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A sober companion is a trained professional who helps integrate recovery into one’s lifestyle. Sober companions are valuable during many aspects of the continuum of recovery.  They are vital during early recovery- the transition from residential treatment back to home life, at any point when one is not feeling secure in their ability to remain sober, when an artist is out on the road (on tour, etc.), or an executive on a high-stress project needing support, when a client is, unfortunately, experiencing a relapse, and also when a person is looking to start an outpatient detox process from one or several substances. 

Sober companions are employed by treatment centers, addiction recovery programs, and especially private clients needing support to keep walking the road of recovery. Sober companions available through Red Door Life, have many years of experience and training, are trained in CPR, Narcan administration, and are certified as RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technicians). At Red Door Life, sober companions are part of the individualized multidisciplinary teams we build to wrap around each client using our proprietary model of care, The 12 Dimensions of Human Health and Wellness. In addition to The 12 Dimensions system, our sober companions use harm reduction strategies as well as structured reporting and assessment protocols.

Sober companion scheduling is completely flexible and customizable- they may work for their client a few hours a day, a few days a week, or physically live or travel with them for a year or longer- It all depends on the client's needs and lifestyle.  

Typically when one enters residential substance abuse treatment, there is a degree of isolation- they are separated from their loved ones, friends, routine, obligations, and work. A sober companion reduces this isolation by helping support both sobriety and life engagement. Our sober companions allow someone struggling with substance abuse to still engage in their life- whether it be with their family and children, work obligations, events, or large-scale commitments that include lengthy travel. They help the person be more functional, help them be able to live up to their commitments and their work commitments. Sober companions allow greater flexibility of care so that one can continue participating in their life and handling stressors, but with connection to support and safety. They can help the client remain integrated with their children and family, make it to shoot days, tour dates, and board meetings, or can even help a CEO navigate decisions that need to be made managing their company. They can provide support with legal proceedings or any of life’s challenges that may arise. A sober companion can act like any executive assistant would trying to help the client manage the responsibilities on their plate and ease their burdens.

This increases the efficacy of recovery because unless you integrate recovery into your life and lifestyle, it's not sustainable. What we consistently see at Red Door Life, we see is that sober companions have tremendous value in helping integrate recovery into one’s lifestyle.

Substance abuse injures the circuits of the brain- particularly the executive function. Executive function controls decision-making, the ability to regulate emotions, impulse control, and many of the basic skills needed to manage simple tasks of daily life. This can take many months- or a year, or longer to heal. Partnership with a sober companion helps compensate for this loss of executive function while the client’s brain is healing. They help perform daily tasks, ensure the connection with doctors and therapy professionals is maintained, run basic errands, drive to appointments, and help with decisions and emotional support. They take the excess burden off the client while they are healing and provide safety and support for all aspects of their life. 

In the Red Door Life proprietary model of care, The 12 Dimensions of Human Health and Wellness, an individualized multidisciplinary team is built around our clients based on what is discovered by assessing all 12 areas of their lives that could be causing dysregulation which underlies substance abuse and mental health issues. This team is led by a Client Advocate. As a client leaves inpatient treatment or chooses outpatient recovery support options, a sober companion can act as a bridge between the client, their advocate, and their multidisciplinary team because they are inside the day-to-day life of the client. 

Knowledge is power, and a lot of times the psychiatrist, psychotherapist, or client advocate is unaware of what the client's environment looks like. Who are their friends? How much sleep do they get? How much are they eating? Are they living in a clean environment? Do they sleep all day or are they up 24 hours, three days in a row? A lot of times clients tend not to self-report correctly- statistics show that when a person has a mental health or substance use issue, self-reporting is 50/50. So if you think about it, 50% of the time, what they're going to tell their mental health professionals and doctors is accurate, and 50% of the time, it's inaccurate. So then the question becomes, if a treatment team is trying to help their client but only half the information is accurate- how effective can they be?

The sober companion provides this accurate information. They can see what areas are a struggle and where the client might need additional support so their multidisciplinary team can be adjusted effectively. Having an outside view inside the client's environment makes a huge difference in the treatment team tailoring treatment and support to the most efficacy.

A sober companion’s main goal is always to help improve the health and wellness of their client. But this comes into play especially if relapse occurs. Unfortunately, relapse is sometimes a part of the recovery journey. A sober companion helps lessen the danger, depth, and duration of the relapse. They help the client stay as safe in the unsafe conditions often created by relapse. They also maintain a connection to loved ones and their treatment team and provide an easy path back to treatment. 

Once a person starts abusing substances again, it is often as if they have fallen into quicksand. They struggle but just can't get out. And so what a sober companion does is wait for a moment when the person seems to have a willingness or an openness to returning to treatment or detox...they look for an opportunity when the person realizes that this is not going well and they provide a way back to the healing path.

A sober companion helps redirect harmful thoughts and behavior to beneficial thoughts and actions. They are also able to view the situation holistically see potential danger in the environment and help mitigate consequences when the person's judgment is completely clouded by the drug use. This helps minimize additional chaos and danger that can occur-  arrests, crises, and the many tragedies that can occur leaving a person alone, especially when using hard drugs, at extreme risk. A companion can't stop a client physically from abusing substances, but they can often prevent the choices that lead to that decision in the first place, and then they are also there in case of emergency to try to prevent death or other tragic outcomes. At Red Door Life, we believe sober companions are a vital piece of recovery, providing a unique level of care- the specialized and individualized support necessary so that recovery is integrated fully and becomes a lifestyle.



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