Sober Companions

sober companionIn a sober living home, situations often arise when a resident would like to attend a family, work or community event, but is concerned about their ability to remain sober. If the commitment is unavoidable or if the resident feels it is important they attend for therapeutic purposes, it may be in their best interest to bring a sober companion with them.

What Is a Sober Companion?

A sober companion can refer to a “buddy” who lives with you in the house who will help you to remain accountable for your actions and stay sober by attending the event with you, or it can refer to a professional addiction treatment specialist who provides the same service but with a higher degree of therapeutic assistance.

In most cases, the term “sober companion” refers to the latter. Having an addiction treatment specialist stand beside you during a stressful event can help you to stay focused on your reason for being in attendance and remind you of how far you have come and of all that you have to lose if you drink or get high. They may be able to:

  • Help you notice the physical or emotional signs that signify a potential relapse
  • Offer you an “escape” when you are trapped in a conversation or situation that is stressful and/or a potential trigger
  • Provide you with words of encouragement when you feel stressed out or tempted to relapse
  • Remind you of the pros and cons of making certain decisions and point out when you’re “on the edge”
  • Support you whether you need to leave or stay

Are Sober Companions Required at a Sober Living Home?

At some sober living homes, sober companions are often required escorts for all residents in early recovery if they leave the house for any reason – a social event, a 12-step meeting, a doctor’s appointment, a meal with a family member, etc. Even if the event itself is relatively protected or not a potential trigger, it may be the first time since active addiction that the patient has been alone and the sheer novelty of that fact may be enough to trigger a relapse.

Over time, however, as the resident becomes more comfortable in sobriety, they may no longer need a sober companion for all outings, though some may still prefer to have someone accompany them. Additionally, restrictions may be limited or altered as needed.

Is a Sober Companion Like a Babysitter?

No. A sober companion will not physically stop you from making any choice you want to make when you are away from the sober living home in the way that a babysitter might intervene with a child. You are free to do as you will, though there will certainly be consequences for breaking any rules – including drinking or using drugs – when you return to the house.

Will the Sober Companion Tell My Family, Coworkers or Friends Why They’re There?

No. You can simply introduce them as a friend and leave it at that. Your sober companion will not break your confidence in any way or discuss your recovery, past addiction, current issues, or medical history with anyone at all. Your business remains private. Your sober companion is simply there to help you remain strong in sobriety and avoid relapse.

Call the phone number listed above to learn more about sober companions and the other support options available to you in sober living.