Duties & FAQs

How Does a Smart Sponsor Get Started?

The first step is to have your sponsee complete a release form. After that, you will be contacted by the smartIOP staff to go over the key tool, Utila.


Background Check

The background check requirements are governed by state requirements, and may change. You will be instructed on what exactly is required at the time of your volunteering, but in general you can expect a fingerprint card to be filled out at a law enforcement station, and a full criminal check of the state and federal databases.

What do I DO?

The duties are pretty straight forward:

  1. Report via a secure text message service (Utila) if your sponsee is still clean and sober, and if they attended a 12-step meeting that week.clean-and-sober
  2. Ensure participation with members of your sponsee’s support system for groups. These groups are meant to be fun, but also educational. The entire purpose is to inform the support system an addict has around them, to make everyone aware of the disease, symptoms, and warning signs. The more people who can work in communication exercises, or discuss triggers and solutions, the better. communication_exercise
  3. Optional Testing. Smart Sponsors are allowed to use the drug test/breathalyzer tools at any time. If the sponsee refuses, please report on Utila.

What is an intensive outpatient program?

Intensive Outpatient Programs or IOPs are outpatient programs to treat drug addiction and alcoholism. An IOP is typically completed before or after a traditional, residential 30-day rehab program and includes counseling to address co-occurring mental health issues.

IOPs are recognized by the courts and insurance companies as being more effective than outpatient therapy alone. Judges often use IOPs in sentencing to reduce the chance of another conviction and many insurance companies require participation in an IOP before paying for a 30-day rehabilitation program.

How much of a time commitment is the program? How many hours a week?

The program will average 8.3 hours a week if completed in 12 weeks, 14.7 hours a week if completed in 6 weeks. (There is a weekly check-in and outside meeting attendance in addition to the fixed amount of education and therapy.)

What types of addiction can be treated with smart IOP?

smart IOP was designed to treat those who are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs.

Is smart IOP licensed and accredited?

Yes, we are licensed by the State of Virginia. If you live outside of Virginia, please call us to see if our license is honored in your state.

What are the qualifications of the smart IOP staff?

All the staff are licensed by the State of Virginia. They are Licensed Therapists, Psychologists, Social Workers, Substance Abuse Counselors, or Residents in Counseling. The person you will work with depends on your schedule, their availability and your individual needs.

Will I be able to reach a therapist all hours of the day/night?

You will have a weekly check-in that will be scheduled. Our main number is available for unscheduled check-ins or major issues, but we return those calls 8 am – 9:30 pm EST. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance.

Is the smart IOP platform secure and private?

Yes, all communications are secure by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) standards.

What are the technical requirements to use smart IOP?

smart IOP works well on all devices, operating systems and web browsers. You will need a secure, high-speed connection to the internet and a camera to access private video teleconferencing sessions with your treatment team. Please note that the only compatibility issues have been found when using older cameras, typically ones manufactured by “off” brands.

How long will it take to complete the smart IOP program?

6-12 weeks

If I am not happy with treatment can I end treatment early?

Yes, this is a voluntary treatment and you can stop at any time.

What is a smart IOP smart Sponsor?

A smart Sponsor is someone you select, typically a friend or family member, to support you during your time in the smart IOP program. smart Sponsors are required to:

  • Pass a state-conducted background check
  • Perform periodic sobriety checks on you
  • Attend weekly support group meetings with you
  • Verify that you have watched all of the program videos

How will my participation/completion in smart IOP be verified?

Your smart Sponsor will verify your participation and completion in the smart IOP program. With your permission, we can also notify other individuals that you designate.

Can I stay in contact with my therapist once I complete the smart IOP program?

Some of our therapists do have private clients but most work full time for us and only work with people in the program. Depending on your insurance, there may be optional or mandatory telemedicine “follow-up” visits, which can be done by your therapist. Please ask us about this if you wish to continue treatment after the program ends.