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What is a Sober Coach?

Updated: Jun 13, 2023

A sober coach, also known as a recovery coach or a sobriety coach, is a professional who works with individuals who are interested in entering into sobriety and healing from addiction. Sober coaches provide support for sobriety, guidance, mentorship and care to folks who are in recovery from addiction. The primary role of a sober coach is to assist clients in maintaining their sobriety in a sustainable way and achieving their recovery goals. This is done through a variety of ways, depending on the coach.

A sober coach works closely with the client, often on a 1:1 basis, to create an individualized plan tailored to their specific needs. This may involve developing strategies to manage triggers and cravings, providing accountability and motivation, offering emotional support during challenging times and ideally, providing evidence-based tools that the client can learn and use as needed. The coach may also help the client develop healthy coping mechanisms and establish a structured daily routine to promote stability and prevent relapse. In my coaching practice, I do all of this and more by working with clients in both 1:1 and group coaching capacities.

In an ideal world, everyone presenting themselves as a coach should have appropriate and adequate training and certification, though this is not always the case. Because coaching as an industry is unregulated, anyone can call themselves a coach regardless of their qualifications. While having lived experience with substance use issues and finding your way to sobriety is an important aspect of working as a sober coach, this alone is insufficient to guide others through their sober journeys as what worked for one individual may not work for another. Lived experience alone is more akin to a peer support model like what you could find in a free, sponsor-based, 12-step program (more on the differences between a sober coach and a sponsor later). Sharing your experiences is important but not the same as having a tangible skill set that supports people in changing their lives in sustainable ways, which is what a trained, certified, professional sober coach has. If you’re considering working with a coach, be sure to ask questions about their credentials.

I take a very holistic approach to coaching which means that in my work with clients, we address the issues and circumstances that led to their current drinking behaviors and drinking patterns. Often, clients seek out alcohol in an effort to manage other issues and over time, alcohol use itself becomes the issue. In my work as a sober coach, we address the problem that alcohol has become as well as the issues alcohol was initially meant to solve. We work on things like: shifting and changing habits (both breaking habits that aren't working and creating new habits that move clients closer to where they want to go), building confidence and resilience, gaining clarity on priorities and creating boundaries, implementing self-care practices, examining mindset and and shedding limiting beliefs, addressing self-sabotage and more. We also look at things like sleep, hydration, movement and food as I take a truly holistic approach to providing care for my clients. In addition to being a dual-certified coach, I am also a certified meditation teacher and a certified EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) practitioner, which are modalities and tools that I bring into my work with clients.

In my work with clients, we also tackle what it means to exist within (normative) alcohol and drinking culture, how to remove alcohol from your life confidently, ultimately working towards making it irrelevant over time.

In January 2023, the World Health Organization declared that no level of alcohol is safe for human consumption. With more and more people exploring what it means to be ‘sober curious,’ coupled with the residual effects of increased and excessive drinking and alcohol-related issues post the Covid-19 pandemic, the need and demand for sober coaches is increasing significantly.

If you are curious about what working with a sober coach could look like, be sure to check out my services and approach to providing sober support.

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