What Are the Benefits of Sober Companions for a Successful Recovery?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery May 5, 2024

What Are the Benefits of Sober Companions for a Successful Recovery?

The iconic British philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “Those who have never known the deep intimacy and the intense companionship of mutual love have missed the best thing that life has to give.” This is also true in recovery, which is why sober companions can be so beneficial.

We Don’t Have to Recover Alone

Working with others is considered by many to be an essential tenet of successful recovery. It is through the companionship we find with others that recovery feels less alone and, perhaps more importantly, feels more attainable.

We do not have to recover alone. There are those around us who wish nothing more than our success. This includes both recovery peers and recovery professionals. 

Bertrand Russell also said, “The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” In recovery, these wits are best sharpened through working with others. Working with others also helps keep both parties on the right track. 

For example, various 12-Step programs throughout the world have helped millions of people and their families recover over the last 89 years, and a big part of their program is working with others. In fact, the primary text of 12-Step recovery (commonly referred to as the Big Book) even has a chapter entitled, “Working With Others.”

The chapter states, “Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking [and using] as intensive work with other [people in recovery]. It works when other activities fail… You can help when no one else can.” This concept is now used throughout the entire recovery realm to help people recover at the cellular level.

Healing at the Cellular Level With a Multi-Angled Approach to Recovery

Now, healing at the cellular level takes a considerable amount of support and effort. This support is also best given via a “multi-angled” approach to recovery. The multi-angled approach should include various means, methods, and modalities from all areas of recovery. This includes psychotherapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), experiential therapies like nature immersion, surf, and art therapy, and holistic wellness techniques like yoga and mindfulness practices.

Healing at the cellular level is also about “interconnectedness” and healing all the components of the “self.” This means healing our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual selves. Now, this can only happen when we utilize treatment plans that implement the right modalities, innovate based on those modalities, and integrate holistic wellness techniques for optimal recovery.

Healing at the cellular level with a multi-angled approach is also about getting to the underlying root/core causes of our issues. These are the issues that are often the cause of our addictive behaviors and visible mental illness signs and symptoms. For example, often, these root/core causes are related to unaddressed trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is more common than many people may think.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), “About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the U.S. population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.” Also, “About 5 out of every 100 adults (or 5%) in the U.S. has PTSD in any given year. In 2020, about 13 million Americans had PTSD.” Sober companions can help with this PTSD, along with other issues of addiction and mental health.

What Exactly Are Sober Companions?

Sober companions are people who have the training and skills to guide us along a positive path toward recovery. These companions provide the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual support that can be highly beneficial when trying to attain long-term recovery. It should be noted that many sober companions have been through the recovery journey themselves and are now in a position to be of service to others.

Sober companions can also keep us connected to our recovery goals in real time. They do this by ensuring that we remain engaged with any therapy we have committed to and focus on nutrition and holistic wellness and any recovery community that we may have become a part of (a Recovery Darhma, SMART Recovery, or 12-Step recovery community, for example). 

Sober companions are also critical for helping to avoid potential relapses. Many people don’t realize just how common relapses can be in the U.S. According to the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychiatry Reports, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two-thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment.” Also, “For 1-year outcomes across alcohol, nicotine, weight, and illicit drug abuse, studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.”

Ultimately, sober companions help us stick to our goals while better avoiding a relapse. According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, “The goal of treatment is to help individuals recognize the early stages [of relapse], in which the chances of success are greatest.” Also, “Relapse prevention is why most people seek treatment. By the time most individuals seek help, they have already tried to quit on their own and they are looking for a better solution.” Sober companions help to facilitate these recovery solutions, and those are not the only benefits.

What Are Some of the Benefits of Sober Companions?

Besides relapse prevention, sober companions offer an array of other benefits. Some of the benefits are as follows:

  • Helps maintain both healthy nutritional and fitness plans
  • Facilitates going to recovery meetings and recovery activities
  • Ensures that therapy sessions and therapy goals are met
  • Is available when addiction “triggers” occur
  • Helps avoid situations that may jeopardize sobriety/recovery
  • Can help navigate family dynamics
  • Offers support when issues arise at school or work
  • Can better recognize the signs of anxiety, depression, and other issues of mental health

Of course, these are just a few of the benefits that sober companions have to offer. Another benefit is that they can connect individuals with a healthy recovery sponsor.

Understanding Sober Companions Versus Recovery Sponsors

Many people conflate sober companions with recovery sponsors. This is natural, as their primary purpose is to help keep an individual sober and recovered.

However, sponsorship differs from sober companions because sober companions are employed and dedicated to their goal of keeping us sober. A sponsor can be essential to one’s recovery but it is important to always remember that sponsors are volunteers at the end of the day. Now, it is possible that something comes up that threatens our sobriety. It is the sponsor’s goal to help, but it is also a sober companion’s job. There is a difference, as a sober companion must be available at all times, where a sponsor has committed to doing their best (which should be noted is both a noble and beautiful thing).

One of the best ways that we can ensure our sobriety is by working with both a sober companion and a sponsor. This combined dynamic has been shown to be a recipe for success. Besides creating a connection to recovery communities and sponsors, sober companions can also help with other aspects of recovery. For example, sober companions can keep us connected to modalities like ketamine therapy.

Sober Companions Keeping Us Accountable to Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine therapy has found a resurgence in recent years. According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, “The potential for ketamine to be used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders was first noted in the 1970s and has been the focus of formal investigation since the 1990s, with investigative and off-label use in the context of mental health increasing across North America and Europe since that time. The first approval by the USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of a ketamine-derived therapy for mental health came in 2019 for intranasal esketamine (the S-enantiomer of ketamine) as augmentation therapy for treatment-resistant depression, which has increased clinical and public interest internationally.”

Ketamine therapy can also be a very intense process, which makes having a sober companion to lean on so critical. They can be there both when the effects of ketamine therapy start to take effect and can better explain the steps of the therapy moving forward.

Ketamine therapy has also been shown to have promising results regarding the treatment of addiction. According to the peer-reviewed journal Neuropharmacology, “Despite methodological limitations and the relative infancy of the field, results thus far are promising. Ketamine has been shown to effectively prolong abstinence from alcohol and heroin in detoxified alcoholics and heroin-dependent individuals, respectively. Moreover, ketamine reduced craving for and self-administration of cocaine in non-treatment-seeking cocaine users.” 

Also, ketamine therapy is not the only modality that sober companions can help with. Now, sober companions can also help with experiential therapies like nature immersion therapy, surf therapy, and horticulture therapy (just to name a few).

Sober Companions and Nature Immersion Therapy

Experiential therapies are much what their name implies – they focus on experiences (both adventure-based and creative) rather than verbalization. There is also a wide range of experiential therapies, including dance therapy, art therapy, music therapy, horticulture therapy, and nature immersion therapy.

Nature immersion therapy offers an excellent opportunity for us to connect with our sober companions. Sober companions can ensure that we remain focused on our recovery while also receiving the benefits of the therapy. Also, the benefits are exceptional. For example, according to the National Park Service, “A 30-minute visit to a park can improve heart health, circulation and lower cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure. Walking in nature reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system, which decreases the risk of certain diseases and cancers. Interacting with a green space increases social interactions which can prevent diseases like dementia.”

Of course, physical benefits are not the only ones offered via nature immersion therapy. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides physical health improvements, nature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, well-being and liveliness. However, across more than one hundred studies on nature/wildlife exposure, stress mitigation has been shown to be one of the most consistent and important psychological benefits.” Also, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning.”

Sober companions can also help in other natural environments. For example, a sober companion who is versed in surf therapy can help individuals take advantage of one of the best surf breaks on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, Honoli’i, which is a mere 15-minute journey from the luxury 30-acre recovery center at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab.

Sober Companions and Surf Therapy

Trained sober companions can both help us catch incredible waves and be grateful between breaks as we meditate with the green sea turtles swimming underneath. They can also ensure that we receive all of the benefits that surf therapy has to offer.

There is a myriad of benefits that one can gain from surf therapy. According to the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Psychology, “A growing body of evidence worldwide has validated the use of surfing as a therapeutic mediator to achieve positive change such as increased well-being. Surf therapy is defined by the International Surf Therapy Organisation as an intervention that combines surf instruction, surfing, and structured individual and/or group activities to promote physical, psychosocial, and psychological well-being. In addition to physical exercise, surf therapy interventions typically include individual mentoring, social skills development, psychoeducation, and group discussions focused on increasing resilience and personal growth.”

This “individual mentoring” can be attained via the employ of an effective sober companion. They can also mentor on other types of health and wellness techniques such as meditation and yoga.

Sober Companions and Yoga

Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years. It initially began as a solely religious/spiritual practice but has since moved into other areas of life. One of the most exciting areas that yoga is now being utilized in the realm of recovery.

Bertrand Russell also said, “A happy life must be to a great extent a quiet life, for it is only in an atmosphere of quiet that true joy dare live,” and, of course, a big component of yoga is quieting the mind and finding peace. However, that is certainly not the only goal of yoga.

Yoga is about interconnectedness, which was previously discussed. It is about addressing our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues all at once.

When this happens, the benefits of yoga can be vast. According to the International Journal of Yoga (IJOY), “Rapidly emerging in the Western world as a discipline for integrating the mind and body into union and harmony, when adopted as a way of life, yoga improves physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual health. Yoga offers an effective method of managing and reducing stress, anxiety and depression and numerous studies demonstrate the efficacy of yoga on mood related disorders.” It has also been shown to be highly beneficial for addiction recovery.

Many sober companions can help with yoga, as well as all of the modalities previously mentioned. The key is to find the sober companion that fits with the therapies and techniques that we want to use, along with our ultimate recovery goals.

Healing at the Cellular Level With Sober Companions and Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we know that sober companions can be essential for recovery. This is why we have a network of some of the best sober companions available today.

Bertrand Russell also famously said, “Man needs, for his happiness, not only the enjoyment of this or that, but hope and enterprise and change.” Sober companions offer that potential for hope and change, as do we at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. Recovery is ready and waiting. The key is reaching out for it.

Sober companionship can be a critical component of a recovery plan that aims to help one heal at the cellular level. Sober companions can help keep an individual engaged with their recovery plan while also keeping them accountable to their set recovery goals. Sober companionship is also very effective at helping individuals avoid potential relapse. If you feel like you or a loved one are struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or both, we can help get you on the positive path toward long-term recovery right away. For more information about the benefits of sober companionship and how they can best ensure recovery success, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.