You’ve completed, or maybe you’re still going through, treatment for alcoholism or some other form of addiction. How are you going to maintain your sobriety out in the “real world?” If you’re being honest with yourself, you have probably decided that it’s too much to be able to handle on your own. You’re still going to need some help. So, what do you do? Who do you turn to?
A sponsor is someone you choose, who has been sober longer than you, someone you can rely on, and someone who can inspire you. He or she is generally a volunteer from a Twelve-Step Program, whichever one deals with your particular addiction, who chooses to be a sponsor because it helps them to maintain their sobriety by helping you to maintain yours. Your sponsor understands your situation, will model sober behavior, will encourage you to go to meetings and become involved, and can help you to make sure you’re getting everything possible out of your program.
Why Get A Recovery Coach?
In addition to a sponsor, a sober coach is another resource that you can rely on to help you maintain your sobriety. What is a sober coach? What does a sober coach do? The main job of a sober coach is to make sure that you don’t relapse.
A sober coach is an ally who genuinely cares, listens, and can be trusted with confidences. They are tough; a consistent source of honest feedback regarding self-destructive patterns of thinking, feeling and acting. They can help to identify and resolve personal or environmental obstacles to maintaining your sobriety. They’re advocates who can assist you in obtaining social services, suitable employment and protection of your rights. They’re your cheerleader and your friend. Intrinsically, they are a source of motivation, encouragement, support, organization, praise, consultation, advocacy and strength. It is said that the role of a sober coach is most crucial during the first 90 days of an addict’s recovery.
Sober coaches have backgrounds in addiction, nursing, social work and psychology. Most have at least five continuous years of sobriety. Before retaining a sober coach, you should check their background; inquire about their training, their association with private or public treatment programs and their references. Ask the candidate about his or her successes and failures, their years in the field and experience with similar cases. You may also wish to pursue their knowledge about the “science of addiction.”
In popular culture, you probably have already encountered sober coaches. Television actors portray sober coaches. For example, Dean Stavros of “Pretty Little Liars,” played by Nathaniel Buzolic on ABC Family, was a sober coach for Spencer Hastings, who was struggling with addiction. Dr. Joan Watson, played by Lucy Liu on the CBS series, “Elementary,” acts as a sober coach for the modern day Sherlock Holmes. Lindsay Lohan, when she left treatment, hired a sober coach. Zac Efron has hired a sober coach. Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has had a sober coach. And Kim Richards, of the Bravo TV series “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” also had a sober coach.
According to Doug Caine, the founder and president of Sober Champion, a sober coaching company with offices across the United States and in London, tough love is a central theme in sober coaching. “We don’t do hand-holding or babysitting jobs,” Caine says. “Coaches and clients develop an intense, bonded relationship. If you’re not willing to do some work, if you won’t go to any lengths to stay clean, you’re going to have a tough time benefitting.”
If you’re willing to do whatever it takes to reach and maintain your sobriety, a sober coach can help you reach your goal.