Soberlink: 21st Century Alcohol Monitoring

By Justin Cambria

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A critical component of our case management and recovery coaching services is alcohol monitoring. We have been surprised at how well our clients have responded to monitoring – it’s been a highly effective motivational tool in our arsenal as we help people navigate early recovery. We have partnered with soberlink to provide state-of-the-art remote breahtalyzers. These devices send clients a text message alert at a time of their case managers choosing, and then prompt them to submit a breathalyzer reading. The results are then geo-tagged and loaded to a secure web portal, where the case manager can view them. We wrote a story on their soberinfo blog about our good experiences with these devices.

Read more about OPG’s Monitoring Services.

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Here’s our original post in full:

SOBERLINK has been one of our core tools at O’connor Professional Group for our case management clients who struggle with alcohol use and are trying to get sober. When we first teamed up with SOBERLINK, utilizing this tool was a no brainer for us from the case management side – we could easily agree with the general premises behind the device. As we are often hired by the family of someone struggling with substance abuse, having the ability to constantly monitor sobriety and report on it had huge value to us, and the families with whom we work. And, having our clients stay accountable to something that monitors their sobriety multiple times per day worked well with the kind of deeply involved community based case management services we provide.

What has been surprising for us has been how well the clients have responded to using the device. The combination of convenience, innovative technology, and the ability to back up their progress in sobriety has really resonated with our clients. One client in particular claimed that doing the SOBERLINK 3 times each day was the most helpful thing he had ever done in early recovery. We anticipated more difficulty than we have had in getting people to buy into using the device, and several of them have expressed how much they like it. The knowledge of the transparency of the reports seems to help people to motivate themselves to stay sober. One could easily see this as being a more punitive, authoritative measure, but that has not been our experience in using the device.

In our roles as case managers, we have to walk the delicate line between a supportive advocate for each client, and the person who helps them to set and hold sober accountability on a practical level. When wearing these two hats, the easier to don for most people is that of supporter; it’s fun and gratifying to boost your clients when they experience personal milestones and success in staying sober. It can be a more difficult conversation to say, ‘Hey look, you committed to do this and you haven’t done it.’

SOBERLINK has really helped with this, and almost eliminated the need for our case managers to ask about alcohol use. The device itself holds the accountability, and given how convenient it is for our clients, they usually don’t mind using it. This frees up the case manager to support the client, and also, missed tests are a pretty good indicator that something else could be going on. We are very grateful to have this tool in our arsenal and anticipate continuing to use it for the foreseeable future.

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