By definition, addiction is known to be the continuous abuse of substances without regard for the harm caused to oneself. Any individual, who has attempted to intervene with the intention of helping an addict while he or she is suffering from substance abuse, understands the egocentricity exhibited by the addict. More often than not, an individual who struggles with addiction does not have much empathy for the pain their choices may inflict on the people who surround them, nor are they able to pay much mind to the emotional and physiological havoc they wreak to themselves. Even though some addicted individuals have networks of people that love and want to support them, more often than not these peripheral people are ill-equipped and do not possess the proper psychological tools needed to help an addict battle his or her addiction.
Utilizing the expertise of sober companion is an excellent option to help an individual struggling with addiction. A sober companion’s primary job is to make sure that an individual abstains from ingesting any alcohol or drugs. Typically, sober companions are hired by addicted individuals to help during transitional times. For example, an individual may benefit from the company of a sober companion after the successful completion of an inpatient detoxification program when the individual is traveling to a subsequent treatment facility. The time spent with a sober companion varies and depends on the individual and his or her personal needs during the fragile time that is the beginning of his or her sobriety. A sober companion can be hired to simply visit an individual at home for short periods of time, or they could be hired to spend seven days a week with the individual. Each person is different and may require and benefit from different lengths of time with a sober companion. The detoxification process and many substance abuse rehabilitation programs can be grueling and demand hard work from the participant; running the risk of relapsing during the fragile time surrounding the completion of these programs is simply too high a cost.
Who Uses Sober Companions
A sober companion can be an appropriate helper for most situations connected to individuals who are recovering from substance abuse and addiction. Most commonly, however sober companions are relied upon by individuals who have struggled with maintaining his or her sobriety in the past, and require more hands-on support. The cost of sober companions can be rather high; hence individuals with discretionary income will often utilize their services. Due to the nature of the job, sober companions are typically unable to take on multiple clients simultaneously, as they are required to provide extremely intensive care and must be focused on serving a singular client.
There are many possible services a sober companion may be able to provide for an individual struggling with addiction. The protocols for a sober companion are usually established as soon as possible with a client, his or her family and/or friends so as to make sure there are no unmet expectations. Each individual will receive a unique experience, as the sober companion’s primary duty is to ensure the recovering individual does not relapse. There are a myriad of ways sober companions can be beneficial, some of which include the following:
They can encourage fitness and wellness routines
They can help with transportation to appointments and/or meetings
They can help an individual plan a healthy diet
They will help with sober living space preparations
They can help to develop daily practices that will help prevent relapse
They can encourage regular sleep habits
They can help one develop a network of positive people who will support an individual throughout his or her recovery process
They are there to talk with and share concerns with
They will encourage actions that build self-esteem
They will encourage participation in the activities related to one’s recovery community
The companion also acts as an advocate for the individual and can help with providing new ways to help the individual reintegrate into his or her life. Depending on the individual, a sober companion may be asked to search for hidden drugs in their client’s own environment, or be with the individual as he or she is completely removed from any hidden stash temptations, in an effort to restrain a client and prevent them from relapsing. A sober companion may be hired to provide round the clock care, be on-call, or to accompany the recovering addict during particular activities. It all depends on what will be most helpful for the individual’s recovery process.
Sober Companion Roles
Depending on each individual, the specific roles of a sober companion may vary. Some of the common roles, however, can include any combination of the following:
Help the client identify areas that may present roadblocks to continued abstinence from the ingestion of substances
Provide transportation for the individual to and from any location throughout the day
Ensure a drug-free environment
Explore areas where the individual has little or no experience staying clean
Help to boost an individual’s confidence by providing him or her with new experiences in situations that previously led to relapse
By nature of the consistent presence of a sober companion, he or she is able to provide support and challenge a newly sober individual to make positive lifestyle changes, to allow for a better quality of life.
Who Are Sober Companions
Most often, sober companions are not therapists, sponsors, nurses, or doctors, but they will help an individual select the appropriate professionals who will properly assist in one’s recovery. The sober companion will work closely with the professionals to ensure a cohesive treatment plan. Sober companions come from a variety of backgrounds, differing educational experiences and varying social classes. The relationship fostered between a sober companion and his or her clients runs deep. It is essential when selecting a sober companion to make sure that he or she is a good fit and meets the criteria and availability desired by the recovering addict, as it is can be a fragile and vulnerable time.