When beginning substance use recovery, one’s long-term success depends largely on the strength of a sober support network. While A.A. sponsors, sober friends and outpatient support services offer a great deal of support, sometimes a professional in a more active role is warranted.
A sober coach, sometimes referred to as a recovery coach, is someone who has achieved long-term recovery and now works supporting those who are newly sober. During the early stages of recovery, there is a heightened risk of relapse. Sober coaching provides an added layer of guidance, support and protection to help prevent relapse.
What does a sober coach do?
Sober coaching is a step up from the level of support provided by a sponsor. A sober coach is a paid position, in which they play a significant role in their client’s day-to-day recovery journey. The sober coach is available 24/7 as a source of support, and is usually scheduled to be present with the individual a certain number of hours per week.
A sober coach is different, however, from a sober companion. A sober companion lives with the client as their roommate for a designated period. Sober companions are best suited for an individual who is at a high risk for relapse and must not be alone. A sober coach, on the other hand, abides by a weekly schedule to assist in various ways while still providing the individual with some space and privacy.
How does a sober coach aid recovery?
A sober coach becomes an advocate for their client as they navigate uncertainties during early recovery. The primary purpose of a sober coach is to help the individual implement an action plan for creating a new sober lifestyle. The coach helps the individual integrate the various recovery skills that were acquired in treatment into their daily life.
The sober coach and client arrange a schedule, which may vary from a few hours a day to a 40-hour weekly schedule, for the following services:
- Helps the individual establish new routines: It takes time to start life anew after completing treatment. A sober coach can help encourage a healthy diet, a regular sleep schedule and other positive habits.
- Works to improve family dynamics: Family members may not be aware of dysfunctional tendencies, such as codependency or poor The sober coach assists the family in creating a healthier dynamic.
- Provides transportation to outpatient therapy and other recovery services: Following treatment, it is important that the individual attend various continuing care services. The sober coach transports them to these appointments.
- Can co-attend 12-step meetings or similar as requested: Some clients might want their sober coach to accompany them to recovery meetings as a source of added support.
- Provides 24/7 on-call relapse support: Since the risk of relapse is high during the early months following treatment, having a sober coach available around the clock can help prevent
- Provides an additional source of accountability: The individual must take ownership of their own recovery. Having a sober coach provides someone to be held accountable to.
For those that have resources to acquire a sober coach, these advocates can significantly reduce the risk of relapse. In addition, the sober coach provides encouragement and support as the individual reaches new life goals.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.