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By Jamie P | 07 October, 2019 Published in Guides
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The recovery road is challenging. Going it alone is definately more problematic than having a solid support network of knowledgable people who have already succeeded in their recovery.

Recovery is particularly difficult if you don’t surround yourself with a supportive team of people, you may easily slide back into the days of addiction past.

This is the key reason why support groups such as Alcoholics’ Anonymous and SMART Recovery work.

Attaining the help of other people is far more important than ‘seeking out a higher power’ or learning about the latest cognitive behaviour therapy insight.

Statistics indicate that almost 6 out of 10 recovering addicts’ relapses to drug dependence due to lack of emotional support [1].

Insecurity and loneliness are among the leading causes of relapse into addiction. [2]

That’s why most rehabilitation centres recommend you get yourself a sober companion.

A sober companion will help you with the transition until you can stand on your own in the world.

Who is a Sober Companion?

By definition, a sober companion is someone to guide a client along the recovery road from various addictions. They provide both emotional and physical support to help the client stay committed to the recovery journey.

Many people who volunteer as sober companions are usually on the recovery road themselves. They have been through the ups and downs, too, but boast of a long history of sobriety.

They are willing to help others overcome the assailing nightmares freely. And you are going to feel the same too after you make it through the recovery journey.

But not all sober companions are volunteers. Some are paid positions. Hollywood celebrities, for example, have been known to hire sobriety coaches on huge salaries.

You will see these sober companions driving the celebrity around as they talk about recovery.

While such recovery coaches may not be for everyone, the emotional and physical support they provide can help addicts recover [3]. The reason is that the mind is a complex system.

Sometimes it’s difficult to quieten those little demonic urges and voices. Therefore, no matter how strong you may think you are, everyone needs help sometimes.

And especially for recovering addicts, emotional and physical support may mean the difference between you overcoming an addiction or slipping back into a junkie!

What to Expect from Your Sober Companion?

Basically, sober companions get hired for their physical and emotional support. They grace the client with their presence both at home and during social outings.

Their presence is not only for companionship but also to remind the clients to stay committed to the recovery road. Sober companions can help their clients with the following.

  • They may accompany the client’s home and provide physical support when needed
  • Actively prevent the client from relapsing by searching the home for drugs. They can also accompany the client to social outings to keep an eye on them
  •  Accompanying clients to 12-step meetings
  • Help the client ease back into the world by regaining confidence, and social skills drugs and alcohol dependence took away
  • Ensuring the client does not feel lonely -loneliness is among the top causes of relapse

What Sober Companions Say about the Job?

They do not only tend to Hollywood A-listers

While the profession gained notoriety with the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and Mathew Perry as they hired sobriety coaches to help them deal with substance abuse problems, sober companions say they now get calls from everywhere.

From the CEO who is required to entertain clients but stay sober at the same time, to the lawyer who wants to keep off the airport bar while on a work trip, anybody who’s getting back to their life after rehab needs the added structure and support provided by sober companions; says Nanette Zumwalt who owns a sober companion company in Huntington Beach, Ca.

It’s a combination of many things

According to Stephanie Diani of the New York Times [4], a sober companion is like a big brother, baby sitter, and spiritual guide rolled into one.

They make use of both mental and physical techniques such as motivation, exercises, and prayer to keep their clients off those drugs and alcohol.

Behavioural therapy, such as motivational, family, and 12-step support, has been known to help treat drug addiction [5].

Why trust matters

To help a client abstain from drugs and establish healthy routines, the sober companions need to access the client’s social circle and innermost thoughts.

They also need to access the client’s home and actively inspect it for drugs and illegal substances or any other items that may act as triggers.

Recovering addicts’ value their privacy too. In fact, the reason most addicts will check out of the rehab centre has to do with the feeling of their privacy getting violated.

Choosing a Sober Companion

Getting the right type of help is essential for recovery. The profession, however, is unregulated, with no medical and training standards.

Therefore you have to ask for help vetting some of these sobriety coaches.

Most people who offer sober companionship services are recovering addicts themselves but with a long history of sobriety. Others are professional rehabilitation specialists. It’s therefore advisable to:

  • Hire through your treatment centre where they can get vetted
  • Consider your insurance – can it cover the cost, or you might need to ask for assistance from the rehab centre?
  • Consider the level of service you want – do you need someone to drive you around and talk about recovery, or you need full-time maid services?

Based on the services you require, you can choose between the various types of sober companions available. Here’s a breakdown.

Types of Sober Companions

Sober companions are essentially hired physical and emotional support.

They are like therapists and life coaches, with the only difference is they actively intervene in their client’s life -living in, accompanying in social gatherings, and more.

Various types of social companions include:

  • On-Call – In case you need some assistance while on your recovery journey but are unable to hire a live-in sobriety coach. On-Call sober companions are always available on-demand in case you get assailed by those nightmares. You can talk to them via the phone, or they can visit you and help you overcome the craving
  • Live-In – These specialists will move in with the client for both emotional and physical support. They are known for their active intervention, such as looking for drugs around the home. Other additional maid services include cooking and cleaning, depending on the services hired
  • Escort-Based – Just someone to drive you around and talk about recovery. They will accompany the client to social gatherings ensuring he/she doesn’t partake in drugs and alcohol

All sober companions can be broadly categorized into 12-step or non-12 step.

The 12-step sober companions usually make use of the spiritual guidelines of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program to help clients break the addiction and adopt healthy routines.

They are usually part of the AA group and help the client integrate into the group too.

Their tools of use are motivational self-help books and the serenity prayers.

Non-12-step sober companions, on the other hand, are not affiliated with any AA group. You may only get connected to them via the rehab centre of the halfway recovery house.

In retrospect, from providing emotional and physical support to holding the client accountable every hour of every day their presence is around, sober companions help clients overcome those inner demons to relapse into the days of addiction past.

Whether the sober companion’s services come at a fee or voluntarily, it’s essential for going through the recovery road successfully. Let those long and warm hugs help you build oxytocin necessary for warm feelings.

Sources:

1.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553654/

2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-choice/201411/addiction-disease-isolation

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21916630/

4. https://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/15/fashion/15sober.html

5. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behaviour-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

 

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