Getting support can help people have a more successful and long-lasting recovery from addiction. Support can come from professionals, medical staff, family members, partners, and friends. Some people in recovery also choose to get the extra support that a sober companion can provide.
A sober companion is a person who has training, education, and sometimes personal experiences with addiction. They offer emotional and physical support to people in the early stages of addiction recovery. The work a sober companion does is very different from other kinds of support.
A sober companion will accompany people to events, be on call around the clock to help people when they’re unexpectedly triggered, and may even move into a person’s home if they are especially vulnerable. While a sober companion is paid to do this work, they are often passionate about supporting people in recovery because of their own experiences in overcoming addiction.
If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse or addiction, effective treatment and support are available to you. Reach out to the staff at New Jersey Addiction Interventions for information about how we can support you in recovery. We also work with families to provide the information and resources they need to cope with their loved one’s addiction.
How Can a Sober Companion Support Someone in Recovery?
For many people, the structure and schedule of an addiction treatment program can provide a sense of safety and predictability. Leaving rehab and returning to their daily lives may feel intimidating or uncomfortable. Often, people have unrealistic expectations of what life will be like once they are sober. They may imagine that their problems will disappear and they will not face setbacks or challenges.
The reality of life in recovery can be difficult for some. Relationship problems, stress, financial issues, and other troubles still exist. Some people find that their old friendships don’t support their recovery and may threaten their sobriety. Recovery can be lonely.
People who feel this way may have a hard time adjusting to recovery and need extra support in recovery. A sober companion can remind them of their coping skills, offer friendship, and guide them toward healthy behaviors that support sobriety.
A sober companion offers many types of emotional and physical support. Some of the benefits of having one include:
- Feeling less lonely
- Help to remember appointments or meetings
- A non-judgmental ear
- Advice and referrals to community resources
- A sober friend during social events
A sober companion has a primary goal of reducing a person’s risk of relapse. They do this by helping people use the skills they learned during treatment to make healthy choices and remain sober. They monitor their clients and hold them accountable while also acting as a peer counselor or life coach.
Qualities of a Good Sober Companion
Many sober companions are people who are in recovery. They not only work in the field–they are committed to supporting people struggling with addiction and feel personally invested in their success. In addition to knowing about helpful community resources, being reliable, and having great listening skills, a sober companion should also have other important qualities. To give good support and provide high-quality services, the person should be:
- Sober: Your sober companion should be wholly committed to sobriety and regularly engage in recovery-related activities. They should have several years of sobriety behind them so they can offer the benefit of their experience to their clients.
- Trustworthy: You should feel comfortable and safe with your sober companion. This is a person who will be with you when you are vulnerable and may spend significant periods in your home. They may go through your personal belongings. You must also trust your sober companion enough to be open and honest about your emotions and behaviors.
- Accountable: Your sober companion must show up when they say they will and be upfront about what services they can and cannot offer. If your sober companion cannot support you as promised, they should provide an alternative solution.
Your sober companion may be an important part of your recovery journey. You must feel comfortable with their personality and experience before hiring them to provide these important services.
How to Choose a Supportive Sober Companion
Each person in recovery has a different lifestyle and different needs. Several types of sober companions offer a range of varying services. Three of the most common types are:
- Live-in: This type of companion temporarily moves into your home to offer the highest level of support. To hold you accountable, the sober companion may regularly search your personal belongings for drugs or paraphernalia.
- On-call: Sometimes called “sober coaches”, this kind of sober companion is available for support as needed. They may offer both in-person and virtual or phone support.
- Escort-based: This kind of companion will accompany you to events that might be triggering, such as family holiday celebrations, weddings, or work events.
You can find a sober companion by contacting local addiction treatment facilities, inquiring at 12-step meetings, or asking for referrals from your addiction specialists and facility staff. Finding a good sober companion may be an important part of the aftercare planning you do during treatment.
Find a Sober Companion For Yourself or a Loved One Today
If you or a loved one needs comprehensive addiction treatment or support at any stage of your recovery, please reach out to the staff at New Jersey Addiction Interventions. We offer a variety of programs and services designed to empower people as they overcome addiction. In addition to our treatment programs, we offer support to the family and loved ones of people living with addiction.
Addiction can feel lonely, but you do not have to manage this alone. Reach out to our staff today to learn more about how we can support you.
Medically Reviewed: March 7, 2022
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.