Leaving treatment and entering the “real world” after getting sober can be overwhelming and intimidating. This period is critical because it is when most individuals relapse. Having a sober companion, or Personal Recovery Assistant (PRA), can help with this. The role of a PRA in addiction recovery is to support the recovering addict as they transition back into normal life and are now responsible for maintaining their own sobriety. The PRA is a person they can lean on for support, advice, and as someone that is trained in addiction recovery. PRAs are instrumental in maintaining sobriety.
What Exactly Is a Sober Companion?
A Personal Recovery Assistant (sober companion) is someone who helps you transition back to normal life at home when you leave addiction treatment. They are there to guide you into making sober decisions in life outside of rehab. A big part of their role is helping you implement the coping strategies and relapse prevention methods you learn in treatment into daily life. PRAs should be motivating, encouraging, positive, and set a good example of a sober lifestyle. However, they are not there to monitor their client 24/7. Instead, they are there to provide care and support when needed.
PRAs are also trained in addiction treatment, meaning they will be able to recognize signs of a potential relapse. They will be able to guide the individual towards more positive decisions to help them stay sober and implement recovery prevention strategies to keep the individual on track.
Most of all, a PRA is a companion. They are there to connect with the person leaving treatment and be an informed source of support. This is especially important because it is all too common for a friend or family member to take on this role, and they may not be well educated on how to keep a person on track to sobriety in the proper ways. PRAs know various strategies they can use to help their client because they are experienced and knowledgeable in this field. This way, this responsibility does not fall to a friend or family member who may be in over their head.
What Should I Expect From a Sober Companion?
PRAs wear many hats because they are there to make sure you stay sober. They take on numerous responsibilities to do this, therefore you should expect a very hands-on approach from your PRA. General responsibilities include:
- Removing drug and alcohol paraphernalia from your home
- Monitor your progress
- Recognize relapse signs if present
- Be aware of who you are associating with
- Help you connect with family and close friends
- Encourage habits and routines learned in treatment
- Offer support and recovery advice
- Help with relapse prevention
Depending on the program, a PRA can also be a sober escort. A sober escort is someone that accompanies you to aftercare appointments and support groups. They hold you accountable for going, but they also are there to provide support. This is good because going to these appointments or support groups can often be overwhelming at first and you might have the temptation to drink or use again to cope with these feelings. The PRA can help you cope with these feelings on the way to the various meetings and locations while helping you stay sober.
Who Is a Sober Companion Best Suited For?
PRA’s are decided on by the person leaving treatment, but they can be recommended or offered by their therapist, treatment center, or other mental health professionals they are working with. These recommendations aren’t meant to say that you can’t handle recovery on your own but are rather in your best interest to help you transition back to life outside of treatment. Therefore you should take the recommendation into consideration as you prepare to go back home. Ultimately, only you can make the decision.
That being said, there are common needs that typically show a person needs a sober companion after treatment. These include:
- A client going back to a home where drug or alcohol use still occurs
- A client that needs support during the transitionary period
- A client that needs accountability and support during an outpatient program
- A client that wants to improve their recovery progress
- A client that is going through legal issues
What’s the Difference Between a Sober Companion and a Sponsor?
There is a big difference between a PRA and a sponsor. Unlike PRAs, sponsors are only there to provide support as needed. They offer advice and can hold the sponsee accountable for attending meetings and progressing in their recovery. However, a sponsor does not dedicate all of their time to supporting the sponsee. They have their own job, life, and are there as informal support.
On the other hand, PRAs have a full-time job helping those that have finished treatment transition back home and stay on track. They are much more hands-on and are there to ensure that you are making the proper decisions in your sobriety. PRAs are also paid for their work whereas sponsors are not. Deciding which is best for you requires research, questions, and recommendations. Make sure you do proper background checking before deciding if you should have a PRA or a sponsor to aid in your recovery after treatment.
At Hired Power, we want our clients to succeed after struggling with addiction. It can be difficult leaving treatment and going back to a stressful and busy life. The daunting task of taking what you learned in treatment and now applying that to distressing situations can be too much, and that’s okay. We do our best to provide support for clients with busy lives, and one of the ways we do this is by providing Personal Recovery Assistants (PRAs) if needed. Our PRAs are there to make sure your life supports your sobriety. Through the support of these PRAs, we have seen many clients successfully maintain their sobriety for the long term. If you need help transitioning back into daily life after rehab, we’ve got you covered. We can answer any questions you may have regarding the PRA program. Call us today at (800) 910-9299 for more information. Life in sobriety doesn’t have to be overwhelming.