Lifestyles of the Rich and Sober

By McCarton Ackerman 01/04/12

If your new, healthy lifestyle has you feeling slightly flush, let us recommend some ways to spend some cash on recovery.

Far pricier than Veuve Clicquot Photo via

If you’ve given up alcohol and drugs, chances are that you’re saving quite a pretty penny. But money has never really been an issue for some recovering addicts and it’s actually possible to be far more extravagant in sobriety than you were in your wildest party days. From four-figure coffees and teas to spa treatments, books and a week-long detox that costs more than some homes, here are some decadent yet healthy ways for you to unload the contents of your wallet.

A Seriously Hefty Big Book

Sometimes having any old copy of the Big Book isn’t enough. If you want to feel like the spirit of Bill Wilson is motivating you forward, at least one first edition from the first printing of the Big Book (autographed by Wilson himself) is available for just $50,000. Less than 5,000 books were produced during this initial press run, making it a rare item to begin with. Despite the fact that it was published in 1939, this copy remains in relatively good condition. If the autograph is more important to you than the book itself, there are slightly less rare autographed versions available, like this one for $15,000 and this one for $9,000. 

Consider starting your day off with some Kopi Luwak brew from Indonesia, which costs $160 per pound, or a cup of rare Chinese oolong tea called Tieguanyin, which is priced at $1,500 per pound.


If you haven’t sobered up yet, there are plenty of places to do your 30 days where it feels more like a vacation than a detox. Believe it or not, Promises in Malibu isn’t the priciest option—although, at $57,000 per month, it’s three times more expensive than a month stay at the Paris Ritz; even their rumored $100,000 per month program that lets you design your own sobriety doesn’t take top billing. For that honor, head to Australia’s Sanctuary Byron Bay, which is located in the Bali-wood glamour of a popular beach town—with a price tag of $28,000 per week. You certainly get what you pay for though: clients stay in beachfront bungalows and the staff-patient ratio is 15 to one. Guests also have the services of a personal trainer, massage therapist, chauffeur, naturopathic consultant and their own full-time personal chef. 


If the idea of entering a facility, even a luxury one, is too much to bear, you can always follow the lead of true ballers who detox in style at luxury suites at Claridge’s in London or Trump Tower in NYC to the tune of about $3,000 per night. For the roughly week-long experience, they’ll then hire an on-call doctor to administer a detox program and medication (an estimated $15,000 per week), a 24-hour nurse to facilitate it (roughly $3,500 per week), and a round-the-clock sober companion to oversee the entire operation (approximately $10,000 per week). The final total for a week of the most luxurious stint of detox known to man? Around $50,000. Room service not included.

Sober Coach

If you work in a drinking or drug-fueled profession, are nervous taking your first steps into sobriety or simply have money to burn, you can hire a sober coach or companion that will hover over you to make sure you’re staying away from your vices of choice. A sober coach or escort will supervise clients for short periods of time (like a business meeting or social gathering), while a sober companion is a round-the-clock watchdog. One of the pricier options for this is Sober Champions and Coaching, which has branches in NYC, Chicago and London and pairs up clients based on gender, race and culture so that they feel more comfortable. A sober coach or escort can cost up to $100 per hour with them while a sober companion peaks at $1,800 per day.


Sober living can be hard work. Why not relax in style? If mere bath water isn’t good enough, head to the Hotel Victor in Miami for an Evian Bath, which contains 1,000 bottles of Evian water and is sprinkled with rose petals. Add in two additional spa treatments for $5,000 (not including the required one-night stay in the hotel’s penthouse). New Yorkers can indulge in a five-hour “Art of Indulgence” session at the Mandarin Oriental for $1,034, which includes several massages, a mani-pedi and exfoliation. West coast folks can enjoy a three-hour Grand Luxe Facial at Spa Radiance in San Francisco, which includes diamond peel microdermabrasion and a caviar eye treatment for $750. 

Health and Fitness

Now that you’re taking better care of yourself, you might be looking at a membership to your local gym to kick-start your new healthy lifestyle. Athletes’ Performance in Phoenix, where several NFL and MLB players go to train year-round, costs up to $30,000 a year for access to the 31,000 square-foot facility and sessions with pro-athlete trainers. If you’d rather work out at home, the ROM exercise machine guarantees results in just minutes per day for $14,000. Looking to brush up on your tennis? A videotaped lesson with Nick Bolletieri, who has coached eight different players while they were ranked number one, including Andre Agassi and Maria Sharapova, costs $900 per hour.

Sober Jewelry

Your sober jewelry can be more than a mere chip hanging from a chain if you want it to be. High-end jewelry designer Neil Lane, whose Hollywood clients include Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Demi Moore among many others, could design a custom-made sober pendant for you (prices start at $4,000). If you’re interested in something ready-made, Sears is actually the home for some of the most expensive sober jewelry on the market, like this 14 karat gold chip for $1,170. If you want to take it down a notch while still treating yourself to some bling on your anniversary, consider this NA eagle pendant for $593 or this AA symbol charm for a more modest $291.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks

There are plenty of luxury ways to rack up a bill on drinks even if you’re no longer doing it at the bar. Consider starting your day off with some Kopi Luwak brew from Indonesia, which costs $160 per pound, or a cup of rare Chinese oolong tea called Tieguanyin, which is priced at $1,500 per pound. Those who’d never consider getting their water from the tap like the rest of the riff-raff can grab a bottle of Bling H2O for $40. And those who need something to brew that Kopi Luwak with can always pick up a Nespresso Crystal Edition Coffee Machine. Decked out in 3,100 Swarovski crystals, it comes with a price tag of $4,000.

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer currently residing in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Time Out New YorkThe Huffington Post, and, among others. He has also written about Carré Otis and Celebrity Rehab, among other topics, for The Fix. 

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