Sober Companion Services
For some people relapse is part of the recovery process, so it is a valid concern — especially once you’re back at home. Thankfully there are resources available that can help reduce the risk of relapse: sober companions.
When you’re in formal treatment — whether inpatient or outpatient — there is a structure and routine to your days. Leaving that routine can feel scary and it’s normal to feel apprehensive about going home. It may feel like it will be harder to stay clean and sober once you return to your day-to-day life and you may worry about undoing all of your hard work.
What is a Sober Companion?
A sober companion is an individual whose job is to support you on your recovery journey. Sometimes referred to as sober escorts or recovery coaches, often, sober companions are an invaluable resource to those in early recovery whose sober skillset may not be honed enough to navigate their everyday lives without drugs or alcohol.
While friends and family may be supportive of your recovery efforts, often they may not understand that just because you have left treatment doesn’t mean that your recovery journey is over. Sober companions, on the other hand, understand the process and can provide the support that many in early recovery often need to establish a solid foundation in sobriety.
Sober companions can be either full-time residential companions who live with you during the first days and weeks after you leave treatment, part-time, or on-call as needed. Whether the sober companion is with you for part or all of the day, they can offer support, advice, and can also help you avoid temptations that might trigger a relapse.
What to Expect From a Sober Companion
- Companionship — Isolation is one of the primary conditions that lead to relapse. Sober companions are there to provide crucial emotional support, which can be key to maintaining sobriety — especially early on. This emotional support can include talking you through triggers, recommending when you should call your counselor or go to a meeting, and providing unbiased, nonjudgmental advice.
- Relapse prevention — Sober companions’ primary focus is to help prevent relapse. This may involve accompanying you when you go out to ensure that you don’t purchase drugs or alcohol. It may also involve ensuring that there are no hidden stashes of drugs or alcohol in your home.
- Accountability — Sober companions help you stay on track by holding you accountable. Having a person who is there in your corner will may it more difficult for you to succumb to triggers or urges to relapse.
- Assistance — Depending on your specific needs, a sober companion can help keep you on track by reminding you of upcoming appointments and helping you get to them. They can also provide encouragement to get to meetings, and connect you with a larger peer support network.
Who Is a Good Fit for a Sober Companion?
Whether or not you need a sober companion is ultimately up to you, though your therapist or treatment team may recommend that you get one. When considering who is a good fit for a sober companion, there are some important factors to keep in mind.
Does your home environment support your sobriety? If you lack a support network at home, or if the people in your life are still actively using, a sober companion may be a good choice.
Do you have reliable transportation? Sober companions can also act as sober escorts, getting you to and from group meetings, outpatient drug rehab, and other follow up appointments.
Do you have co-occurring disorders? One great benefit to a sober companion is the ability to provide extensive support for people struggling with mental health disorders, in addition to addiction recovery.
Have you relapsed in the past? Relapse is often a part of the recovery process. But if you have a difficult time maintaining your sobriety after treatment, sober companions are an invaluable tool to help prevent future relapse.
What to Look for in a Sober Companion
- Affordability — Sober companions are professionals who are there to help you navigate the waters of early sobriety. However, depending on when you’ll need them — and for how long — the cost can vary considerably.
- Availability — Depending on your individual needs, you’ll want to consider whether you need a live-in companion or one that can support you during periods when you may be more prone to experiencing triggers — or somewhere in-between. Make sure that your companion is available when you need them.
- Experience — Sober companions are not just professionals, they are also people who, very often, are in recovery themselves. It’s often helpful to consider your sober companion has a type of mentor — and age and experience can go a long way toward establishing that rapport. Additionally, someone that seems to be enjoying their life in recovery can be a positive influence for you.
- Value alignment — It can be helpful to have a companion who shares your values and subscribes to the same recovery tenets that you do. Some companions may be proponents of 12-Step principles while others may take a wholly different approach. Choose a companion whose values and practices align with yours.
Benefits of a Sober Companion
- Offering motivational support — Sober companions can provide motivation through the transitional stages from formal treatment back to day-to-day life.
- Providing structure — Oftentimes, in a quest to “keep busy,” people in early recovery take on too much at once and forget to put recovery first. Sober companions can help you establish a routine that is sobriety-focused.
- Developing healthy habits — Sober companions can help you learn and maintain healthy habits that can support your continued recovery.
- Relapse prevention — For individuals who have had a difficult time maintaining sobriety and have experienced relapses in the past, sober companions can help mitigate future relapse risk.