Addiction is a chronic disease that affects brain function and behavior. Its similar to other recurring conditions, such as diabetes or asthma, in that it is treatable, though there is no cure. In general, the goal of addiction treatment is to help an individual to stop using, identify any co-occurring mental illnesses, and provide tools to navigate recovery and stay productive in relationships, work, and society. Yet, even in the best of circumstances, relapse is all too common. So whats the solution? It may just be a sober companion, someone who offers the extra layer of support that can make all the difference.

Relapse Realities

In returning to the stress and pressures of the real world after treatment, its easy to slip back into addictive behaviors. The difficulties are understandable, whether its returning to the same family circumstances, the same group of friends, the same routines; even living in the same area can be a trigger. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the relapse rate is 40 to 60 percent for substance use disorders. But that doesnt mean treatment has failed; it just means that you need support.

What is a Sober Companion?

In short, a sober companion (or recovery companion) guides individuals in their journey to remain or get clean. Most often, they help with the transition from treatment to home by encouraging healthy decisions and providing emotional support.

Beyond support after leaving treatment, sober companions may also help with getting an individual to a treatment center safely in the first place. You may also enlist a sober companion to travel with you for business as well as any other type of stressful event to keep you grounded and focused on sobriety. Or, maybe your loved one is years into recovery and needs some extra support.

The Benefits of Sober Companions

First and foremost, sober companions are there to help individuals navigate the complexities of the recovery journey. Other benefits include:

Theyve been where you are: In many cases, sober companions have been down the path of recovery themselves and have a long history of sobriety, so they genuinely understand the challenges youre facing throughout the journey.

You keep the accountability: Its essential that you take responsibility for your recovery—but a sober companion provides a safe landing with the ability to guide you, identify obstacles, and offer support when you need it most.

Open lines of communication: Even if your loved one is unable or unwilling to reach out, you can rest-assured the sober companion will partner with doctors, psychiatrists, and anyone on your recovery team to ensure the most appropriate level of care.

How Does It Work?

Sober companions can be available onsite with an individual for 24/7, around-the-clock support. Initially, they will remove any drugs or alcohol from the residence and help you or your loved one structure their day from grocery shopping to exercise to work, for example. They also keep an eye out for any troublesome situations or behaviors that may signal a slip. Sober companions are available short- or long-term. Although 30 days is the most common time frame, some engagements may last a few years, depending on the circumstances.

Do Your Due Diligence

Sober companion services are unregulated, meaning there are no minimum sobriety or training requirements here in the United States. Yet due to the high rate of relapse (and the potentially fatal ramifications), having a trained sober companion with specialist knowledge is crucial. They must be able to manage any situation that arises safely, and you must feel confident in their ability to do this.

As a specialist in addiction treatment and mental health issues, we ensure our sober companions are solid in their own recovery and knowledgeable in relapse prevention methods, coping skills, and crisis prevention. They also have an understanding of family systems and relationship dynamics, co-occurring disorders, medication risk and management, and maintaining healthy boundaries. This ensures that our clients have the best opportunity to remain sober and continue on the path to recovery.

For more information on our sober companion services, call 800-219-0570 or email info@heatherhayes.com today.