Addiction Recovery Coaches And Sober Companions
Medically reviewed byDr. Richard Foster, LICDC-CS
March 5, 2019
The time after an individual leaves rehab is a very critical time in their recovery as they have to adjust back to daily life and stress that can lead them back down the road to relapse. Having a recovery coach or sober companion can help individuals stay sober and have a lasting recovery.
You often hear that sobriety is only the first step, and that recovery is a journey. This is often repeated because it’s true. Becoming sober takes a massive amount of perseverance and hard work, but so does the time afterward. The time after a person leaves recovery, especially at the onset, is often very difficult and fraught with temptation and daunting emotions. This is a very crucial time, as this is when many people choose to relapse. It can be very hard to encounter this period alone.
For this reason, having a network of resources and aid may be immensely important to a person’s success. Even the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes the importance of recovery support, asserting that “Recovery support services help people enter into and navigate systems of care, remove barriers to recovery, stay engaged in the recovery process, and live full lives in communities of their choice.” Many people experience the great benefit of employing the services of Addiction Recovery Coaches and/or Sober Companions to help guide, direct, and encourage them along their journey.
What Is An Addiction Recovery Coach?
Even after learning a diversity of coping and life skills, many people may find that they struggle to connect the dots and implement them once they’re back within the demands of their now sober life. Struck with the reality of their family, educational pursuits, and/or work responsibilities, many people may struggle to maintain the morale and hope they felt so readily towards the end of their time within treatment.
A Recovery Coach, may or may not be a peer, that is to say, that in many instances, they are individuals who have successfully overcome addiction and are actively undergoing their own recovery journey.
The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) says that “A Recovery Coach is anyone interested in promoting recovery by removing barriers and obstacles to recovery by serving as a personal guide and mentor for people seeking or in recovery.”
This private service, also known as sober coaching, may mean the difference between success and continued perseverance, and backsliding into the harmful and negative patterns of drug or alcohol abuse. These services vary from other supportive approaches that you may have encountered within, and even after treatment, such as therapy or counseling. Recovery coaching does not look back on past events, instead it encourages you to be mindful in the present, and forward-thinking for the future. Recovery Coaches will help you to identify any current issues you have within your life that may be hindering your progress towards a more healthful and balanced state.
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The Addictions Coach, a comprehensive resource for finding professional individuals who provide recovery support and guidance, succinctly explains the role of an Addiction Recovery Coach, as a person who works with you towards “creating the perfect blend of guidance, information, accountability and oversight, all of which molded to the client individually.”
This access to individualized care and support garners a more focused and optimistic pursuit of your recovery, while helping you to contend with the rigors of your day-to-day life. These coaches don’t always work in person. They are often poised to help those whose location doesn’t allow them face-to-face, or continual access to a Coach, by offering support via the phone, or various internet-based services.
During coaching, you will receive:
- Access to an active, non-judgmental listener
- Someone that believes in your ability to change
- Motivation and encouragement
- A sense of renewed purpose and excitement for your life
- Balancing or replacing negative emotions with positive ones
- Help learning healthy ways of dealing with stress and anxiety
- Care that can address the needs of any co-occurring disorders
- Direction in setting and obtaining realistic and positive goals
- Help to create a more healthful and supportive social sphere
- Help in resolving any issues within your family, and direction towards making amendments
- Increased interpersonal skills
- An example of a sober life and recovery journey (if they are a peer mentor)
- Aid in identifying either negative patterns of behavior and changing them, or positive patterns of behavior and reinforcing them
- Help to recognize and avoid or cope with triggers or other negative influences
- Enhanced problem-solving skills
- Insight that “Provides stage-appropriate recovery information,” according to the NAADAC
- Connection to recovery options and support systems
- The benefit of a person who already has connections in the recovery community
- Guidance from a person who intimately understands how to make their way through the system of care
- Someone who will represent you and advocate for your needs when the time arises
- A sounding board on your current lifestyle and help to develop a better one
- Guidance that illustrates good choices that can positively impact your life
These coaches can also help you with specific needs that are individual to your life and circumstances, including concern regarding your finances and budgetary needs, issues revolving around work- or school-related tasks and responsibilities, any criminal issues that you may be contending with due to your drug or alcohol use; or for those with high-profile needs, contending with any negative focus or publicity surrounding your abuse or addiction.
Understanding The Role Of A Sober Companion
One facet of a person’s life that in most cases is sure to change, is their circle of friends. As drugs and alcohol increasingly take hold over a person’s life, they commonly push away their well-meaning and supportive loved ones, and instead replace them with “friends” that also use or actually provide the substance of abuse. The unfortunate thing to this is, that once a person finds sobriety, they may experience a sense of loneliness or isolation, as they struggle to reconnect with individuals with whom they severed relationships with, or to make new and sober friends.
Even if you have a good support system, chances are your friends and family may not be able to be present to the extent that you may need. In many cases, they may be able to be more readily accessible in the beginning of your recovery, only to have to step back as they don’t have the time to commit to spending consistent amounts of time with you. What to do?
For those whose finances allow, there are sober companions. You may have heard them referred to as Travel Companions, Sober Escorts, or even Recovery Assistants. The Addictions Coach sums up their role and benefit, citing that they “truly understand and can relate to addictive tendencies, cravings, behaviors, common manipulation tactics and more.” This can be of great benefit to a person newly in recovery, or a person well into their recovery who is fearful of relapse, as your friends and family do not always understand the intricacies and mindsets of recovery.
A Sober Companion, like those offered through The Addictions Coach, should be highly trained, and certified. This organization offers companions that have obtained National Certification in Recovery Coaching. The role of a sober companion is diverse, but at its heart, it does exactly as the name suggests—provides you with drug-free companionship. These caring individuals offer you continued encouragement, support, and a positive distraction. Going deeper though, as referenced from The Addictions Coach’s explanation, a Sober Companion will:
- Help guide and direct you in trying or potentially compromising situations
- Help to foster improved and positive coping and decision-making skills
- Help you to become more aware and adept at recognizing potential triggers and “euphoric recalls”
- Aid you in developing successful means of solving situations of anger, fear, anxiety, stress, or triggering circumstances, among others
- Direct you towards recovery resources, including information on various support groups
- Help guide you in situations related to mental health or dual diagnosis concerns
- Be adept within a specific field or need, including concerns of trauma; they may even be certified or educated as a type of therapist or social worker
- Closely monitor your behaviors to help protect sobriety
Beyond these general concerns, they can help you within the demands and responsibilities of your day-to-day life, such as in situations requiring:
- Getting you to recovery related events
- Transportation aid and counsel with any life concerns, such as for your employment, various appointments, moving, or even vacation.
- Helping you prepare for interviews, or other aspects that are helpful towards getting ready for a job or interview
- Helping you to hone habits needed in your day-to-day life, like handling your finances
- Aiding you in creating and attaining achievable goals
- Guide you in finding and sticking to more healthful ways of living, including dietary concerns and encouraging you to exercise
- If they are a licensed healthcare practitioners, they may assist you with specific medical needs.
- If you have specific high-profile needs, they will watch over and offer specific accounts on events and situations
Sober Companions aren’t only useful during recovery, they may be of great benefit at the crucial point in time when a person is seeking treatment. They may help a family during an intervention, and also escort a person to the treatment services, ensuring they stay safe and on track to the facility.
Benefit From Choosing These Forms Of Support
If you or your loved one desires the compassionate help from an Addiction Recovery Coach or a Sober Companion, please contact us for more information. We can not only help you with this, but our staff at RehabCenter.net can connect you to resources on relapse prevention, aftercare support services, and various self-help support groups. Don’t let addiction or relapse get you down, take control and get help today.Article Sources
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Peer Support and Social Inclusion
The Addiction Coach - Addiction Recovery Coaches
The Addiction Coach - Sober Companions
The Association for Addiction Professionals - Understanding The Role Of Peer Recovery Coaches in The Addiction Profession