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Sober Companions: What Role Do They Play In Addiction Recovery?

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Time spent in a rehabilitation center is critical for an addict who is trying to recover from addiction, whether that was to illicit drugs or alcohol. A sober companion may be advised to accompany these individuals when pink cloud sobriety ends and they are returning back home from the rehab. The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that between 40% and 60% of patients admitted to a drug rehab will relapse after they are released. Read further to know the role of personal companions during recovery and aftercare, and how they can reduce the risk of relapse?

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Table of Contents:

What Is A Sober Companion?

A sober companion may sometimes also be referred to in different ways. Whether talking about a sober companion or a sober coach, these are individuals that will accompany a person on their journey toward continued sobriety and recovery after a residential program was completed in a rehabilitation center.
For many people, the idea of leaving the rehabilitation facility and entering an environment that can enable their addiction can be frightening. This is especially a concern when the person will be surrounded by others who might have drink alcohol or use illicit drugs. The idea of a recovery buddy is to provide the patient with the support they need to ensure they keep on the path of sobriety.
sober companion and patient joining hands together
Thus, when looking at a question like what a sober coach is and whether or not such support would be needed, it is important to consider the surroundings of the person when they leave the rehab. It is also important to consider the risk of relapse that they present. In many cases, sober coaches are something that a person can choose on their own. However, sometimes sober coaches can be advised by psychologists.

Sober Companion Services

A person providing support to a patient who is undergoing addiction recovery can act as a therapeutic companion. These people are often trained to ensure they have the skills needed to provide the addict undergoing recovery with the right type of support to effectively prevent a relapse.

It is important to note that a sober buddy is not only useful for preventing relapse in a person who has undergone a recovery program at a rehabilitation facility for addiction. The National Alliance on Mental Illness explains that an estimated 50% of those who suffer from a mental illness like depression will turn to certain types of substances, including drugs and alcohol, at some point.
Some services that may be offered by a sober companion could include:

  • Offer 24/7 supervision to the patient leaving the rehab
  • Daytime overseeing of the individual’s whereabouts
  • Provide support when the patient feels the need to talk or have an urge to relapse
  • Be on-call at times when not with the patient
  • Ensuring the individual adhere to fitness or nutritional guidelines that were established
  • Ensuring patient adherence to medication therapy

Thus, a large number of individuals who are recovering from an addiction will likely also experience signs of depression and other mental illnesses. The sober living companion that may be assigned to the individual will also often be able to assist with these problems. They will offer the person someone to talk to when needed. They will also offer a support system that may be useful for the individual to recover successfully and to manage depression, anxiety, and related symptoms effectively.

Differences Between A Sober Escort & Companion

When looking to have someone accompany a patient on their way home and provide them with support during the initial months after they have gone through a rehabilitation program, it is important to note that there are two types of services offered. Sober escorts and sober companions are terms that will often be used in this context, but these are not the same professionals. It should, however, be noted that there are cases where sober companions may act as escorts as well.
recovery buddies sitting in the car
When someone is looking for sober companion jobs, they are specifically looking to offer in-house support for people who are going through a recovery phase at home. There are times where the sober buddy program may provide a professional to live with a recovering addict for a period of time. In other cases, they may only be with the patient during the day and have their own local accommodation.
An escort companion will be responsible for accompanying the patient back to the rehabilitation facility for checkups, counseling sessions, and perhaps to pick up medication used in their SUD treatment program.

Sober Companion Prices

Sober companion prices vary quite a lot, as there are several factors that need to be taken into account when the services of such a person are utilized. In most cases, sober companion cost will be based on a day-to-day basis and will depend on whether the professional needs to reside with the patient or only provide support during the day.
Sober companion services will usually range from $750 up to $1000 per day. There are cases where these professional companions may charge as much as $1900 per day. In these cases, the patient may be more demanding, and the individual may be more experienced.

What To Expect From A Sober Companion?

Utilizing sober coaching services places a stranger into the patient’s home while they are recovering. It is important to take note that these professionals are trained and have specific functions that they will serve at the recovering addict’s place of residence. There are, however, different types of companions. A 12 steps companion may take advantage of a more additional approach to recovery. On the other hand, there are also companions who may rather take a more holistic approach and introduce the patient to acupuncture for alcohol addiction, therapeutic musical sessions or adventure therapy activities and other techniques that can help them steer clear of relapse.
sober companions having a walk outdoors
The companion will ensure any alcohol and drugs are removed from the place where the recovering addict will reside after being released from the rehabilitation facility. The buddy will also ensure they take note of any behaviors that may indicate a relapse or an urge to go back to old habits while they provide the individual with support during the aftercare period.

Additionally, the sober companion will also ensure that the patient remains on the path that was set out for them by the psychologists and other care providers who looked after them while they were in the rehab. These professionals are also responsible for ensuring the person who is undergoing recovery does not associate with people who may have a bad influence on them, and they will assist with the process of recovering bonds with loved ones, including family members.
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View Sources
  1. Alexandre B. Laudet, Robert Savage,Daneyal Mahmood, Pathways to Long-Term Recovery: A Preliminary Investigation, Pathways to Long-Term Recovery: A Preliminary Investigation, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition), https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/how-effective-drug-addiction-treatment
  3. Sober companion, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sober_companion
Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Ahmed Zayed, MD

About Author

Dr. Ahmed Zayed

Dr. Ahmed Zayed is a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery. He is graduated from the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed Zayed has a passion for writing medical and health care articles and focuses on providing engaging and trustworthy information to readers.

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