We all know that addiction is bad. And we know what happens to a body when it becomes exposed to too much of any addictive substance.
Yet that doesn’t change the fact that addiction is one of the biggest and most prominent issues in the United States today, affecting millions Americans annually. No matter what substance you consume – be it alcohol, hard drugs, prescription medication, or something else – it takes over lives slowly, creeping in in a manner that doesn’t elicit much attention – until you find yourself standing over the ruins of your relationships and your career, realizing that you have a severe problem. Sober companions services can help counteract that.
Tackling Addiction in America
Prohibiting alcohol, for example, doesn’t fix the issue. Getting drugs of the street won’t stop those who are already hooked from finding more. And standing around vilifying, stereotyping or crucifying addicts, as we continue to do, does nothing except drive them into a deep depression and self-hatred.
Anyone who’s been under the spell of addiction knows that it’s not worth wasting your life over. But it’s so incredibly easy to do so. So how do you go back? For most, the answer lies deep within – sobriety is something people can achieve on their own terms, in their own way, after finding that crucial aspect of their lives they simply under no circumstances can lose. People have been getting addicted and getting out of addiction long before sober living communities and therapy options existed.
But to the people who have nothing left to lose, getting out of that hole is a much harder task. With addiction often comes depression, and trauma – and overcoming the death of all motivation is a gigantic task for any pair, let alone an individual. Still – that doesn’t change the fact that any addict, so long as they’re alive and remotely willing to get out of the hole of addiction, has the chance and earnest hope to beat and overcome their problem. How? With time, help, and companionship.
As we’ve come to better understand how addiction works and what we can and can’t ask addicts to do, the idea of personal sober companions has become extremely popular. But what are sober companions, how do they help maintain sobriety, and why have they grown in number and usage?
Being Sober Isn’t Easy
The thing about sobriety is that it’s not exciting. It’s not pleasurable, on its own. Sobriety is a state of normalcy and neutrality. You’re not striving to be sober because it’s euphoric. Most people strive for sobriety because addiction is a state of fluctuation between extreme pleasure, and dire consequence.
The extreme pleasure bit is what makes it so attractive – not only are addictive substances and behaviors designed and capable of ensnaring you in their allure, but they also double as an overpowering distraction from other, more entrenched issues, masking troublesome symptoms of emotional and mental health problems.
Overcoming addiction isn’t just a matter of denying something that feels good. It’s a matter of accepting everything you’ve been denying. Being sober for long periods of time means learning not just to stay away from drugs or alcohol, but actively find ways to tackle your deeper issues, replace bad habits with healthier coping mechanisms, and actively design a new life for yourself that keeps you away from the dangers of a relapse.
All the while, many addicts fight with the voices in their head that compel them to give up. Like depression, addiction becomes a part of your soul. Sober companion services are counterarguments to this, they’re the voices that help you balance the scales and think logically about your future, setting an example and making it easier for you to follow your own new plan without drifting off into a relapse.
What Makes Sober Companion Services Useful?
The difference between a professional sober companion, a sponsor, and a friend is the level of training and understanding between each. Having a strong support network that includes each of these three people would be the best case scenario. But there is a difference between asking a friend to help you stay sober, and hiring someone who is specialized in creating a sober living environment.
We’ve established that there’s more to being sober than fighting the biological difficulties of addiction – the brain chemistry part of it. Sobriety also means coming to terms with some heavy emotional baggage, accepting yourself and what decisions you may have made before and after your addiction.
A Sober Companion Must
The qualifications for sober companion services vary from definition to definition, but when you’re facing addiction, dubiousness and lack of clarity are two things you do not want to surround yourself with. A real, professional sober companion is a service-provider – one who works in the field of medicine and caretaking simultaneously. Some of the qualifications you should watch out for are the ability to:
- Understand the process of addiction, emotionally and biologically.
- Be trained in therapeutic methods to help facilitate sobriety.
- Help you plan out activities and hobbies to replace old habits.
- Actively motivate you to adopt new coping activities over your addiction.
- Spend time alongside you sharing in activities that battle addiction.
- Engage in talk therapy to help you open up whenever you want to.
- Share a personal connection to the difficulties of sobriety and the allure of addiction.
- Be medically trained to recognize when more help is necessary.
It’s never all fun and rainbows. Addiction is a hard mistress to get rid of even when one is actively working against her, and there are times when you may do things and say things you aren’t proud of in an effort to get a fix, even on the road to conscious sobriety.
If you know you’re in a place in life where you simply can’t beat your addiction alone, and don’t have someone with professional sensibilities around to slap the bottle or spoon out of your hand, then sober companions are an option.
Are They Expensive?
Like any service provider, you’ll find companions for varying rates. Some celebrities are known to get out of rehab and hire themselves a companion to the tune of four figures a day. Others aren’t that expensive.
Service offerings and approaches vary from companion to companion – some are professionals, or former therapists, and specialize in self-help and traditional 12-step programs. Others specialize in alternative therapies and medicines including meditation, yoga and other holistic practices like a healthy diet and regular exercise.
A sober companion isn’t something for everyone. You may not need one, or want one. But if you need someone around to keep you straight for at least long enough to establish your own strong base of sobriety, then today’s sober companion industry helps make that possible.