Sober Coaches Aid in Recovery



The television program Elementary features a character who has worked as a sober companion.


Just as there are different addictions and different people who struggle with them, there are also different ways to treat these addictions.

Some people stay at inpatient rehab facilities to treat their drug or alcohol abuse, while others attend outpatient programs. Others attend in-person or online groups that promote recovery and many people receive individual or group therapy.

Sober coaches are another treatment and recovery option. As their name indicates, sober coaches are people who coach people through their sobriety. People might hire coaches themselves, or families or workplaces might hire sober coaches to help their loved ones or employees.

Sober coaches might work as companions to escort people to and from sober facilities, sobriety meetings, appointments, and other things. Sober coaches might accompany people to jobs or social events, or they might provide counseling. Sober coaches might even live with their clients temporarily.

Also known as addiction specialists or sober companions, sober coaches thus can become extremely involved in their clients’ lives. Sometimes, their clients might not welcome this level of involvement, especially if other people hired the sober coaches for the clients.

Many times, though, clients welcome sober coaches as steadying influences in their lives. Perhaps this is because many sober coaches are working on their own sobriety. They’ve been there and done that, so clients might respect the fact that they speak from experience. They might have shared the same thoughts and deeds. Clients might believe that their coaches really know them because of these shared experiences of addiction and recovery.

Popular culture also features sober coaches, a sign that the profession is becoming more visible. The television program Elementary features the renowned character of Sherlock Holmes. In this version of the Holmes story, the famed detective was addicted drugs in the past, went to rehab, and continues to struggle with his sobriety. (Other versions of the detective stories depict him using drugs.)

In Elementary, Lucy Liu plays Dr. Joan Watson, a former surgeon who serves as Sherlock Holmes’s sober companion. Holmes’s father hired Dr. Watson, who gradually becomes the younger Holmes’s partner in investigating crimes, much like Dr. Watson works with Sherlock Holmes in other versions of the Holmes stories.

In television and in real-life, sober coaches or companions are one more option for treating addiction and strengthening sobriety. Given the seriousness of substance abuse, we need all of the options we can find.