A sober companion is an individual who helps those in recovery adjust back into life, and works to promote their sobriety by offering both emotional and physical support. Essentially, this person’s job is to prevent someone new to recovery from relapsing during this critical and challenging period. For some, a person who cultivates this level of accountability may be essential to keep them on the right path in the months following addiction treatment.
Completing a rehab program and returning to the real world can be daunting. Many individuals in treatment dread going from a secure and supported environment back into the same conditions they were in when they started abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Sober companions, also referred to as recovery coaches, are used by many people to help during the transition process between rehab and reacclimate back into their lives. Although sober companions may not work for everyone, they tend to be very beneficial for many people in recovery.
What Does a Sober Companion Do?
Companionship – Sober companions may be ideal for people who live alone, remain estranged from family or friends, or who otherwise lack emotional support in the world. A sober companion should have meaningful conversations with the person being supported about current mental health status, help them get through cravings, and provide companionship. This also includes emotional support when the newly-sober person encounters triggers and stressors, as well as guidance when it is needed most.
Relapse Prevention – Sober companions also actively strive to help others avoid relapse. This may entail monitoring the home and surroundings for drugs, alcohol, or potential triggers. It may also include accompanying an individual when they go out to prevent him or her from trying to acquire substances.
Sober companions may also accompany the person whom they are supported to 12-step meetings and help them stay strong when conditions that may promote relapse are looming. For the most part, a sober companion should remain by the other person’s side as much as possible and work to prevent him or her from relapsing. In addition to meetings, they may also accompany others to see therapists, counselors, and generally act as a valued friend and supporter.
There are three main kinds of sober companions from which to choose, including the following:
Live-In – Live-in companions move into the other person’s residence or sober living home. The sober companion will immediately search the home for substances and drug paraphernalia and dispose of any that are found.
Depending on the person, a live-in companion may provide additional services. He or she may devise a personalized daily schedule for the other person that includes nutrition, exercise, meditation, self-care, and other beneficial activities.
On-Call – Some people are not able to hire a live-in companion due to time, insurance, money, living arrangements, or other constraints. Others prefer not to have someone meddling in their business around-the-clock, regardless of whether it would be beneficial for them or not. For these reasons and others, on-call companions are also an option.
On-call companions are usually available on-demand and can be contacted and asked to provide support as needed. This kind of sober companion may be excellent if a person primarily needs occasional help coping with cravings or triggers but don’t necessarily need someone sharing his or her personal living space 24/7.
Escort-Based – Escort-based sober companions typically serve to prevent people from obtaining substances as they travel away from home for work-related business, vacation, etc. This type of sober companion may be ideal if for a person who does not trust him or herself when left to their own devices but also doesn’t require much support outside of family and friends.
12-Step Group and Other Sober Companions
Those who are participating in a 12-step or other group support program may be able to enlist a sober companion who is a member of the fellowship. In this instance, the sober companion will help to integrate the person needing support into the group and escort him or her to and from meetings. Other sober companions outside of group support programs are likely to be associated with an addiction treatment center or halfway house.
Benefits of Obtaining a Sober Companion
Sober companions can offer many benefits and help others achieve stability faster by preventing relapse. However, services provided by a sober companion may vary significantly depending on the individuals, as will their training, skills, and qualifications for the role.
In general, however, a sober companion should provide the following:
Emotional Support – Emotional support is a vital part of staying motivated and willing to push through challenges, such as cravings and triggers. When a person has another to talk to who can listen in a non-judgmental way, this can considerably improve one’s outlook and ability to resist temptation when things get difficult. Sober companions can fill this role well, and many will be qualified to offer basic counseling or psycho-emotional support.
Social Accountability – The job of a sober companion is to hold another person accountable for staying clean or sober. They may stay at a person’s side for 30 days or longer, and will often become a true friend. This connection makes relapse harder due to feelings of accountability and guilt upon relapse. The supported person will, therefore, have increased motivation to remain sober.
Accountability is a critical factor in recovery, and one of the main reasons why 12-step group programs are so successful. Being accountable for one’s actions motivates individuals to stay on the up-and-up for both themselves and others who have worked hard to help keep them sober.
Prevention of Drug Use – Sober companions often provide some level of physical support as well, which can range from seizing drugs and alcohol to acting as an escort when the other person needs to leave the house. Overall, this makes relapse less likely, and failure is not really an option.
Other Considerations: Insurance and Level of Service
Unfortunately, not everyone will have insurance that will cover the cost of a sober companion. People who are interested in using a sober companion should call their insurance company in advance to determine which rehab services are in-network or ask their current treatment center for help.
Sober companions can offer anything from cooking and full maid services to minimal support. People are encouraged to look for a solution that meets their individual needs while allowing them to grow and progress throughout recovery with some level of autonomy when appropriate.
A sober companion can be extremely beneficial during the transition between addiction treatment completion and getting back to normal life. He or she can also be vital in preventing relapse during outpatient treatment.
Of utmost importance, however, it is critical to realize that sober companions are never an adequate replacement for professional treatment. Instead, a good companion will offer emotional support. They can help another to stay clean while he or she adjusts, learn to deal with daily life again, and continue their journey into recovery and beyond.
The first step to sobriety for many individuals is to undergo professional treatment in a rehab facility. Just Believe Recovery offers inpatient detox, as well as comprehensive care and programs that feature evidence-based services, including psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. We seek to address all aspects of a person’s emotional and physical health, as well as their addiction and all the factors that contribute to it.
Call us today if you are ready to free yourself from the chains of addiction and reclaim the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!