A sober companion, sober coach, or recovery coach are titles all representing the same job in the field of addiction providing one-on-one assistance to newly recovering individuals from addiction to alcohol, drug addiction, gambling addiction, porn addiction, eating disorders – inclusive of all addictions and/or any suffering individual that is currently in the whirling dervish of their addiction in order to protect themselves against further harm as a harm reduction protocol. The goal is to help the client maintain total abstinence or harm reduction from any addiction and to establish healthy routines at home or after checking out of a residential treatment facility. Regulations do not exist for sober companions. Conversely, sober companions may be a part of a whole medical and/or a clinical team of professional(s), may be formally licensed as a mental health professional, or have well-respected experiential experience in the field and may work independently on their own.
Protocols for a sober companion when working with a client, their family and/or friends are established immediately and may include a psychotherapeutic approach, 12-step or non-12 step plan, other outside support groups, help establishing nutrition and fitness daily, medication therapy or holistic practices. The primary duty of a sober coach is to ensure the recovering individual does not relapse. They may be hired to provide round the clock care, be on-call, or to accompany the recovering addict during particular activities.
A companion acts as an advocate for the newly recovering person and provides new ways for the client to act in their own living environment. A sober companion either completely removes the addict from his own environment of hidden stashes, or may search for hidden drugs in their own environment, in an effort to restrain a client to prevent them from relapsing.
An engagement with a sober companion usually lasts 30 days or longer. The time required to effect a meaningful change varies greatly depending upon the client, co-occurring disorders, and the family life at home. Ethically, a companion’s presence in the client’s life will titrate down as the client’s ability to connect to newly defined healthy behaviors with family, work, and legal issues without relapse is proven. Some recovery coaches stay with their clients for many months, and some offer only transportation services (for instance, to and from treatment facilities or sober living homes). The sober companion’s duties vary from case to case, from simply ensuring the client remains abstinent, establishing and ushering a specific plan of recovered resources and relationships into their home and community.
Sober companions are sometimes hired in cases where an actor or musician will not attend treatment, but must remain abstinent to complete a film or recording project. They are also depicted by some media outlets as “adult babysitters”. Conversely, a more responsible and educated response by doctors refer to sober companions as “advocates” for actors, musicians, and other celebrities in order to help save their lives.