Hiring help after treatment is a growing trend
Women and Sober Companions
In April, I posted on The Brentwood House blog about an app called A-CHESS that was being marketed as a tool that helps people stay sober. It sends daily messages and weekly questions to help counselors assess how a client in recovery is doing. In a way, the app is like a sober companion. In that post, I also included a link to an interview with J.T. Morgan, an actual sober companion who is in recovery himself.
It seems that more high-powered women are using sober companions these days (which reminds me of the articles on moms drinking on play dates, for some reason.) We may be more familiar with celebrities hiring sober companions, but this is a new slant on the subject. Tamara Mellon, a founder of Jimmy Choo shoes, was a cocaine addict before she entered recovery, and she hired a sober coach to help see her through some traumas when she got clean. She even keeps the coach on a retainer to have him all to herself. Author Mary Karr, too, has used one. In fact, she opened her book Lit with a letter to her son that said she would have loved someone to come over and keep her from getting drunk.
The article in which I read about women and sober companions doesn’t use the word high-powered, but obviously these women are. Or at least they have enough money for a sober coach. The writer says these women don’t have the time to attend rehab and want their privacy because of the stigma surrounding addiction. One woman brought her coach to a social event and passed her off as her Pilates instructor! The writer alluded to some of the women not having the money for rehab, but one woman was paying $200/hour once a week for four months of coaching. That’s $3200 if you do the math, nothing to sneeze at for some of us. There was a teacher in the article, and teachers’ salaries are way below par, but her husband was a doctor. Another woman featured had her sober companion live in. Imagine that bill! It’s not as narcissistic as it may sound, however. The woman said it helped her transition to the real world after rehab, which is understandable.
The Jimmy Choo founder actually wrote a book about her recovery after working with her recovery coach: In My Shoes.
One thing that’s interesting about articles like this in major papers and magazines is that some of the people are willing to use their names and some are not. In this article, the sober coach used her name, perhaps because she thought she’d get clients out of it. But the ones who want to remain anonymous are not helping the recovery movement. The doctor husband of the teacher in the article didn’t want his wife to go to rehab because “it might get out” (can you imagine?), so she detoxed at a clinic and then found a sober coach. Not all women were drinking; this woman was on pills.
Men and Sober Companions
Lest you think that this is just a trend article about rich women, here’s an article about two male heroin addicts in Massachusetts who use recovery coaches. The statistics are frightening: 40 to 60 % of heroin addicts who stop, relapse in the first year. The one guy profiled was 21, not a wealthy executive, and he was living in a sober house and attending 12-step meetings, and he had the coach, too. Wouldn’t anyone say whatever helps, do it?