Sober companions, sober coaches, or recovery coaches are increasingly common in the world of addiction therapy, and if you or a loved one is contemplating therapy, you might be wondering what they are. Sober companions are essentially persons who are sent home with recovering addicts to help them re-acclimate into life, and to ensure that they do not use or relapse during the initial reaction phase. This is important, because data shows that as many as 90% or more addicts leave rehabilitation and head straight for drugs or alcohol. The assistance of a sober companion can help to prevent it entirely by providing support, accountability, and physical guidance. In other cases, a sober companion may function to help with outpatient rehabilitation therapy and sustained recovery. While a sober companion is not the right choice for everyone, many rehabilitation treatment centers are increasingly offering the service to help their patients acclimate back into their life, and to make changes to ensure that they can stay clean or sober.
What Does a Sober Companion Do?
In most cases, a sober companion is just that, a companion. The person will accompany you from the rehabilitation center to your home, will help you settle in, and depending on your wishes, will either live with you or will visit or call in each day. In most cases, this arrangement will last a minimum of 30 days, giving you time to adjust, giving you assistance, and ensuring that you have a companion while you adjust to life without drugs or alcohol. In most cases, sober companions will offer a variety of services, with the primary function of preventing you from using. In some cases, your sober companion may search your house, check for stashes, and may accompany you everywhere to ensure that you do not purchase or use drugs or alcohol. You can also rely on them when you face triggers, when you have cravings, and when you need help to prevent yourself from relapsing.
Types of Assistance
There are multiple types of assistance that you can get from a sober companion, and it is typically up to you which you choose.
Live-In – A live-in sober companion will move in with you when you leave rehab or when you begin outpatient treatment, will ensure that you do not have substances in your home, and will help you around the home. In some cases, your sober companion will help with nutrition, and may offer cleaning or maid services, but for the most part, their primary goal is to keep you on track and away from substance abuse. Some sober coaches will also provide in-depth care to help you create a functional schedule for yourself that involves self-care, work, good nutrition, exercise, and activities for your mental health. Most will also be available to listen to you, to talk to when you need it, and talk you out of.
On-Call – On-call sober companions are available on-demand, when you call them and ask them to come over. This allows you to get support, assistance, and an escort when you need it, without having to share your living space with someone you don’t know. However, you typically get fewer services with this option.
Escort – An escort sober companion will be available to escort you to and from your work, to meet your family, to sobriety group meetings, or to your therapist. Their goal is to keep you company, to prevent you from purchasing drugs or alcohol, and to assist you with triggers, finding help, and integrating into a sober community.
With 12-Step – Sober companions can be part of 12-step groups, and in this case, they will typically help you integrate into a group. This may mean that they are a member, or it may mean that they will help you find and join a local group, help you with the first few meetings, and escort you to and from meetings.
Non-12-Step – Non-12-step sober companions can help you to find local sobriety groups, can help you to find sober friends, and can help you to function on your own.
How Does a Sober Companion Help?
A sober companion can help in many ways, depending on the person helping and your needs. In some cases, their exact services will fully depend on who you hire and where you hire them from.
Accountability – A sober companion exists to hold you accountable, by serving to remind you to stay sober. Accountability can greatly boost your ability to stay clean or sober, because you have someone setting a standard for you.
Physical Removal of Drugs and Alcohol – Most sober companions will take drugs or alcohol they find and destroy or dispose of them. This can involve searching your home, can involve taking substances you have just purchased and flushing them, and can involve forcing you away from places where you can purchase substances.
Escort – Most sober companions will escort you to and from work, therapy, and group meetings, to ensure that you get there and that you avoid drugs or alcohol. This type of escort is typically no longer than the first 30 days.
Assistance – Sober companions may help you integrate back into work, may help you with household chores, may help you with groceries, and may even help you with talking to your family. However, these services depend on the companion providing the services.
Support – Your sober companion will support you through your recovery, will ensure that you always have someone to talk to, and will talk you down when you are experiencing cravings or triggers. This can include extensive emotional support, which can be very helpful during recovery.
Nutrition Assistance – In some cases, your sober companion will help you to create a healthy eating habit designed to help you balance your nutritional intake. It’s important to ask what services the sober companion provides before hiring them.
What Do I Need to Know About Hiring a Sober Companion?
While sober companions are increasingly common around the USA, there are many things to watch out for and to consider. The first and most important is that there are no real studies showing the efficacy of sober companions. The second is that with no set standards and no specific training for sober companions, quality can and does vary from companion to companion. For this reason, it’s important to hire through a reputable source, such as through your treatment center. In some cases, your insurance may not cover the cost of a sober companion, although they may if it is included as part of your recovery program. Finally, one of the largest concerns of hiring a sober companion is relying too much on a single individual to help you to stay sober. It is important that you develop skills and learn to rely on yourself, so that you don’t relapse as soon as your sober companion leaves. However, sober companions can help you to adjust to your life, to change your habits so that you stay clean, and can help you to stay clean or sober after leaving inpatient treatment or during outpatient treatment. If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance addiction, it is important that you seek help. A sober companion is not a replacement for treatment, but can help to supplement treatment, to help you stay clean or sober while you get back on your feet. The Oceanfront Recovery Addiction Treatment Program can help you or your loved one through the process of recovery from substance abuse addiction or recovery from alcoholism. Our passionate clinicians focus on bringing the underlying causes of addiction to the surface with a modern and effective recovery program. Contact us at Oceanfront Recovery today for a confidential assessment with no obligation.