Personal Sober Companion and Recovery Assistant

Personal Sober Companion and Coaching Service Residential and Non-Residential Alex Fontaine MBE
Alex Fontaine MBE

“The key to recovery is to create a happy and fulfilling life.   I encourage people to have fun and laughter in recovery”. 

In 1999, when I first went to Alcoholics Anonymous, I had no desire to stop drinking! I met people who had similar trauma and life experiences. They had stopped drinking and their lives had become amazing.  I thought it would be easy.  I was wrong.  Within three months of attempted abstinence, I took myself off to The Priory, Roehampton for rehab.

I decided to try abstinence for a year.  After the first year, I decided to give it another year. Day by day, life turned around. 

Twenty-five years later, I am still sober “Just For Today”.

Recovery will transform your life.

I will support, nurture and inspire your new exciting life.

I work with people coming from therapy or residential rehabs.

All I am, is an extra helping hand. You will need to attend your rehab after-care programme, (if applicable), have a qualified therapist and remain under medical supervision at all times.

My Experience, Recovery Involvement and Charity Work

In my experience working with High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs), over the last 20 years, I have encountered numerous families facing multifaceted challenges such as psychiatric issues, addiction rehabilitation, dual diagnosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders and Special Educational Needs (SEN). Guiding these families through the intricate journey of recovery and medical care has been a privilege. My clients consistently value my personal understanding, empathetic assistance, and non-judgmental compassion, which I offer as a support system throughout their struggles.

In addition to supporting clients, I also founded a charity, The Yellow Heart Trust, to help those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, addiction and dual diagnosis.  For more information go to http://www.yht.org.uk

The yello heart trust logo
Alex fontaine was on the queens birthday honours 2007. Personal sover companion uk

Alex Fontaine was on The Queen’s Birthday Honours 2007 and awarded an MBE for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Women by founding The Yellow Heart Trust.

Presently, I am collaborating with Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe to introduce Added Sugar Anonymous or a similar support group to the UK.  This project involves examining the addictive nature of refined sugar and ultra-processed foods.  Everyone involved has long-term recovery in other fellowships.

Types of Support Services

Personal Sober Companion goes beyond just one-on-one companionship; I offer a suite of additional support services designed to ensure a holistic recovery and positive experience. Here is a glimpse into the extra layers of support you can access:

  • Residential 24-hour support:  You may want this when you leave treatment or after a relapse.
  • Transport To and From Rehab Centers.
  • Event Escorting:  Social events are daunting.  Take a sober friend or companion to get you through it.  Eg:  Weddings, parties, family gatherings, work functions.
  • Work Requirements:  Some industries, particularly the entertainment business will require a sober companion.
  • International Travel Companion for work or holiday:  The world is your oyster in recovery.  If you are apprehensive with international travel, I will escort you and spend as much or as little time with you, as you want.
  • Alcohol breathalysing and/or drug testing.
  • Appointments:  We can work together to ensure you make and attend all your appointments.
  • Time management and organizational skills.
  • Daily structure and new routines.
  • Private Personal Assistant, Admin and Home Management:  You may find you have a great deal of personal organization and admin to catch up with.  I can also be your Private Personal PA
  • Ensuring medication (if applicable) is taken regularly.
  • Activities, sport, new hobbies and interests:  Boredom can be an issue in early recovery as it is difficult to fill the hours during the day.  Boredom and loneliness are triggers for relapse.  I like to keep clients inspired, interested in life and keep occupied.  Through active addiction, awareness of what makes us happy and fulfilled has been removed.  Working on finding fun, old or new, past times is important.
  • Twelve Step Meetings and making new friends: Meetings are much more than sitting in a church hall.  Creating a new social circle of non-using friends is essential for long-term recover.  They become your friends outside the room and soon you will be having fun outside the rooms and future holiday friends.
  • Aftercare Planning: Tailored plans to help you navigate life post-recovery, ensuring you have a roadmap for maintaining sobriety in the long term.
  • Relapse Prevention Strategies: Practical tools and techniques aimed at identifying and managing potential triggers, helping you stay on track even in challenging situations.
  • Lifestyle Coaching: Guidance on adopting a healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, exercise, and stress management, to support overall well-being and resilience against relapse.

The Process of Engaging Personal Sober Companion

Personal Sober Companion, the compassionate world of Sober Companionship and coaching.  Your beacon of hope for people navigating the difficult journey of addiction recovery. 

Engaging Personal Sober Companion is a step towards a supported and secure recovery, backed by professionalism and a commitment to your privacy and well-being.

Embarking on the journey with Personal Sober Companion involves a few clear steps, designed to ensure you find the right support tailored to your needs. Here is what the process looks like:

  • Initial Contact: Start with a conversation, either over the phone/Zoom/Whatsapp video or in person, to discuss your needs, expectations, and any specific concerns you have. This is a chance for you to ask questions and to understand how I can best support you.  Tel: +44 (0) 7801 240217  Email:  alex@personaltimesaver.co.uk
  • Face to Face Meeting: It is essential you like your sober coach.  We will have an initial consultation to see if we think we would like to work with each other.  I would encourage clients to meet more than one sober companion and then make their decision.  Do not feel pressured into taking on a sober companion, if your heart tells you not to.
  • Engagement Terms: Before beginning our journey together, we will discuss the terms of engagement, including the duration, expectations, and any specific goals you want to achieve with their support.
  • Confidentiality and Professionalism: Rest assured, your relationship with me is built on confidentiality and professionalism. You can expect a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental environment throughout your engagement.
  • Confidentiality Agreement:  All clients have a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).
  • Ongoing Support: Throughout our time together, you will have regular check-ins to discuss progress, adjust goals, and address any new challenges that arise.

Recovery Will Bring You Great Surprises

RECOVERY WILL BRING YOU GREAT SURPRISES

At the beginning of 2024, I was thrilled to be granted The Freedom of The City of London, for charitable work in mental health and addiction.

Telephone0780 1240217
Email Addressalex@personaltimesaver.co.uk
Address

Personal Time Saver Ltd
809 Howard House
Dolphin Square
London
SW1V 3PQ

What Is a Sober Companion?

A dedicated sober companion is more than just a guide; they are steadfast allies, offering unwavering support and accountability every step of the way. A sober companion is like a lighthouse for those sailing the stormy seas of recovery from addiction. Unlike therapists who provide mental health support or sponsors who share their own recovery experiences, sober companions are with you day by day, offering hands-on guidance and encouragement.

They stand by your side, helping you navigate daily challenges and making sure you stay on your recovery path. Imagine having a friend who not only understands the journey you are on but also gives you the tools and support to face each day with confidence. They are your guide, and confidant, all rolled into one. Their role is crucial because they provide a level of accountability that is hard to find elsewhere. They are there to catch you before you fall and to celebrate your victories, no matter how small. In the world of recovery, where every step forward counts, having a sober companion can make all the difference. They light the way to a brighter, sober future, offering constant companionship and care.

How to Choose the Right Sober Companion

Selecting the right Sober Companion is a crucial step in your recovery journey. Here are some tips and guidelines to help you make the best choice in the UK:

  • Long-term Sobriety:  Ensure the sober companion has long-term sobriety.  It is said, ‘It takes five years to find your marbles and another five years to learn how to use them’.  Ideally, sober companions should have 10+ years of continuous sobriety.  The absolute minimum should be 5 years.
  • Check Credentials: Ensure your sober companion has the necessary experience, involvement within the mental health sector.  This confirms they have the professional background to support you effectively.  Sober companionship is not regulated so due diligence is recommended.
  • Experience Matters: Look for someone with experience not just in the field of recovery, but also in dealing with situations similar to yours. Their past experiences can provide valuable insights for your own journey.
  • Compatibility is Key: You will be spending a lot of time with your sober companion, so it is important that you feel comfortable with them. Consider setting up an initial meeting to gauge how well you connect.
  • Ask for References: Do not hesitate to ask for references or testimonials from previous clients. Hearing about the experiences of others can give you a good idea of what to expect.
  • Criminal Record Check:  This is called a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.  Your sober companion will be working with you in your house and will have access to your valuables and network.
  • Understand Their Approach: Discuss their methods and strategies for dealing with challenges. Make sure their approach aligns with your needs and recovery goals.
  • Confidentiality Agreement and Non-Disclosure Agreement:  All professionals should insist on these to protect both parties.
  • Involvement in Recovery Activities eg; conferences, workshops etc:  Regular updates through workshops and courses to stay abreast of the latest practices in addiction recovery and mental health support.  Ongoing education fosters a deeper understanding of the complexities of addiction, enabling Sober Companions to offer more nuanced and effective support.  This reinforces trust and safety within the recovery journey.
  • Supervision:  Participation in peer review sessions and supervision to refine skills and adopt new methodologies, or ability to consult a qualified and regulated therapist.
  • Fellowship:  Your sober companion should be a member of a 12 Step Fellowship if you are doing 12 12-step recovery.  If you do not wish to do the 12-step approach, find a sober companion who has recovered in the manner you wish to.
  • Public Liability Insurance:  A professional Sober Companion should be fully insured.

Who Needs a Sober Companion?

Who stands to gain the most from walking side by side with a Sober Companion? Essentially, anyone on the path to reclaiming their life from addiction’s grasp will find a friend, guide, and supporter in a Sober Companion. Here’s who can benefit most:

  • Individuals in Early Recovery: The initial steps away from addiction are the most fragile. A Sober Companion acts as a steady hand, guiding you through this critical phase with understanding and support.
  • Those with a History of Relapse: If you have found yourself slipping back into old habits, a Sober Companion can be the anchor you need. They offer not just companionship but also the accountability crucial for navigating the rough waters of recovery.
  • Navigating Post-Rehab Life: Transitioning back to daily life after rehab can be daunting. A Sober Companion helps bridge the gap between rehab’s structured environment and the challenges of the outside world, ensuring you do not face this journey alone.
  • During High-Stress Times: Life does not pause for recovery. Whether it is a high-pressure job, family issues, or personal crises, a Sober Companion provides the support and strategies needed to maintain sobriety in the face of stress.

In these situations, a Sober Companion is not just a luxury; they are lifeline. Offering more than just company, they bring a mix of professional support, personal experience, and genuine care to the recovery process. Whether you are taking your first steps towards sobriety or navigating the complex journey of long-term recovery, a Sober Companion can make the path a little clearer and a lot less lonely.

What to Expect From a Sober Companion

Embarking on a journey with a Sober Companion by your side? Here is what to expect of care, support, and a personalised path towards sobriety:

  • Role and Responsibilities: Your Sober Companion is there to ensure you stay on the sober path, providing a mix of friendship, guidance, and oversight. They are part mentor, part coach, and fully committed to your recovery journey.
  • Emotional Support and Accountability: Like a trusted friend, they offer a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. More importantly, they hold you accountable, gently steering you back on course if you veer off path, ensuring every step taken is one towards recovery.
  • Personalised Care: No two journeys are the same, and your Sober Companion understands this. They tailor their approach to fit your needs, crafting strategies and support mechanisms that resonate with your personal recovery goals.
  • Activities and Techniques:
    • Daily check-ins to discuss challenges and victories
    • Accompaniment to appointments and meetings to keep you focused
    • Lifestyle coaching, from healthy habits to stress management techniques
    • Relapse prevention planning, helping you recognize and navigate triggers
  • Confidentiality and Trust: The foundation of the client-companion relationship is trust, cemented by an unbreakable commitment to confidentiality. Your journey, struggles, and triumphs are held in strict confidence, creating a safe space for openness and healing.

With a Sober Companion, expect a journey marked by understanding, respect, and a deep commitment to seeing you thrive in sobriety. They are not just guiding you through recovery; they are empowering you to reclaim your life, one day at a time.

The Benefits of Personal Sober Companion and Coach Services

Explore the transformative power of Personal Sober Companion and Coach Services, where each step towards recovery is supported with compassion, expertise, and a deep understanding of your personal journey. Here are the key benefits that make sober companionship an invaluable ally in your path to sobriety:

  • Tailored Support: Your journey is unique, and so is the support you receive. Sober companions adapt their approach to fit your specific needs, challenges, and goals, ensuring that the support you get is as unique as you are.
  • Constant Availability: Unlike traditional support services with fixed hours, sober companions are there for you when you need them most, offering guidance, encouragement, and a listening ear during critical moments.
  • Real-World Assistance: From Exploring social situations without alcohol to rebuilding relationships and establishing healthy routines, sober companions provide practical advice and hands-on help in real-world settings.
  • Emotional Support: Recovery is not just a physical journey but an emotional one too. Sober companions are there to offer emotional support, helping you deal with feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression in healthy ways.
  • Accountability: Having someone to answer to can make all the difference. Sober companions help keep you accountable, gently guiding you back on track if you start to stray from your recovery path.
  • Boosted Confidence: With a sober companion, you are never alone. This sense of companionship boosts your confidence in social situations, empowers you to face challenges, and reinforces your commitment to sobriety.

The Role of a Female Personal Sober Companion

Choosing a female personal sober companion can be a pivotal step in your recovery process, offering a unique blend of empathy, understanding, and strength. Here’s how a female companion can specifically support your journey to sobriety:

  • Personalized Empathy: Often, women bring a nurturing quality to the recovery process, providing comfort and a safe space for emotional expression and healing.
  • Gender-Specific Challenges: They are particularly adept at navigating issues that are more common in women, such as societal pressures, family dynamics, and dual diagnoses.
  • Relatability and Trust: Having a companion who relates to your experiences as a woman can enhance trust and open communication, vital components of a successful recovery.
  • Empowerment and Encouragement: A female sober companion empowers you by modeling strength and resilience, encouraging you to reclaim your independence and self-worth on the path to recovery.
  • Safety and Comfort: For many women, having a female companion provides a sense of security and comfort, which can be crucial during vulnerable times.

Engaging a female personal sober companion can be an empowering choice, fostering a supportive and understanding environment that nurtures your recovery every step of the way.

What is The Twelve Steps Method of Recovery?

The Twelve Steps method of alcoholism recovery, pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), is a structured program designed to guide individuals through the process of overcoming alcohol addiction. These steps involve admitting powerlessness over alcohol, recognizing a higher power, conducting a moral inventory, making amends to those harmed, and committing to ongoing personal growth and support for others struggling with addiction. The Twelve Steps serve as a roadmap for spiritual and psychological healing, emphasizing self-awareness, acceptance, and the importance of community and fellowship in achieving and maintaining sobriety. This approach has been widely adopted by various addiction recovery programs for its holistic approach to addressing the underlying causes of addiction and promoting lasting change. The Minnesota Model, also known as the Minnesota Method, is a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that originated in the state of Minnesota in the 1950s. It is characterised by a combination of therapeutic techniques, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, group therapy, individual counseling, family therapy, and the principles of the Twelve Steps program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Central to the Minnesota Model is the concept of abstinence-based treatment, where individuals are encouraged to abstain from all addictive substances. This model also emphasizes the importance of peer support and community involvement in the recovery process. The Minnesota Model has been influential in shaping modern addiction treatment programs and is widely used in both residential and outpatient settings around the world.

FAQS and Answers

The cost of hiring can vary significantly based on factors such as location, level of experience, and the duration and type of support required. On average, fees can range from £500 to £2,000 per day. Some companions might charge hourly rates, typically between £50 and £200 per hour, especially for shorter engagements or specific services like event escorting or transport to and from rehab centres. It’s important to discuss and agree on all costs upfront to ensure clarity and avoid any misunderstandings.

They offers personalised support and guidance to individuals recovering from addiction. Their role includes:

  • Providing 24-hour companionship to ensure continuous support.

  • Assisting with daily activities and routines to maintain sobriety.

  • Accompanying clients to appointments, meetings, and social events.

  • Offering emotional support and encouragement during challenging times.

  • Helping clients develop new hobbies, interests, and healthy habits.

  • Ensuring clients adhere to their aftercare plans and take prescribed medications.

  • Providing practical tools and strategies for relapse prevention.

  • Offering lifestyle coaching, including advice on nutrition, exercise, and stress management.

Whether you need a sober companion depends on your individual circumstances and recovery needs. A sober companion can be particularly beneficial if:

  • You are in early recovery and need constant support to avoid relapse.

  • You have a history of relapse and require additional accountability.

  • You are transitioning back to daily life after rehab and need help navigating this period.

  • You have a high-stress job or environment that makes maintaining sobriety challenging.

  • You feel isolated and need a supportive companion to help you build a new, sober lifestyle.

Finding a sober companion near you can be done through several avenues:

  • Professional networks: Contact local addiction recovery centres, therapists, or healthcare providers who may have recommendations.

  • Online directories: Use online resources and directories that list sober companion services.

  • Support groups: Attend local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings and ask for referrals.

  • Personal recommendations: Ask friends or family members who have undergone recovery for suggestions.

  • Sober companion agencies: Contact agencies that specialise in matching clients with sober companions.

Hiring a sober companion offers numerous benefits, including:

  • Tailored support: Personalised care and strategies designed to meet your specific needs and goals.

  • Constant availability: Access to support whenever you need it, especially during critical moments.

  • Real-world assistance: Practical help with everyday activities, social situations, and work requirements.

  • Emotional support: Someone to talk to and lean on during difficult times.

  • Accountability: Regular check-ins and oversight to keep you on track with your recovery.

  • Boosted confidence: Increased self-assurance in social situations and daily life.

  • Prevention of relapse: Early identification and management of potential triggers and challenges.

A sober companion should possess the following qualifications:

  • Long-term sobriety: Ideally, they should have 10+ years of continuous sobriety.

  • Relevant experience: Experience working with individuals facing addiction, mental health issues, or similar challenges.

  • Professional involvement: Participation in recovery activities, such as workshops and conferences.

  • Credentials: Background in mental health support, addiction recovery, or a related field.

  • Compatibility: Ability to connect and build trust with clients.

  • References: Positive testimonials or references from previous clients.

  • Criminal record check: A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to ensure safety and reliability.

  • Public liability insurance: Comprehensive insurance to cover their professional activities.

While both provide support to individuals in recovery, their roles differ:

  • Sober companion: Offers hands-on, daily support, often involving 24-hour companionship and direct assistance with daily activities and sobriety maintenance.

  • Recovery coach: Focuses on providing guidance and strategies for long-term recovery, often through scheduled coaching sessions. They help clients set goals, develop recovery plans, and build life skills but may not offer constant, on-the-spot support.

Yes, a sober companion can live with you if needed. This arrangement is common for individuals in early recovery or those requiring intensive support. A live-in sober companion provides round-the-clock assistance, ensuring continuous support and supervision. This arrangement can be temporary, such as immediately after leaving a rehab facility, or long-term, depending on your needs and recovery progress.

If you relapse while working with a sober companion, they will provide immediate support to help you get back on track. This includes:

  • Assessing the situation: Understanding the circumstances that led to the relapse.

  • Providing emotional support: Offering non-judgmental assistance and encouragement.

  • Revisiting the recovery plan: Identifying and addressing any gaps or challenges in your current plan.

  • Implementing relapse prevention strategies: Strengthening techniques and tools to prevent future relapses.

  • Coordinating with other professionals: Working with your therapist, healthcare provider, or rehab centre to ensure comprehensive support.

The aim is to minimise the impact of the relapse and help you resume your recovery journey as smoothly and quickly as possible.