I recently started working at CAST Recovery as the Manager of IT and have seen great successes through the Sober Companion program. At first, I struggled with the idea of sober companionship. I have over a year sober, live in a sober dorm, and I work a strong program. I found it hard to believe that grown adults needed, what seemed like, overpaid and often over-stressed, babysitters to keep them in good behavior. After seeing the interaction between the CAST sober companions and clients, I came to find a new understanding of the dynamic and the invaluable role the sober companion plays.
The sober companion acts more of a life-coach than a babysitter, a sober sherpa per say, using personal strength and experience to show the client a new way of living. While the client may have established a decent foundation of sobriety in treatment, often the client is unprepared for the onslaught of temptation. That is, while roaming the streets of Santa Monica, it is easy to be bombarded by personally directed marketing media encouraging the consumption of alcoholic beverages, not to mention a culture which flirts with easy money, fast cars, and the slightest hint of wanton sexuality.
While the treatment center and 12 Step meetings feel safe and warm, the greatest test comes in the space outside the rooms. The Sober companion lends an aura of support and stability, a safety net of confidence and restraint to the client who is in pursuit of some semblance of self in relation to the greater outside world. The Sober companion lends program and structure, and in return gains a greater sense of serenity, giving back to a system of symbiosis that once lent stalwart compassionate guidance to them.