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How to Become a Sober Companion
Sober companions are probably best known by their work with celebrities as almost “glorified babysitters” but of course there is much more to it than that. Also, not all sober companions are watch dogs for celebrities. Sober companions work with slews of addicts and alcoholics sometimes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help them remain abstinent.
What is a sober companion?
A sober companion or sober coach provides one-on-one assistance to newly recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. The goal is to help the client maintain total abstinence from alcohol and drugs, and to establish healthy routines outside of a residential treatment facility. Controversy exists between sober companions, not only in their name (sober companion vs. sober coach vs. recovery coach), but over the use of any situation placing them in contact with other enablers. Also, some sober companions strongly agree with 12 step programs; other sober companions do not support the 12 step process and use alternative methods.
So how can you become a sober companion if you want to be one?
In keeping with several other forms of drug rehabilitation, some sober companions have no formal training or qualification. Most (but not all) companions are recovering addicts who have themselves been able to maintain multiple years of sobriety. While some companions will have some training in psychology, sociology, or medicine, in addition to a strong personal program of recovery, some may have taken the Recovery Coaching certifications offered by Recovery Coaching International (recoverycoaches.org) or the very inexpensive (sometimes free) training offered by the Connecticut Center for Addiction Recovery (CCAR.org) training in a model for peer recovery support specialist roles and responsibilities. A few independent providers, such as Sober Champion require literature study and in-person training by an experienced professional.
There are growing recovery associations (Sober.com, crossroadscoaching.com, RCI.org, ICF.org, OASAS.org) and boards established to set standards or monitor the state of the field recovery coaching, that overlap some of the roles of a sober companion. There is no formal sober companion oversight and accountability as yet. Since early in 2011, Faces and Voices in Recovery has been working on developing standards, credentialing and more clearly defined roles of a recovery coach, peer support specialist, and a sober companion. One can see why there is a concern according to the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, as it is a process that is just underway.
The Sociotherapy Association certifies and trains Support Companions, Recovery/Sober Companions, Elderly Companions, and Adolescent Companions. The Sociotherapy Association in America created the Support Companions program to offer real support and relationship to those in need.
If you really want to be a sober companion the best place to start is with someone who already is. So go out and find people who are already doing what you want to do. If you can’t find anyone who is a sober companion go ahead and get on your computer. You can be sure to find ways to become a sober companion online.