What is a Sober Coach and How can they Help?
In today’s world, there are more and more ways to gain help in recovery from addiction. One way to gain added support in early recovery is by enlisting the help of a sober coach.
Read on to discover what a sober coach does and doesn’t do, and what services they offer. Learn who sober coaches work with, and what the difference is between sober coaches and sober companions.
Lastly, uncover even more ways to get help in recovery, with alternatives to sober coaching.
What does a sober coach do?
The journey of recovery is certainly filled with challenges. Those in recovery find themselves coming up against many limiting beliefs and difficult emotions. They face daily hurdles in their inner and outer worlds.
There’s no denying that early recovery can feel overwhelming to navigate alone, which is where a sober coach comes in.
A sober coach provides guidance, mentorship, support, and healing for those in the early stages of recovery from addiction. Anyone in early recovery can benefit from the support, accountability, experience, and guidance of a recovery coach.
A sober coach helps their clients maintain sobriety naturally. They help them create a new and healthy way of living, and learn how to problem solve and communicate. Sober coaches help clients learn how to understand and shift their own thought patterns. They help them identify their obstacles, and how to restore and create relationships with others.
In many cases, a sober coach is someone who previously struggled with a substance use disorder of their own. Because of this, they can deeply understand and relate to the nuanced struggles faced by those in recovery.
A sober coach can offer assistance in real-time when a trigger or emotionally turbulent state arises. When it comes to therapy, clients may have to wait a week or longer to speak to their therapist or counsellor about a trigger they experienced. With a sober coach, a client is often able to contact their coach while they’re experiencing their stressor. They can then can get support in navigating through it in real-time.
A sober coach helps those in recovery navigate their life without the use of drugs and alcohol. This truly involves creating a brand new way of living. Not only this, but a sober coach can help people in recovery understand their initial reasons for engaging in use. This helps to foster the deep healing necessary for lasting sobriety.
A sober coach helps people based on their own individual strengths, needs, experiences, and goals. They come alongside their clients and work collaboratively to help them foster a new way of living. This can ultimately aid the client in remaining sober and living a life that's meaningful to them.
One of the most important things about recovery is finding a new way of living that feels good. It’s important to find a way of living that’s sustainable and fulfilling. A sober coach works to help prevent relapse and beyond that, to truly create a life that is both fulfilling and satisfactory.
What a sober coach does not do
A sober coach doesn’t provide formal treatment, such as what one would experience if they attended counselling or therapy. Some refer to sober coaches as a mid-level range of support, residing between peer support groups and traditional substance abuse treatment.
Additionally, a sober coach doesn’t provide medical or mental health diagnoses. They aren’t sponsors, and don’t necessarily adhere to one set modality of support.
Also, sober coaching typically is not covered by insurance, as it is a private service. Therefore, most people will have to pay out of pocket for their services.
What services does a sober coach provide?
Typically, a sober coach will offer online or in-person consultation to assess if working together will be a good fit. If both parties agree to work together, the sober coach will often gain as much information as they can about the individual's history, experiences, beliefs, and struggles.
From there, sober coaches can offer a variety of services. Some sober coaches offer online sessions once a week, while other sober coaches offer in-person sessions at the same frequency.
Some sober coaches are very immersed and provide support to their clients at all hours of the day. Unlike therapists, sober coaches may accompany their clients to meetings or appointments or may meet with them in their homes.
The intent of the sober coach is ultimately to help provide their clients with the framework they need to remain sober and continuously grow in their life.
Who does a sober coach help?
Sober coaches are focused on helping those who are struggling with addiction or are in recovery from addiction. However, sober coaches can also help the family members and loved ones of those struggling with addiction.
Sober coaches can help plan interventions, find sober living homes, and help set up transportation to residential treatment programmes. They can help families navigate complicated health systems, and connect them with the right resources.
When loving someone struggling with addiction, people may often engage in enabling or codependent behaviours. Although unintentional, this can be detrimental to their loved one’s sobriety efforts. A sober coach can help families unravel these dynamics. They can help them learn how to shift their own behaviours to better support their loved one.
Sober coaches can also help parents of teenagers struggling with addiction. They’re able to help provide them with the education, tools, and resources they need to help themselves as well as their child.
Additionally, sober coaches can also offer help to those experiencing struggles that don’t involve substance use. This can include gambling, sex addiction, and other behavioural addictions. Some sober coaches are also able to help those struggling with eating disorders.
What is the difference between a sober coach and a sober companion?
Oftentimes, people use the terms sober coach and sober companion interchangeably. Although there is an overlap in what both of these terms entail, there are also a few differences.
The intent of a sober coach is to provide mentorship, guidance, experience, and support to clients in recovery from addiction. Their goal is to help clients learn a new way of living that doesn’t involve the use of drugs or alcohol and to thrive in this new way of life.
Some sober companions offer very similar services to sober coaches. They may offer guidance, support, and education for those in early recovery from addiction. They help their clients set and achieve short and long-term goals, and offer them assistance in navigating the challenges of early recovery.
Sober companions can offer more intensive support in the early stages of recovery such as after a client is transitioning from inpatient treatment to living at home again. One of the primary differences between a sober coach and a sober companion is that sober companions may offer live-in support. This means that they live with their client for a certain period of time, travel with them, and accompany them to meetings or appointments.
Some sober companions accompany their clients to social engagements or events in an effort to help them stay on track, avoid temptation, and manage any triggers or difficult emotions that may arise in certain environments.
Enlisting the help of a sober companion is a great option for those who need more intensive support.
Aside from the help of a sober companion, there are many other alternatives to sober coaching to explore.
Alternatives to sober coaching
Sober coaching is one option to explore for those leaving treatment and beginning their recovery journey without the help of formal treatment. Sober coaching can also be a helpful supplement to therapy, as the two can complement each other and fill in one another’s gaps.
Below are other ways to gain support in recovery outside of enlisting the help of a sober coach. The most important thing about recovery is finding the help that works for your own unique needs, experiences, lifestyle, and goals.
A fellowship is a peer support group to engage in during recovery. The most widespread and commonly known fellowship is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. Fellowships offer a priceless pillar of support and connection. Coming alongside others in recovery helps normalise one’s challenges, and helps those struggling truly understand that they’re not alone in their experiences. Fellowships also offer guidance, as those later in recovery often have great wisdom, tools, and feedback to offer those who are earlier in recovery. Another benefit of joining a fellowship is that it is cost-effective.
Counselling is an important part of the recovery process as ending substance use is only the first step in the journey. When people leave treatment and are ready to face the world without the use of drugs and alcohol, they may feel overwhelmed, lost, and come up against many internal blocks and challenges on top of managing cravings and triggers. This is why ongoing counselling after formal treatment is of huge value for anyone in recovery. It offers a safe space to explore one’s new challenges as they arise, to learn how to feel, process, accept, and manage emotions, and to learn a new, healthy way of living that is most authentic to oneself.
As previously mentioned, a sober companion is one alternative to a sober coach. A sober companion is a great option for those who need around-the-clock care and support, and can be of great help to those who have to travel often or who don’t have a support network at home. However, it’s important to keep in mind that costs can run high with sober companions as well. Because of this, it’s important to assess lifestyle, needs, and goals when considering this option.
Having a solid, unconditionally loving support network can make all the difference during the journey of recovery from addiction. Having a sober coach is a great way of receiving unconditional support, but many may already have that level of support within their network. Leaning on friends, family, loved ones, neighbours, and coworkers makes recovery much less isolating to navigate through. The one downside to this is a support network may not be able to offer the same level of first-hand understanding as a sober coach has if they’ve experienced addiction themselves.
Here at Recoverlution, there are a wealth of tools and resources to help anyone through their recovery journey at any stage. In addition to this, Recoverlution offers community and support from people who truly understand addiction from all angles, most of whom have first-hand experience themselves.
Whether it's in a Circle or in a weekly or daily meeting, the community created within Recoverlution is loving, non-judgmental, and supportive, and offers a safe haven for anyone struggling with addiction or is looking to enhance their journey of recovery.
A final word on sober coaching
It’s important to keep in mind that enlisting the help of a sober coach can be a wonderful source of added support, but it doesn’t mean long-lasting sobriety is guaranteed. This is similar to how attending AA meetings or going to counselling alone doesn’t guarantee sobriety.
Some of the elements that can help ensure long-lasting sobriety is putting in the work, a willingness to be vulnerable with oneself, constant assessment and self-awareness, and an ability to accept, process, and regulate difficult emotions.
Recovery is an ongoing process, and the more people stay in touch with what’s going on internally, whether that's through their own efforts or with the help of a sober coach, the better their chance of experiencing a long-lasting, healthy recovery from addiction.
Author - Thurga
- Peers supporting recovery from substance use disorders - https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/brss_tacs/peers-supporting-recovery-substance-use-disorders-2017.pdf