Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Recovery Support Specialist?

A Recovery Support Specialist is also known as a recovery coach, peer support specialist, sober companion, sober coach, and or recovery advocate.  Recovery Support Specialists form a partnership with the client.  The Recovery Support Specialist "meets the client where they are" and  the client directs his/her goals for recovery,  while the Recovery Support Specialist provides expertise in supporting successful change.  Recovery Fusion raises the bar with helping the client build a highly successful team providing access to the very best resources and referrals. Recovery Fusion works primarily with treatment providers that help the client create a treatment plan and then helps the client successfully reach their recovery oriented goals.  

More than 50% of individuals discharged from addiction treatment resume alcohol and/or drug use within the following twelve months. In fact, the majority relapse within 30-90 days of discharge.  Thus, the role of the Recovery Support Specialist has emerged to provide a link between short-term treatment institutions and lifelong recovery maintenance (White 2006).

Recovery Support Specialists provide different models of care depending on the agency you choose.  They can encompass sober companion work, or hourly sessions all the way up to  24/7 care.  The Recovery Support Specialist functions as a professional mentor, advocate, and confidant to help clients with goal setting, decision making, and supports recovery initiation to recovery maintenance. Recovery Support Specialists DO NOT offer primary treatment. 

Are Recovery Support Specialists Effective?

Various small-scale studies indicate that peers involved in Recovery Support Specialist interventions have beneficial effects on participants, because factors that maintain recovery are different than the factors that initiate recovery.  For example, the implementation of a Recovery Support Specialist lowered re-hospitalization rates by nearly 15% (Min, Whitecraft, Rothbard, & Salzer, 2007).

Furthermore, studies indicate a 10-15% increase in post-discharge sobriety time achieved by the individuals receiving the peer intervention (O’Connell, Flanigan, Delphin-Rittmon & Davidson 2014). Peer-based recovery support services have also been linked to enhanced engagement, access, treatment completion, and improved long-term recovery Boyle et al. (2001) in addition to improved relationships with providers and social supports, increased satisfaction with treatment, reduced rates of relapse, and increased retention in treatment Rief (2014).

 According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, California has a 24.5% re-admission rate for patients in residential detox programs.  Thus, successful addiction treatment and lower readmission rates require continuous support, as well as treatment of co-occurring problems within the individual, family, and community.

What’s the Difference Between a Recovery Support Specialist, 12-Step Sponsor, and Therapist?

A Recovery Support Specialist is not the same as, nor does it replace, a therapist or 12-Step Sponsor; although, it is often used concurrently with these services.

While counselors and therapists spend more time examining the past, Recovery Support Specialists provide services to help clients work on future focused forward goals.

The relationship established between a Recovery Support Specialist and client is also more collegial in nature than that of the “doctor-patient” relationship between a therapist and client

 Unlike a 12-Step sponsor—who’s singleness of purpose is to help their sponcee to stay sober by working through the 12-Steps—a Recovery Support Specialist is not affiliated with a particular program, and therefore does not promote one over the other.  Rather, a Recovery Support Specialist works with their client to create a customized vision to fit his/her individual needs.

Who Needs A Recovery Recovery Support Specialist?

People hire Recovery Support Specialists for a variety of reasons—some wish to explore whether or not recovery is right for them (recovery initiation), while others already identify themselves as active participants in recovery, and therefore want to enhance their progress (recovery maintenance). 

People also hire Recovery Support Specialists to facilitate the transition from a short-term treatment center back into their community. This transition is often much more difficult and much less acknowledged than that of the transition into treatment


For How Long and How Often Do People Meet With Their Recovery Support Specialist?

The goal of the client determines the role of the Recovery Support Specialist.

In other words, the frequency of meetings between the client and Recovery Support Specialist, as well as the and total length of the relationship, can range from a phone call every few weeks to 24/7 assistance, depending on what the client wants to accomplish and at what pace they client feels comfortable moving forward.

What is a 24/7 Recovery Support Specialist/Sober Companion?

  • The Recovery Support Specialist lives in the client’s home and introduces the sober person to a recovery lifestyle by creating a consistent daily sober regime.
  • The companion helps the client adjust to the significant emotional, mental and physical changes brought about by sobriety.
  • The Recovery Support Specialist companion can refer or work alongside other professionals to aid in the recovery process as well.
  • Sobriety support encompasses, but is not limited to, finding safe and comfortable meetings and creating a relapse-prevention plan.
  • The Recovery Support Specialistmay also act as a supporter to accompany a client to events such as weddings, funerals, divorce or other legal proceedings — that may have the potential to lead to relapse.