Overview of a Sober Companion – Connections in Recovery – Los Angeles, New York, Europe





I would like to shed some more in-depth insight on Connections in Recovery‘s (CiR) own professional experience with sober companions, which with our more than eight years of experience proves helpful in defining the sober companion relationship, the services/support we provide, and why we have found that the inclusion of a sober companion in a recovery plan for an individual, or a loved one, struggling with substance abuse, invariably effects a profoundly positive impact on the successful recovery outcomes of our clients.


The transition from treatment back into the routines of everyday life can be daunting at best. Recovery resources such as 12-step meetings, personal support networks, and individual counseling or therapy can help buttress sobriety, but sometimes an individual (due to their personalized experience, responsibilities, lifestyle, and/or circumstances) finds that their struggle with sobriety is fraught with unavoidable triggers and influences which are incredibly difficult to face alone. It is in these situations that a sober companion (sometimes also called a sober coach) can prove the vital variable between abstinence and relapse. Sober companions usually work with people in the early stages of recovery, helping them avoid a relapse and navigate both the known (but potentially risky), and also the unknown (and thus unexpectedly dangerous) challenges of new sobriety.


Although the effectiveness of this recovery tool has not yet been measured in any clinical studies, one of CiR’s own board members, Dr. Don Grant, MA, MFA, CCDC, PhD, spent seven years investigating the potential causes and conditions of long-term recovery success. His global research study (APA lauded and slated to be published in an academic journal next month) proved that face-to-face support and personalized recovery interaction far outweigh any other variable in terms of long-term recovery success. Because sober companions offer this type of support 24/7, Dr. Grant’s research supports why these recovery professionals have become an increasing popular and invaluable recommended component for individuals who are identified as: high risk, isolated, recovery resistant, compromised, high profile, well known, and/or biologically, psychologically, sociologically unstable in their sobriety.


“CiR sober companions are exceedingly trained recovery professionals who work with clients on a one-to-one basis. Although carefully selected and individually matched with each client to ensure a positive alliance, sober companions do not provide treatment for addiction. Their role instead is to mentor and guide clients who are phasing out of initial treatment or detox environments back into the ‘real world,’ support their successful and sustainable sober transition back into their new sober lives, help them establish and maintain culpability and accountability, and guide their self-creation of a strong recovery network support system and lifestyle. A sober companion is also not intended to replace other components of aftercare services, but instead to complement them, while ensuring that responsibilities (both recovery and non-recovery based) are met.” ~ Dr. Don Grant, MA, MFA, CCDC, PhD


The length/terms of service provided by a sober companion vary depending on need. Some companions reside with the client in the client’s home, offering around-the-clock support and companionship. Sober companions can also be contracted on a part time, event, or travel engagement need, if appropriate.  It is also possible to retain a sober companion on an on-call basis.


No matter what particular parameters of the client/sober companion relationship are elected, the value is in a sober companion’s ability to help their clients avoid risky people, places, things, and situations, resist temptation to drink or use if it manifests, and successfully transition into a new sober lifestyle which promotes viable long-term success.





In short, sober companions are put in place to help support the client’s recovery, provide accountability, ensure that commitments are met, assist with the creation of healthy peer relationships and support networks, and redirect the client when they feel triggered, emotionally dysregulated, or experience the urge to use alcohol or other mind-altering substances, or engage with risky behaviors.


“Our prolific experience with individuals, family members, business professionals, to high profile individuals, diversion-based, and celebrity clients have demonstrated the demand for the development of a unique set of strategies, protection, and privacy protocols to remove any risk of anonymity breach or potentially compromising external ‘publicity.’ We have discovered this particular point to be understandably of the utmost importance for each and every one of our clients, and uphold its standard to the highest professional degree. The confidentiality of our clients-no matter what their personal situation might be-is of paramount importance to us.”  ~ Lauren Arborio and Patty Baret/CiR Co-Founders 


All CiR sober companions are comprehensively vetted, cleared, and required to sign full agreements of non-disclosure.  Our companions are also required to document both time spent with the client, as well as any obstacles, accomplishments, concerns, and/or affirmations their client experienced in that period.


Working with high-profile clients: To date, CiR’s sober companions have worked on several high profile conservatorships where legal matters were involved and intense monitoring was needed on a 24/7 basis. Having a companion was successful on these cases as it prevented the client from having to enter rehab and further legal issues. They were able to help the client with spending habits, relationship issues, and guiding the client into making better choices with who they choose to spend their time with.



Recovery from Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Mental Health



“CiR is proud to offer 24/7 moment-to-moment supervision by a licensed clinician, ensuring safety and quality care at all times, hence each coach/companion receiving ongoing clinical support and guidance through their duration with the client. This has been a tremendous asset—especially with more complex cases as well as when transporting a client to a safe location or treatment program.” ~ Lauren Arborio


What makes CiR unique is all of the Connections in Recovery and Mental Health Coaching/Companion staff undergoes rigorous, specialized training by a clinician. They are trained through the BHRS Model (Behavioral Health Recovery Supervision), an integrated three-prong model created by Georgina K. Smith, Ph.D., who is the CiR Clinical Supervisor and a licensed Clinical Psychologist. This comprehensive, ongoing training program ensures that each of our clients receive the highest quality of care. The BHRS model includes the components of evidence-based practice and assures that each client’s meaningful goals are met.


Dr. Smith’s extensive background includes being an EMDR clinician, addiction specialist, case management consultant, and educator. Her treatment specialties include addiction, depression, trauma, relationship issues, borderline personality disorder, self-injury, impulse regulation issues, and eating disorders.



CiR East Coast Companions receiving training at Center for Living – NYC



Recovery from Alcohol, Substance Abuse and Mental Health

CiR East Coast Companions training on suicide prevention – Manhattan, NY



CiR Los Angeles Companions Training – with UCLA Professor Dr. Timothy W. Fong and CiR Clinical Supervisor Georgina K. Smith, Ph.D. – at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center – LA, CA.



CiR Clinical Supervisor Georgina K. Smith, Ph.D. – at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center – LA, CA.



Individually hand-picked and well-matched, CiR’s Case Managers (along with a Sober/Mental Health Companion if needed) provide vigorous and close support to their clients, helping them to make healthy life choices, follow discharge plans and remain accountable and culpable to aftercare commitments.



“CiR cares about you and your recovery. Our kind and knowledgeable staff is dedicated to this concept”


Connections in Recovery (CiR) assists individuals struggling with addiction and mental health issues to connect with the best providers, recovery companions and treatment resources to support long-term positive recovery outcomes. Through personalized action plans, CiR is committed to finding the right solution, “best fit,” for each individual.




Our nationwide network of services allows us to respond quickly when a client is in need of an intervention, safe transportation, a sober/mental health companion, life coaching and/or personalized case management. We meet you where you are, both physically and emotionally, to effectively assist you in coordinating care among multiple treatment providers in time-pressured situations.


In terms of services provided: Each CiR case is individually personalized based upon treatment team assessments and recommendations, personal/professional goals, and of course client needs. CiR works with each sober companions/coaches in their Los Angeles, New York and Europe offices. In addition, CiR is staffed with an invaluable advisory board of expert addiction psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as they work with attorneys, social workers, registered nurses, medical doctors, when necessary.



CiR Board of Directors include: Timothy Fong, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; Jeffrey S. Ditzell, D.O., Diplomate, American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology; Don Grant, MA, MFA, CCDC, PhD; Jeremy Martinez, MD.



CiR is proud of its invaluable advisory board which includes expert addiction psychiatrists and psychologists. With over 20 years of experience in the field, our cadre of professionals possesses the knowledge, skills and compassion to help you navigate your options and give you the tools to make the best decisions in taking control of your life. Our board consists of Dr. Timothy Fong, MD, who is an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, and Jeffrey S. Ditzell, a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and a general adult psychiatrist with a private practice in New York City. His depth and breadth of clinical experience is unique, having served as the chief of an inpatient dual diagnosis unit, as the lead attending in two psychiatric ER’s, and as the lead physician of an assisted community treatment team. Also on the board are Don Grant, MA, MFA, CCDC, PhD, who specializes in Media Psychology and is a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor, a board-certified California teacher, a nationally certified group facilitator, and an internationally-recognized expert on technology addiction and its underlying co-occurring disorders, and Dr. Jeremy Martinez, MD, a graduate of Harvard University, who has a diverse practice that focuses on the treatment of chemical and behavioral addictions. He is a coveted speaker that has presented at many national and international conferences, addressing the issues of marijuana, mental health, and Cultural Psychiatry. Trained in Addiction Psychiatry at UCLA, Dr. Martinez is respected as a leader of cutting-edge treatments in the field. Meet our entire Advisory Board and CiR team HERE.


*CiR is a Founding Board Member of the “Society For Addiction Advocacy and Recovery,” which promotes standardized practices of treatment, ethics, disclosure, and continuity of care in the fields of addiction and mental health.





CiRLA & CiR East Coast:

CiR Europe:
(00) + 1 + 888-617-1050
FR: 33 06 37 31 81 33
UK: 44 20 81 44 35 93



~ Blog by Nathalie Baret


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