Andy Irons: Kissed By God illustrates the childhood, career, and ultimately tragically premature passing of one of the most iconic and legendary surfers of our time, the young and great Andy Irons. Andy had bipolar disorder, and like many of his fellow young, sponsored surfers of the late 90s and early 2000s, Andy struggled with a severe addiction problem including alcohol and OxyContin. In late October of 2010, Andy was attending a competition in Puerto Rico when he suffered a relapse after several months of sobriety. He withdrew from the competition, citing ill health. Anxious to return to his wife, Andy set forth on the long journey from Puerto Rico to his home Kauai, Hawaii.
But Andy didn’t just withdraw from the competition — he was going through withdrawals himself, and became 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 that anyone who has struggled with addiction can experience. Out of an act of self-care, he took a long layover in Dallas to try and get through his withdrawals. But due to heart complications and the presence of a number of substances in his system, Andy died on November 2nd.
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 over those fateful few days. We can imagine how things might have been different if someone in Andy’s situation could travel with a sober companion like a certified sober escort: a professional who would never leave his side; who was trained to mitigate withdrawal symptoms and perform CPR and first aid; who he could trust with his emotional and physical pain. A recovery companion like this could have been in communication with his wife, his manager and his team; could have coordinated emergency treatment and found a local detox center; and could have intervened to prevent a second relapse.
There are countless small moments that add up to complicate an individual’s life when drugs and alcohol are involved, but those moments add up much more quickly when they are faced alone. With a sober escort — also called a sober companion or Personal Recovery Assistant (PRA) — these challenges are instead faced with support, personal experience, professionalism, and expertise. The chances of life-threatening complications are greatly reduced.
Unfortunately, there is still a tremendous amount of stigma and shame regarding addiction, to the point where many individuals feel too ashamed to ask for help even when it is most needed. Some people don’t realize that there are professional sober escort services they can turn to, and avoid speaking up because they don’t want to burden their loved ones. At Hired Power, we want you to feel comfortable and empowered when you seek treatment or assistance. The guidance, support, accountability, and structure provided by our Personal Recovery Assistants are always available when you need it, and we will never think less of you for needing an extra set of hands — it’s actually quite the opposite: we are so proud of our clients who find the strength to reach out and ask for help.
Sober escorts are certified and intensively trained recovery professionals whose purpose is to assist and support a dedicated client in everything they need to maintain the integrity of their sobriety and recovery. At Hired Power, we call sober escorts “Personal Recovery Assistants,” or PRAs.
Hired Power PRAs are independent contractors who have been heavily vetted through scrutinous background checks and trained to take on every possible complication in supporting a client. Our PRAs are in recovery themselves — we require a minimum of 5 years sober before hiring. Each year of sobriety is drastically different from the next, including more experience, growth, and development. Five years is considered to mark the turning point into “long-term recovery” — it’s helpful for our sober escorts to be able to relate to their clients, but it’s crucial that they have ample experience with sobriety.
A sober escort is someone who can provide constant assistance and resources to a client that is striving to sustain a sober lifestyle. They can help to alleviate the confusion and loneliness that often accompany the big changes in a person’s life during early sobriety. The primary purposes of a Personal Recovery Assistant are to support the client in whatever ways are needed to ensure their safety, sobriety, and recovery; and to help them implement positive change in their life.
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. A sober escort 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. Examples of times when these services may be especially helpful include:
Having a sober escort with a client on a daily basis offers essential opportunities for teaching and growth. It may be that the client is resuming work, going back to school, or trying to integrate a recovery program into their lives. A PRA will help the client find a way through these trying transitions, so it becomes easier and more comfortable. They can help a client identify their triggers and personal challenges. In attaining this understanding, constructive information can be learned and applied to future situations, behaviors, and thoughts, and coping skills for recovery are developed.
In this capacity, a sober escort can:
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.
Hired Power knows what it takes to stay sober and maintain your recovery. Our services have two key goals: to help you stay on the path of recovery and make sure that you can bring recovery home. With a team of passionate, experienced professionals, you can feel secure knowing you’re never alone. We’re here to stand by you.
Hired Power is based in Huntington Beach, California and employs an extensive network of recovery professionals in the greater Los Angeles and Southern California area as well as nationwide. Our services, including sober escorts, can be offered remotely and on a mobile basis.
At Hired Power, our PRAs have an earnest commitment to strong ethical conduct. We are dedicated to safety, responsibility, and professionalism. We hold in high regard the confidentiality and anonymity of our clients.
Navigating early sobriety can be complicated and intimidating. A sober escort can help the client face obstacles in sobriety with a fresh perspective and with the benefit of their own experience. They can give the extra help needed for the realization of a new life in sobriety.
For more information about Hired Power or our Personal Recovery Assistant services, please contact us anytime at 800-910-9299.
“I have worked with Hired Power extensively in collaboration with Clearview Treatment Programs’ individualized outpatient program. I am always impressed with their effectiveness and professionalism.”
“Thanks again for being there for us and guiding us through some rough waters. Your kindness and genuine concern deeply touched my soul and we are all grateful our paths crossed when they did. You are a truly gifted professional, keep on doing what you do so well.”
“I just want to thank Hired Power for the PRA. He was a perfect match and I can’t say enough…. He was intensely committed. This is the first time I have been clean in over 30 years. Thank you again.”
“I don’t look at you (Hired Power) as hiring a service, I look at you as saving my life.” (referring to his ability to stay sober after returning home).