When an individual is addicted to alcohol or drugs and is ready to return home from a residential treatment center, it is important to consider the functionality and positive aspects of utilizing a service that provides sober coaching. While residing in a treatment center the person most likely did not have easy access to drugs or alcohol and was able to focus solely on themselves, how and why they became addicted, and what resources and support systems are available in order to prevent relapse. It often becomes more difficult though when the strict schedule and routine structure of a hospital program are no longer directing a personís daily activities. Upon returning home they are going to encounter places, people, and other environmental triggers which can threaten their sobriety. A sober coach assists in the transition from treatment program to living at home. The early days of recovery are extremely difficult and a coach can help with reminding the client of effective techniques to utilize when feeling the need to use alcohol or drugs and they are a supportive advocate for the client in daily life.
Coaching is individualized to meet the needs of a specific individual. The resource person may be available by phone at a certain time each day or perhaps 24 hours a day as an immediate resource in maintaining sobriety. An individual who is no longer being monitored 24 hours a day in a treatment facility may be unable to handle the free time between counseling sessions, 12-step meetings, and other responsibilities. Depending on the type of home environment a person is entering, a sober coach may be necessary to assist with setting up finances and budgets, maintaining a healthy, physical lifestyle, learning how to handle free time and ensuring that daily and weekly appointments are scheduled and attended. In the beginning it may be helpful to create an hourly schedule so that the individual knows what to expect and what they should be doing.
A sober coach will carefully monitor for signs of relapse and put an appropriate action plan into place to help avoid a relapse. In the case of an addict who frequently relapses following treatment, a sober coach should be considered as an added support person that can monitor the personís progress and sobriety. A coach will help with finding local AA or NA meetings that the person is comfortable attending as well as making sure that therapy sessions are scheduled and attended consistently. As a resource the sober coach is a vital link between the residential treatment center environment that is structured and regimented and the increased freedom accompanying a return home. Beyond being an essential resource and advocate for a client in recovery a coach extends their work to creating life goals, career and educational goals and assisting the person with self-discovery. Discovering which activities provide a pleasurable alternative to drinking or drugs can help in the recovery process. Although people from many different backgrounds become sober coaches, often those who have successfully recovered are greatly involved.