2098.