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Brooke Mueller & Charlie Sheen Were With Their Sober Coaches Before Their Huge Fight — But What Is A Sober Coach?

Tue, December 29, 2009 5:51pm EDT by Chloe Melas Add first Comment


Here we explain exactly what a sober coach is and why they are so important to people in recovery!

Charlie Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller were drinking Dec. 24 the night before Charlie was arrested and charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor for allegedly attacking her. According to, both Charlie and Brooke had sober coaches with them. This is nothing new for many celebrities who are known to keep their sober coaches in their inner circle: Drew Barrymore, Lindsay Lohan, Owen Wilson, and Mary-Kate Olsen have all retained some type of a sober coach. But what IS a sober coach?

A sober coach is a trained professional with a minimum of five years of complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol who steps in to help someone who suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction after they have completed rehab. “People typically call me after they’ve been to detox or call me from rehab and say ‘This is the fifth time I’ve gone to rehab,'” says Doug Caine, the founder of Sober Champions and Coaching. “When that person gets home from rehab, he or she needs someone to be there. A sober coach picks up where someone has been in rehab leaves off.”

But Charlie and Brooke’s sober coaches were with them so how could their fight have escalated to Charlie holding a knife to her throat? “As a sober coach we will do anything we can do to prevent our clients from entering into an altercation,” says Doug, who does not work with the couple. “I don’t understand how a sober coach — excuse me, two sober coaches — were sitting there while they [Charlie and Brooke] were drinking, especially when there is a history of alcholism between the two of them,” says Doug. “If [hypothetically] the coaches made no effort to prevent them from drinking then why are they paying the coaches?”

We wanted to know what exactly a sober coach does with their client on a daily basis— so Doug gave us all the details:

There are actually three types of sober coaches:

  • Sober escort: “Someone who gets you from point A to point B. It’s for someone who can’t trust themselves in airplanes, airport layovers. We usually assign a sober escort who is a little bigger, a little stronger, a little wiser. The job lasts no more than 72 hours,” says Doug.
  • Sober coach: “Is someone who spends a certain amount of time with you and attends those periods of your life with you when you need the most help like when you’re going to an awards dinner, or business meeting,” says Doug.
  • Sober companion: Is someone who is with you 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and can sometimes last up to a year. “We usually like it to last for about 90 days but if they ask for more time we give them more,” says Doug. They also do something called shifting where they will allow the sober companion four days on, two days off and allow other companions to rotate in.

How much do these coaches cost?

  • Sober coach and Sober escort: charges an hourly rate and can go from $40 per hour to $100 per hour.
  • Sober companion: As low as $650 and can go as high as $1800 a day: “The more drama, the more expensive. If it’s a drama-free zone I charge less,” confesses Doug. “But we make everyone pay us ahead of time.”
  • The coaches give their clients options on how to spend their time: The coaches give them things they can do as healthy alternatives to using drugs or alcohol. For example: meditating, surfing, horseback riding, or staring at crystals.

How does the whole process work?

  • How does a client get matched up with a coach? The first step is, the addict, family member, doctor or business partner calls me up and tells me the basic situation,” says Doug. “We are told the blueprint, basically the drugs of choice. I do an assessment with the client or the people closest with the client. I assess the whole situation and decide if I will take them.” Sober Champions normally pairs clients with coaches according to gender, race, and culture so they feel more comfortable.
  • When the coach first arrives at their client’s home: They do a clean sweep of the house even using a drug dog. “But slowly, hour-by-hour, week-by-week, we are allowing the addict to experience life on life’s terms instead of life on booze’s terms,” says Doug. “If the client wants someone to keep them from getting a DUI then they should get a bodyguard not a sober coach.” — Chloe Melas