One of the greatest challenges faced by individuals recovering from addiction is reintegration into mainstream society. Although many people may complete detox and rehabilitation programs, the recovery process requires new tools and coping mechanisms to maintain a sober lifestyle. To provide recovering addicts with the support they need during the transition from rehab back to everyday life, a variety of sober living programs have been developed. Sober living homes offer addicts a stable drug- and alcohol-free environment where they can establish healthy habits and cope with difficult situations without resorting to drug and alcohol use.
According to a 2010 study published by the National Institute of Health, individuals recovering from drug and alcohol addiction were better able to reduce or eliminate drug and alcohol use, decrease criminal activity, maintain gainful employment, and improve their overall psychological health when placed in sober living situations. These positive outcomes remained consistent even for participants who ended their sober living program during the study.
Sober living refers to programs designed to provide recovering addicts with a stable, drug- and alcohol-free environment from which to slowly reestablish healthy social habits and meaningful relationships with their community, family, and friends. Each sober living situation is different, so it is important to find the right situation for each patient’s particular needs. While some facilities may act as transitional housing for recovering addicts straight from rehab, with more supervision and structure to prevent the risk of a relapse, other sober living situations offer a more relaxed environment in which residents must only adhere to drug- and alcohol-free policies and a curfew. In order to ensure that each resident is a good fit for the overall method and group dynamic, there is often an interview process. Potential residents are encouraged to explore multiple options and discuss with their therapist or recovery counselor in order to ensure that they choose the best situation for their own recovery plan.
The primary goal of sober living is to ensure that recovering individuals have the support systems they need to continue their recovery plan. It is important to know that sober living is a series of commitments to a long-term goal, and sometimes there are challenges. For residents in sober living situations, it can be easier to cope with negative emotions and difficult situations through a network of supportive residents, administrators, and therapists. Providing former addicts with a safe and stable environment where they can learn these coping skills helps to ensure that they stay on the path to recovery in spite of these challenges.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes are specialized residences shared by sober individuals who choose to abstain from drugs and alcohol. They are a critical step between clinical rehab and reintroduction into mainstream society, and usually incorporate a recovery plan such as AA or 12-step programs which allow individuals to continue on their path to recovery.
Unlike rehab clinics, sober living homes are integrated into residential neighborhoods, and members can slowly become acquainted with members of the community, work a daily job, and even socialize outside the house, depending on the house rules. Although they have a lower level of supervision than 24-hour rehab facilities, sober living homes do provide some structure for individuals at different levels of recovery. The fundamental purpose of a sober living home is to encourage residents to take on more normal tasks and become more comfortable with the responsibilities of day-to-day life, while avoiding potential triggers or destructive behaviors that could lead to a relapse.
Sober Living Daily Life
A typical day in a sober living residence generally includes the completion of household chores, such as cleaning or making breakfast. Residents will usually attend a morning meeting with the other house residents, a therapist, or attend a 12-step or other recovery related meeting. The rest of the day is given to job hunting, community service, studying, or working. At the end of the day, residents share a meal together and often have an evening meeting to discuss their thoughts and challenges from the day and offer each other support. After the evening meeting, residents are encouraged to enjoy sober activities on their own, including watching television, calling friends, or chatting with family members.
Although each sober living facility is different, most share the following rules:
● Drug and Alcohol Free: Sober living facilities generally require strict adherence to drug- and alcohol-free living. Drugs and alcohol may not be kept on the premises, and newly sober roommates may be accompanied when they leave the residence, in order to ensure that they are adhering to the sobriety policy.
● Random Drug Testing: In order to ensure that residents are in compliance with drug and alcohol free policies, residents may be subject to random drug testing.
● Recovery Meetings: Sober living homes typically require residents to be present at regularly scheduled house meetings, 12-step or other recovery meetings, and counseling appointments, as necessary for their recovery plan.
● Strict Curfew: Even in less structured sober living homes, residents are generally required to adhere to a strict evening curfew. Members may also need to sign in and out to ensure that their time is accounted for.
● Household Chores: Residents are generally required to help with household chores, pay rent, and contribute to bills.
Sober Living Near Me
The social support and added structure of sober living homes allows residents to settle into healthy daily routines without feeling isolated or falling back into harmful habits. The encouragement and friendship provided by other residents and administrators helps people who are in recovery establish healthy relationships, form healthy habits, and incorporate healthy coping mechanisms and tools that will help them stay sober for life.
If you or someone you know is in need of a safe sober living situation, there are options available in your area! Visit our directory to see hundreds of options for sober living, rehab, and recovery facilities near you that can help you on your way to a sober and healthy lifestyle.