Recovery Plus: Workplace wellbeing 52 September 2016 Guide for successful sober companions To do this, it is important to build as complete a picture as possible of the AP. Interviewing those close to the AP leads to an understanding of his/ her individual needs and can also uncover any risk associated with their current lifestyle. It is imperative to distinguish between the client and the AP; in almost all circumstances these should be different. Some sober companions prefer the AP to be the client also but in those cases, they can “call the shots” often leading to conflict and reducing the sober companion’s ability to perform his/her assignment effectively. When speaking with the client (the person who engaged us, not the AP), ask the following: 1. Why do you wish to engage us, what is the problem? 2. Is the addict/alcoholic (AP) a danger to themselves or others? 3. What are they using/drinking and how much? 4. Do they know we are being engaged and do they understand why? 5. How long do you wish us to escort the AP? 6. What are the consequences of the AP failing to stay clean and sober? 7. Are there people or places they need to specifically be kept away from? Often, case-specific questions will be answered during the initial dialogue with the client, then subsequent conversations with other family member friends and associates. When building a case history, the only silly question is the one you do not ask. Depending on the information gathered and after a risk assessment, if it is decided by both About the author Philip Fisher is CEO of Fisher Associates and business development director of DB Recovery Resources. He considers his career in business as an integral aid in understanding and supporting personalities in the private and charitable sectors. Sober companions, often regarded as a purview of the rich, were unknown to the general public until the popular TV series Elementary, updated so that Dr Watson played a sober companion to a Sherlock Holmes newly released from rehab. So what is a sober companion, sober coach or recovery coach? These are titles for the same job: giving one-on-one support for clients to maintain total abstinence or harm reduction from any addiction and to establish healthy routines at home and/or after completing residential treatment. They can even be hired as an alternative to rehab, particularly if the addict has been through more than one already. The primary duty of a sober coach is to ensure the recovering person does not relapse. Protocols for a sober companion when working with a client, their family and/or friends are established immediately and can include a psychotherapeutic approach, 12-step or non- 12 step plan, other outside support groups, help establishing nutrition and fitness daily, medication therapy or holistic practices. They can be hired to provide round the clock care, be on call or accompany the recovering addict to particular events. This article explains the essentials for success: preparation, written agreement and boundary guidelines. Preparation. Thorough data collection is key to a successful sober companion assignment. In most cases, a sober companion is engaged by a family member or employer (the client) to keep the addict/alcoholic – assigned person, or AP – safe, mainly from themselves.
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