Sober living homes – or sober houses – are a type of transitional housing that was created to fill a need for those completing treatment for substance abuse. Prior to the inception of these homes, individuals, armed with knowledge and coping skills, were being sent back into society once their rehab program ended. Unfortunately, because an individual who has just ended an addiction often experiences a weak state of mind in the early part of recovery, relapse was almost inevitable. This is when sober homes began to form.
A sober house provides structure, support, and guidance for those in early recovery. It can also mean the difference between relapsing and staying sober.
Follow the rules
Society has laws to keep people under control. Without them, and without law enforcement, some individuals may lack the self-control to maintain good, moral actions. It is similar within the walls of a sober home. These rules, held in place by the counselors at the home, are used to keep the individuals accountable and maintain structure.
Residents are given a list of rules to follow upon moving in. Many times, this list includes things, such as:
- No drug or alcohol use.
- Making your bed upon waking.
- Maintaining a clean personal area.
- No offensive language or behavior.
- No sexual contact or activity between residents.
- No stealing or intruding on personal space.
- Required attendance at support group meetings, as well as house meetings.
- A lights-out time.
These rules, among others, help the sober house to run smoothly for all who live there.
This transitional space allows for individuals to gradually return to their real-life responsibilities. For instance, residents may be required to either work or go to school. This reinstates the feeling of independence while remaining surrounded by those who can help keep you on a positive path. Think about this – many addicts who have a rough day often go home and use to forget the day or, at the very least, no longer feel its aggravation. However, if you are a resident in a sober home, you will go home to a supportive community that can help you work through your rough day – the sober way.
In other words, by taking on your responsibilities while staying in a sober home, you will learn invaluable lessons to help you face the many obstacles you will encounter in daily life.
A great support system
A sober home involves sharing a home – and possibly even a room – with others who have stories similar to yours. They understand what you are going through, as they are going through it, as well. In addition, the counselors who run these sober homes are trained to handle your journey through sobriety. Collectively, these individuals form a great support system for you.
It doesn’t stop there. Counseling sessions and group meetings will teach skills of problem-solving and conflict resolution. Also, having a mentor can help guide you in the right direction. As a result, your self-confidence and self-esteem will increase.
Living on your own, it is common to intend to be present at many 12-step meetings. Unfortunately, life can get busy and, before you know it, it can spin out of control and your meetings will get pushed to the back burner. Often, this is a recipe for disaster.
Sober homes can be very beneficial with this aspect. See, in a sober home, you take on your additional responsibilities, but you are unable to skip meetings. It’s part of the rules you agree to follow and you must follow them. After all, they take those rules seriously.
All of this leads you to succeed at managing your work or school, as well as making your sobriety a priority. You will learn skills and techniques to manage your time and your priorities that you can take with you when you transition to living on your own.
Chores are another responsibility added to your day. Many times, each individual is assigned a specific chore, or set of chores, that they must do each day. This may include cleaning, such as sweeping floors, dusting, bathroom, etc. Or, depending on the sober home, you could be in charge of cooking on a particular night.
The chores you may encounter will depend greatly on the sober home you live in. However, the reason behind them is the same – to teach you accountability and responsibility. You must complete your chore before you can do something you enjoy. The more diligent you are with your chores, the more rewards you are able to earn.
Free time with friends
Just because you reside in a sober home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have at least some time to yourself. Generally, free time is given each evening. This is your time to watch tv, write an email, read a book, or socialize with other house members. Often, the more you follow the rules and do as you are supposed to, the more free-time you can acquire.
The other residents at the sober home will likely become like a family to you. After all, living in close quarters brings people together. It is even common to form lifelong bonds with some of these individuals. It is not every day that you meet people who understand how you feel.
Upon exiting sober home living, you will cherish these friendships, as you may struggle to relate to the friends of your past. Your friends at home will still be where you left them – but you have grown. You are no longer the same person you were before treatment and sober home living. Therefore, believing that you can go back to your old life with your old friends is a mistaken reality. Instead, accept those who on their journey right beside you.
Sober home living is not for everyone, but it is incredibly beneficial to your sobriety. Be held accountable for your actions, discover new coping skills to tackle your responsibilities, and meet new friends. If you work hard, sober home living is an experience that can change your life.