With a recent trend in addiction treatment appearing consistently in newspapers and magazines, many people are left wondering: what’s a sober coach anyway, and is getting one worth it? For much of the past, addiction treatment programs and support groups have served as the backbone of the recovery community. Today, however, there is a person that can provide you inspiration and accountability on the road to recovery. They are called sober coaches. As the name implies, their primary responsibility is to keep you sober as you start out on recovery after attending either drug rehab or an intensive outpatient treatment program for addiction. But is a sober coach worth the cost?
What a Sober Coach is and What a Sober Coach Does
The idea behind a sober coach is relatively simple: to serve as a bridge between formal treatment programs and the more informal support groups during recovery. While drug and alcohol detox and rehab programs have been shown to be extremely effective in equipping those struggling with substance abuse disorders on the road to recovery, these programs always come to an end. This is where the idea of a sober coach comes in. How much a sober coach costs depends on how much time they spend with you and what their level of experience is – sober companions can sometimes charge as much as $1,000 per day of care. By way of responsibilities, a sobriety coach provides at least several of the following services:
- A daily connection and conversation for those in recovery
- A bridge to other support groups
- Accountability for complete abstinence for substances
- Help in setting up goals and creating healthy habits
- Exploration of how community and family can support recovery
- Helping those in recovery build skills and coping strategies
“My primary duty is to provide the scaffolding around someone who is in the early days of their sobriety. I try to build trust, and help my clients normalize the basics of living an intoxicant-free life. In some ways it’s similar to hiring a personal trainer. They can’t lift the weights for you but they can give you the support to lift the weights yourself.”
~ Joe Schrank, sober companion and co-founder of The Fix
Is Getting a Sober Coach Worth the Cost?
The cost of addiction rehab may be enough for most people, since the costs of addiction treatment can rise quickly depending on the needs of the individual. While drug and alcohol rehab are extremely effective in getting patients on the road to recovery, the cost of treatment (both in terms of time and money) is only compounded when a sober coach is introduced.
That said, determining whether or not getting a sober coach or recovery coach is worth the cost is a personal matter. If you are currently in recovery through an addiction treatment program, you should at the very least complete this program. At that point you can determine your needs moving forward. To help you come to a decision regarding the need of sober companion, consider taking the time to ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you have friends or family around you that can form a supportive environment during recovery?
- Will hiring a sober coach put a strain on you financially?
- Do you believe you will need outside help in avoiding triggers and staying sober in the face of social pressure?
- Are you able to structure healthy habits and daily activities on your own?
- Have you attended any group support meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous), and have they worked in giving you the support you need for recovery?
How to Find a Sober Coach: Make Sure You Know What You’re Getting Into
“Unfortunately sober coaches can become as much of a crutch for some clients as the drinking and drugging once was. The onus is on the companion to maintain healthy boundaries and an appropriate degree of professionalism – a dangerous position, given how many hustlers there are in the game. Monetizing the process looks ethically suspect. Ultimately, however, hiring a sober companion is no more a guarantee of long-term success than a stint in rehab, attendance at a 12-step meeting, or any of the other assorted avenues that people follow in their pursuit of recovery.”
~ Sam Lansky, writing for The Fix
In discussing what a sober coach is and what a sober coach does, two things have become clear. The first insight is that sober coaches can be extremely valuable in providing support and accountability to those struggling to remain sober during recovery. Recovery coaches give those struggling with substance use disorders continued professional help after formal treatment has ended. The second insight is that how much a sober coach costs can be prohibitive. The cost of a sober coach can run in the hundreds of dollars for each and every day of recovery. The two major questions addressed in this post were “What is a sober coach?” and “Is getting one worth it?” While the first question is relatively straightforward to answer, it is the second question that is more complicated.
Ultimately it is a personal decision. Getting a sober companion depends entirely on your own needs in recovery, your financial situation, and how well you are able to manage sobriety on your own. We are not here to provide an objective answer to this question. Ideally you can use the information provided here about what a sober coach is to help determine whether or not getting one is worth it for you.
If you have a personal experience to share about the use of a recovery coach or sober companion or how to find a sober coach, feel free to leave a comment in the section below. Alternatively, f you still have questions about what a sober coach is and whether getting one is worth it after formal treatment, do not hesitate to reach out and contact us today.
Angela Haupt. (2013, August). Is a Sober Coach Necessary to Overcome Addiction? Retrieved from: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/08/27/is-a-sober-coach-necessary-to-overcome-addiction
Marisa Fox. (2014, July). Mothers Find a Helping Hand in Sobriety Coaches. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/13/fashion/mothers-find-a-helping-hand-in-sobriety-coaches.html?_r=1