Andy Irons: Kissed By God illustrates the childhood, career, and ultimate tragically premature end to one of the most iconic and legendary surfers of our time, the young and great Andy Irons. Andy had bipolar disorder and like so many of the young sponsored surfers of his time during the late 90s and early 2000s, Andy had a severe addiction problem including alcohol and Oxycontin. After an unfortunate relapse post-treatment and several months of sobriety, Andy withdrew from what would be his last contest in Puerto Rico. Anxious to get home to his wife, Andy set forth on the long journey home from Puerto Rico to Kauai. Andy didn’t just withdraw from the competition, he was going through withdrawals himself and found himself too sick to walk, to function, and to fly. Andy was attempting to make that long journey home alone, in one of the most vulnerable states of addiction he could be in. Out of an act of self-care, he took a long layover in Dallas to try and get through his withdrawals. Due to heart complications and the presence of a number of substances in his system, Andy died on November 2nd, 2010.

We can never predict how things could or should have been or how one change in circumstance could have saved Andy’s life. We can, however, imagine how things might have been had Andy had the support he needed from the minute he left treatment, through his relapse, and even on his journey home those fateful few days. It’s entirely possible, but of course, not guaranteed, that if Andy Irons had a certified Personal Recovery Assistant on that journey, someone who was paid to be in the room with him, never leave his side, mitigate his withdrawal symptoms; who was certified in CPR and first aid, who could talk to him about the horrors of addiction, the pain of relapse, and the possibility of recovery again; who could have been in communication with his wife, his manager, his team; who could have coordinated treatment, found a local detox center; who could have intervened if there was a desire to relapse again- there are a million and one things which can complicate someone’s life and threaten it when drugs and alcohol are involved. Those million and one things are made more realistic and problematic when they are faced alone. With A Personal Recovery Assistant by someone’s side, those challenges are faced with support, personal experience, professionalism, and expertise. The chances of life-threatening complications are greatly reduced.

Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of stigma and shame regarding addiction, one that permeates a life so deeply that it feels shameful to ask for additional help when it is most needed. Asking for the guidance, support, accountability, and structure provided by a Personal Recovery Assistant is nothing to be ashamed of. The very fact that this kind of service is available is an absolute gift to those who need it.

Addiction can turn our loved one’s behaviors into their most manipulative, cunning, scheming, and crafting. The demands of addiction on mind and body can become so severe as to be life-threatening when substances aren’t in the body. Addiction can inspire someone to throw everything they’ve gained in their life away on the basis of a single whim spurred from craving. Having a professional there, someone who has lived through it themselves, can be the diffuser to what really happens when someone in recovery attempts to live life through all of its challenges: anxiety.

We Call Them Personal Recovery Assistants

Some of the more common terms to describe what we call at Hired Power, a Personal Recovery Assistant are “Sober Escort” or “Sober Companion”. What a PRA, for short, really does is far more comprehensive than escorting someone or being someone’s companion. This is a professional, certified, heavily trained person of recovery whose sole purpose is to assist and support a client in everything a client needs to maintain the integrity of their sobriety and recovery.

Who Are Personal Recovery Assistants?

Personal Recovery Assistants are independent contractors who have been heavily vetted, undergone scrutinous background checks and trained to take on the every possible complication in supporting a client. At Hired Power, our PRA’s have a minimum of 5 years sober. Long term sobriety matters when supporting someone with addiction. Each year of sobriety is drastically different from the next, including more experience, growth, and development. Five years is considered to be the first major landmark and the milestone of “long term recovery”. We wouldn’t put a loved one with a heart risk in the hands of a first year medical student. Likewise, we cannot put the life of a loved one with addiction in the hands of someone who was so recently close to active addiction themselves.

What A PRA Does

The primary purpose of a Personal Recovery Assistant is to support the client in whatever ways are needed to ensure their safety, sobriety, and recovery. When supporting a client, the PRA acts as a point of contact, maintaining communication with Hired Power who updates the family and support network team for the client, which can include parents, treatment centers, or employers. The PRA also coordinates all of the logistics and accommodations needed during travel of any kind, which can include adjustments. Clients might cause a missed flight, flee from an airport, injure themselves, or act out in any other way which puts a twist in the schedule. All of these behaviors are normal and the PRA is prepared to handle all of them and make sure the overall mission is adhered to: keep the client safe, keep the client going, and get the client to where they need to be.

There literally are a million and one reasons or circumstances that a loved one would need the support of a PRA. Just some of those can include:

        • Going to any stage of treatment or transitioning from one stage of treatment to the next or to an event and back
              • From home to detox
              • From detox to treatment
              • From treatment to home
              • From treatment to sober living
              • From treatment to another program
              • From treatment to court dates
              • From treatment or home or a program to family events
              • Might be picked up at hospital due to an overdose
              • Might be picked up from jail
        • Navigating a return to work, family events, competitions, or demanding career opportunities like long hours on set for an actor, in the studio for a musician, and other circumstances

Overall, no matter the need or the circumstance, hiring the help of a Personal Recovery Assistant is creating a safe, strategic, and supportive way to ensure a loved one’s safety and position throughout the entire recovery process.

That’s our goal at Hired Power in all of the recovery services which we provide. We are here to make sure you never stand alone in the face of challenge on the road to recovery. Our dynamic team of experienced recovery professionals are here to stand by you and make sure you and your family keep bringing recovery home, every step of the way. Call us today for more information:

Hired Power knows what it takes to stay sober and maintain recovery. Our recovery services are designed with two key goals in mind: to help you stay on the path of recovery and make sure that you can bring recovery home. With a team of experienced professionals with unmatched passions, you can feel secure knowing you’re never alone. We’re here to stand by you.