Sober coach Mike Bayer was a fixture in Demi Lovato’s post-rehab life — until recently. Sources told The Sun that the recently hospitalized singer fired him a few weeks ago.
"She and Mike started having arguments back in March," an insider told the newspaper. "He felt like she was always making excuses for herself, her bad behaviour and not telling him the truth about what she was up to."
"He called her out on her s**t. which she did not appreciate."
"She fired him a few weeks ago - they had a big argument and then they unfollowed each other on social media,” the source continued. "It has been very ugly and messy as this guy was like 'her rock' that she leaned on after she and Wilmer [Valderrama] broke up.”
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But what exactly is a sober coach — and what role did he play in her life?
What is a sober coach?
Basically, a sober coach is there to be your support system in the toughest post-treatment moments.
"A sober coach is there for you when you run into your old dealer, and a sober coach is there for you when you must make an appearance at the company cocktail party," Ocean Breeze Recovery explains on its website.
But sober coaches can’t make choices for you — and they’re not there to sugarcoat things.
"I've used everything from 'Shut up!' to 'Do you want to become a person or remain a dope fiend?'" Doug Caine, founder and president of Sober Champion, a sober coaching company that has offices in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, told U.S. News and World Report of his style. "I've asked, 'Is smoking crack the best way you can serve your children?' Every client requires a different motivating tool at a different time."
How much does a sober coach cost?
The prices charged by sober coaches often depends on the level of service they’re providing. On one end, there are sponsors — like in Alcoholics Anonymous — that serve as mentors to those going through addiction programs. Often, these sponsors are also recovering addicts who are further along in their journeys and understand the challenges that come with the recovery process.
Paid sober coaches can run anywhere from $50 to $100 an hour or more — and some even move in with their clients to take a hands-on approach to keeping them on their path.
Are sober coaches worth it?
There are no research studies on sober coaches and their effectiveness.
"Sober coaches don't necessarily have a sophisticated education – and because of the amount of money they're charging, one would expect some sophistication," Westley Clark, director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, told the magazine. "It becomes a matter of what are you buying, what do you get?"
The recovering addict is technically employing this person and can opt to get rid of this person at any time — like in Lovato’s case.
"Anytime you have an intense one-on-one relationship, it's a delicate situation," Clark said.
"Between the money and that intensity, boundary issues can start to surface – a client is essentially buying his treatment provider. That's why we recommend this approach be combined with other recovery services, which can offer support and backup to both the coach and the client."