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Alcohol & Health
Helping Alcoholics
Where Does My Call Go?
Updated on March 17, 2023
5 min read

What Is an Addiction Coach?

An addiction or recovery coach is similar to a life coach. However, they work specifically with people recovering from substance use disorders.

Also known as a sobriety coach or a sober companion, a recovery coach offers peer support. People who continue to struggle with alcohol and drugs may seek help from a recovery coach.

What Does a Recovery Coach Do?

Addiction or recovery coaches help you prevent relapse and stay sober. They will offer guidance and equip you with the necessary tools and skills for long-term recovery.

They do this by:

  • Explaining which treatment programs are available to you
  • Helping you create a recovery-oriented plan
  • Directing you to resources for addiction recovery
  • Connecting you with peer recovery support groups
  • Assisting in navigating the medical system
  • Teaching you how to be accountable for your actions
  • Helping you develop healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms
  • Showing you how to assess your recovery progress objectively

Who Does an Addiction Coach Work With?

Addiction coaches provide their services to adults and teenagers with substance use disorders. These people include those with:

  • Alcohol and drug use addiction
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug addiction

In America, over 19.3 million adults aged 18 and up have a substance use disorder (SUD).1 Substance use is also increasing among teenagers. By 12th grade, 65.1% of teenagers would have misused alcohol, and 46.6% have tried illicit drugs at least once.2

What Can I Expect From Addiction Coaching?

Recovery coaches use a strengths-based approach to focus on recovery goals and find ways to achieve them. They may work with you individually or as part of a medical and mental health professional team.

If you hire a recovery coach, you meet them at least once weekly for support. Those still in their first year of sobriety may want to meet more often. Many of them offer virtual recovery coaching.


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Addiction Coaches vs. Therapists

Addiction coaches are not therapists or counselors. They don’t have an office or work regular hours and can’t diagnose or prescribe treatment for substance abuse with co-occurring disorders.

Addiction coaches can’t give professional help for triggers if psychological trauma causes your substance abuse. However, they have flexible hours, depending on what works best for the people they help.

This accessibility makes it easier for them to provide peer support and help people avoid relapse.

Addiction Coaches vs. AA Sponsors 

Addiction coaches and AA sponsors have a few things in common:

  • Both exist to help people with their addiction recovery
  • They tend to be recovering themselves and have previously battled substance use disorders
  • They must be sober for at least a year before they can start helping others
  • Both ensure that your information is kept private

Despite their similarities, an addiction coach is different from an AA sponsor. These are their key differences:

Coaching Services vs. Sober Sponsorship

An addiction coach provides evidence-based coaching services for their clients. They work independently outside of any treatment program or institution.

A sober sponsor works exclusively with the same 12-step program that helped them recover from addiction. For example, an AA sponsor offers sponsorship under Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), while an NA sponsor is someone from Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Anyone who wants to recover can seek help from a certified addiction coach. However, only members of Alcoholics Anonymous will have access to AA sponsors.

Addiction Coach Training and Certification

Addiction coaches have to meet specific qualifications. They must also undergo formal training and certification before they can practice.

Each state has different certification requirements.3 These are the basic requirements to become a certified recovery coach:

  • Must be 18 years or older
  • Holds a high school diploma or passed the GED test
  • Must pass the recovery coaching training and test
  • Must be certified by the state certification board

In addition, a person must render hours of community work while under the supervision of a certified addiction coach. This requirement ensures they meet the professional standards for addiction coaching.

Sponsors are not required to undergo such training or certification. However, their respective addiction recovery programs also screen potential sponsors before the program recognizes them as one.


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How Much is an Addiction Coach?

A professional recovery coach can cost anywhere between $800 per month to $1,000 per day. The cost depends on:

  • The experience level of the addiction coach
  • The kind of care they provide 

While it costs a lot upfront, it will save you more money than relapsing and undergoing treatment all over again.


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Are Addiction Coaches Effective?

Based on a study’s findings, a peer-based approach to addiction treatment leads to positive results.5 Addiciton coaches have previous substance use experience, which makes their methods work.

Benefits of Recovery Coaching

Getting peer support from recovery coaches is associated with:

  • Reduced substance use
  • Better recovery outcomes
  • Lower relapse rates 

People who work with a recovery coach are also more likely to complete their addiction treatment.5,6

Other benefits of working with a recovery coach include:

  • Increased satisfaction with addiction services
  • Enhanced relationship with treatment providers
  • Improved access to peer support services
  • Reduced re-hospitalizations and emergency visits
  • Better housing stability

Should You Work with a Recovery Coach?

Working with a recovery coach is a good option if you’re ready for a proactive approach to addiction recovery. Mental and emotional stability is necessary since you will do half the work. A recovery coach just guides you through the process.

People who feel stuck in a rut can also benefit from recovery coaching. So long as you can commit to staying sober, a recovery coach can handle your other needs. 

Recovery coaches can connect you to treatment programs, support groups, and other valuable resources. They can also help with self-improvement. They can teach you healthy coping skills and behavioral patterns, which help with relapse prevention and long-term sobriety.


A recovery coach is a professional who supports and guides individuals in recovery from substance use disorder. If you’re looking for a support system beyond family and friends, a recovery coach can provide additional help. With their experience and expertise, recovery coaches can help you stay on track with your sobriety goals.

Updated on March 17, 2023
6 sources cited
Updated on March 17, 2023
All Alcoholrehabhelp content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure as much factual accuracy as possible.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only link to reputable media sites, academic research institutions and, whenever possible, medically peer reviewed studies.
  1. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH).” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020.

  2. Drug Use Among Youth: Facts & Statistics.” National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.

  3. Compendium of Recovery Coach Certification Requirements.” RIZE Massachusetts.

  4. Sinha R. "New findings on biological factors predicting addiction relapse vulnerability." Curr Psychiatry Rep, 2011.

  5. Value of Peers Infographics: Peer Recovery.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

  6. Eddie et al. "Lived Experience in New Models of Care for Substance Use Disorder: A Systematic Review of Peer Recovery Support Services and Recovery Coaching." Front Psychol, 2019.

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All content created by Alcohol Rehab Help is sourced from current scientific research and fact-checked by an addiction counseling expert. However, the information provided by Alcohol Rehab Help is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.
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