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What is a Recovery Companion and how do I know if I need one?

Recovery Companions are trained and experienced professionals who are there to assist as clients make their transition back into independent living. The path to recovery is complex and unique to each person and having the assistance of a Companion during this time can be life-changing. Companions act as a bridge between treatment and starting to live daily life and creating a new routine at home.

Their services include:

  • Setting up a foundation and integrating the client into the recovery community at home
  • Establishing short- and long-term goals and a game plan for achieving them
  • Establishing a new daily routine for the client
  • Applying the tools learned in treatment or rehab in daily life
  • Helping clients cope and work through identified triggers
  • Reintegrating into work, school, or other activities as preferred, or helping the client find new opportunities
  • Creating a healthy balance between work and play, self-nourishment and service
  • Finding deep joy, excitement and fulfillment in entirely new ways

What does a Recovery Companion actually do?

The Recovery Companion demonstrates and supports a healthy life schedule of keeping regular hours, teaches and supports nourishing eating and exercise routines and proper sleep hygiene, and helps the client develop a daily balance between work and play. A key goal is helping the client find a healthy alternative to all-or-nothing thinking in every aspect of his or her life.

How long does a Recovery Companion need to stay with a client after treatment or rehab?

The Recovery Companion stays with the client anywhere from a week to several months – how long depends on many individual variables.  It’s the Recovery Companion’s job not to create a dependency for the client on the Companion, but rather to help the client build a new sober experience and confidence – so that when the Companion leaves, the client is secure and comfortable using their new tools for living they have acquired.

When a client starts to clear the wreckage of their past, parts of their new life can feel uncomfortable, nerve-wracking … often quite daunting.  Gemma Recovery Group works with clients to smooth out the edges and provide a segue into the next chapter of their life. What that actually means looks different in every case.  Our goal is to create the level of autonomy each person needs to become independent.

For example, if the house is not in good shape, a cleaning agency or home repair service will be called.  In other cases, if the client hasn’t attended to their paperwork or business affairs for some time; the Recovery Companion is trained to assist.  Or perhaps there are social commitments or other events awaiting the client, which are not comfortable or safe for the client to attend without a sober Companion along guiding them through the situation.  Any and all of these things – and more – can feel overwhelming to someone who has been tucked away in treatment … whether rehab or detox.  And we know that feeling overwhelmed can be a major trigger for addicts.

How can I feel safe with a stranger in my home?

Recovery Companions operate with the highest degree of professionalism and discretion at all times. 100% confidentiality is an essential aspect of our service.  All our companions are trained for the work they do so you won’t feel they’re intruders.  They are sensitive to the individual needs and preferences of each client.

Are Recovery Companions more like therapists or nurses, or like a medical caretaker? Or simply like a friend who's had special training?

Each Recovery Companion brings a wealth of personal and professional expertise to the client they are working with.  They are not clinicians and do not take the place of therapists or medical assistance, but work in tandem with the client’s treatment team to help guide them to deeper and sustainable recovery.  Companions also differ from friends.  While a deep bond of trust, growth, and fun often occurs between the client and companion, they also maintain professional boundaries throughout the process.

A Recovery Companion provides the client with an interim stage between inpatient rehabilitation and a return to independent living.  Too many times clients are rushed in their recovery process back into the chaos and stress of their daily lives, following weeks or months in the cocoon of inpatient treatment or rehab. This often leads to feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of maintaining their recovery, and may lead to relapse and further damage.

The Recovery Companion helps the client evolve into a fresh new life following treatment, by integrating and mastering daily life activities with a 24/7 support person for the time period needed.

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Are your services covered by insurance?

While Recovery Companion services are not currently covered by insurance, we do work with families looking for treatment to find programs that are within their means and present options that are covered by the client’s insurance plan.

What are your rates?

Please contact us directly for information on our rates at info@gemmarecoverygroup.com.  All inquiries are 100% confidential.

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I see you're based in New York City. Can I work with you if I live outside of the New York or Los Angeles area?

Certainly — we have recovery coaches/companions all across the country, who can come directly to where you are.  We can help you wherever you are in the world.

If we decide to work together, is there an initial assessment process? Who is this conducted by?

Clinical assessments can be provided by a licensed psychotherapist. If the client and their family do not want or need a clinical assessment, Gemma Recovery Group offers a general assessment to fully understand the needs and goals of the client.

What is your confidentiality policy?

All Recovery Companions sign a confidentiality agreement.  Any details on the client’s progress are logged and communicated to the Gemma Recovery Group case manager to assist in improving the experience and value of the client’s time with the Recovery Companion.

Do you provide a sober facility for 24/7 living during the recovery process?

No, we do not – we are a Recovery Companion agency that specializes in providing live-in Recovery Companions.

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Can you explain what the exact stages of the process would be if we work together?

The short answer is, not really.  Each client comes with their own unique story – so no two processes look the same, and there really aren’t set stages.  The pace, progress, and route are determined by the individual and their companion, in conjunction with the case manager, treatment team, and participating family members.  The benefit of having a Recovery Companion is the opportunity to work individually using an approach that is entirely customized to your specific recovery.

In all their interactions, clients of Gemma Recovery Group are provided with personalized attention and individualized support from recovery professionals who are familiar with your situation – you will never be forwarded to a staff member who doesn’t know who you are or sent to voicemail hell!

Do I get to select my Recovery Companion, or is he or she simply assigned to me -- how do I know I'll be able to get along with them?

We work to gain a thorough understanding of the client’s personality, needs, and history before pairing them with a companion.  We have years of experience matching clients and companions, and take into account the unique personalities and needs of both.  If for any reason a client decides they would like to work with a different companion after they have spent time together, we are happy to discuss and accommodate their request.

You refer to each client having a Treatment Team - who is this team comprised of?

Depending on the situation, a treatment team can consist of a case manager, primary therapist, psychiatrist, medical doctors, and clinical team from the inpatient facility the client has recently been discharged from.  The treatment team often changes and expands throughout the process as the client’s needs shift.

Do you refer clients to therapists or facilities as part of your services?

Yes.  We do not charge or receive compensation for this service.  We also are not affiliated with any doctors or facilities but do assist with placement based on our experience.

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What specific addictions are you and your Recovery Companions trained to work with - is it just alcoholism?

Gemma Recovery Group Recovery Companions are trained to work with a wide range of addictions, including alcohol, drugs, prescription medications (including opioids), marijuana, cocaine, gambling, sex, screen/technology addictions, gaming, eating disorders, hoarding, rage, and co-occurring disorders.

I don’t have an addiction issue but I am still interested in having a Recovery Companion, is that something you can help with?

Yes.  We also have Recovery Companions who can work with clients who identify as having a primary mental health disorder.

Do you have a physician or licensed psychotherapist serving as a consultant?

Yes.  We work with Paige Greytok, a licensed psychotherapist who also assists with our clinical assessments.  You can read more about her here.

There are many other companies offering services like yours; why should I choose Gemma Recovery Group.?

Thérèse and Chelsea had both been Recovery Companions for many years before launching Gemma Recovery Group in 2013. They understand first-hand the skill set necessary to support clients short- or long-term. They take the time to carefully screen clients and vet their companions for their experience, professionalism, integrity, and discretion.

Gemma Recovery Group policy is that Thérèse and Chelsea are updated daily on the progress of every client – and in that way can further support both the client AND the companion on an ongoing basis.  This daily supervision adds momentum to the recovery process, further supporting both the client and the companion.

Gemma Recovery Group emphasizes the day-to-day involvement of Thérèse and Chelsea in maintaining accountability for both the client and the companion.

I’m still not sure your services are for me -- do you offer a free phone consultation to interested parties?

Absolutely.  We are happy to help answer any questions you may have and help you find what will work best for you.

As a client, would I have to be involved in a 12 Step group?

What we do as Recovery Companions is not affiliated with any 12 step program.  We work to support the client in finding what will work for them, creating a comprehensive and personalized support plan that can include 12 step programs if desired, but can also utilize SMART recovery, Refuge recovery, and others.  The ultimate goal is to ensure the client feels involved and supported with a network of peers in recovery.

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How do you involve the client's family in the process you provide?

Our case managers work directly with the family to ensure they are kept up to date and supported.  We also encourage and assist family members as they find what support network will work for them as they process their loved one’s recovery.

What is the difference between recovery companion support for the client and support from a therapist during the recovery process?

Companions are trained to “stay in their lane.”  They leave the “whys” to the therapists and instead look more to coaching the client about their life in the now.  The companion will suggest and brainstorm around what actions can be taken or what actions might actually be sabotaging the recovery process.  Unlike a therapist, the companion is available in real time and in the client’s life setting to encourage fresh, healthy, and supportive choices.

You mention that the client will have a case manager - what exactly does that person do, and who would that be?

Thérèse Byrne and Chelsea Lawrence are the case managers who communicate directly on a daily basis with the companion and relay progress information to the rest of the treatment team and family.  This allows the companion to focus directly on their work with the client.  Case managers receive detailed updates from the companion on daily activities and progress, and are also available for the client as an additional source of support.

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If I need to reach you immediately, or outside of business hours, how accessible are you?

We are available virtually 24/7 — you will not reach an answering service or voicemail box and have a lengthy wait for a call back.  Of course, if you are experiencing a medical or psychiatric emergency, you should first call 911.

Gemma Recovery Group understands that clients and family members often need immediate support; we encourage you to reach out and call.

Let’s Make it Easier...Together.