Sober living is a stage in recovery that occurs after inpatient treatment and detoxification (detox). It is a transitional process that prepares and guides recovering drug and alcohol abusers towards a fully independent life back in the outside world. Because alcoholism and drug addiction are chemical dependencies, sober living can be difficult to achieve independently once their primary treatment program is over.
The rehabilitation and recovery process is discussed between physicians, mental health professionals, and the client prior to leaving treatment. While the ultimate goal is for the recovering addict to maintain their sobriety, it is a difficult road due to various factors like chemical components (which may result in side effects, physical symptoms, or addiction urges), access to substances, and other stressors. Since most inpatient treatment programs are completed in a relatively short period of time, it can be difficult to achieve lasting sobriety (without help), especially if the addiction persisted for a long amount of time.
Recovering addicts may choose to live at a sober living residence after leaving treatment. Based on the noted rates of success at sober living facilities, physicians, mental health professionals, and medical organizations often encourage this pathway for clients. The residences help recovering abusers adjust back to regular life through support, accountability, and therapy.
The Benefit of Rules and Stability
Sober living homes offer a warm, peaceful, and stable living environment. Residences are beneficial because they are completely free from outside pressures and harmful influences. There usually have staff or a house manager who lives and works on-site to run operations and assist residents.
Depending on the type of sober living home, they may provide supplemental activities like, hiking, yoga, meditation, or mindfulness programs. These activities can be helpful when used in addition to therapy or medication.
Individual therapy and group counseling (example: 12-step sponsorship programs) are necessary parts of post-treatment life. If the meetings do not take place on the property, sober living homes may assist in providing or finding reliable transportation for residents, ensuring that they get to their meetings.
Sober living homes all have strict rules. There are usually visitor restrictions or visitor bans (in some cases), and there are no overnight clients allowed. But all homes, regardless of type, require sobriety for the entirety of their stay. All residents must submit to random drug testing in order to prove that they are living clean and sober.
Sober Life After Treatment and Detox
Sober life will include struggles and obstacles, mostly due to addiction urges or pain from breaking their chemical dependence. During withdrawal, recovering addicts may experience headaches, flu-like symptoms, restlessness, tremors, and even seizures (for addictions to psychoactive drugs or alcohol). Emotional withdrawal symptoms may result in depression, anxiety, insomnia, isolation, irritability, or an inability to focus.
For withdrawal and detox, the actual time varies based on the length of the addiction, type of drug used, method, amount taken, genetic links and variants, and medical history. Once the substance has completely left the body and the individual is in stable health, the client is usually discharged after (at least) 30 days of being drug and alcohol free. However, addiction cravings will still be present, making the ongoing process of recovery extremely challenging.
The Benefit of Support in Sober Living
Chemical dependency takes a long time to permanently break, but the quest for sobriety should not be viewed fearfully. Physicians, medical workers, and mental health professionals all provide consistent support when a client is undergoing primary treatment, detox, and rehabilitation. After treatment, sober living homes provide helpful assistance for easing recovery challenges.
A return to drug and alcohol usage simmers in moments of triggering memories, absolute solitude, negative thinking, and loneliness. However, sober living prevents those moments from gaining leverage and finding a way to grow. The built-in sober living community is a support system that forces recovering addicts to interact not only with other residents, but also with house staff, doctors, therapists, twelve-step program sponsors, and wellness experts.
Ensuring that you have a specific plan for life after treatment is also important for success. Fighting an active addiction needs routine, rules, and firm boundaries. Sober living provides this by minimizing stressors, while methodically preparing residents for life on their own.
A Changed Life
After leaving a primary treatment program, family and friends are no longer suitable candidates for support. In certain instances, family or friends may hinder recovery, knowingly or unknowingly. If a recovering substance abuser returns to their homes, they may have access to someone who can supply them with substances or may want to use again, due to stress or a triggering event. Recovering substance abusers should not live with family or friends. Additionally, past histories and personal feelings prevent them from helping recovering addicts in a professional or healthy way.
Sober living demands accountability through strict rules and guidelines. Household tasks, therapy, meeting attendance, visitor restrictions, and curfews give recovering abusers a routine that will not need supervision or substances after they leave the home.
A sober living facility has trained professionals to provide support for people trying to break a chemical dependency for good. Sober living homes have staff members, an in-house manager, or both. They provide support round the clock. Relapse prevention relies on the ability to have frequent access to a 12-step sponsor, but in the event that they cannot be reached, help can be found in a house manager, staff member, or roommate.
Sober living recovery residences have positive, statistically proven rates of success for people transitioning back to independent life and sobriety. Preventative measures for relapse needs a community and peer-to-peer support. Individuals who choose to live in sober living benefit from the in-house support. Out of all recovering substance abusers, eighty-seven percent of people maintained their abstinence due to their support network from sober living communities. Communal living in a controlled, peaceful, and substance-free environment positively outweighs all other recovery options. Don’t waste another moment struggling with healing on your own. Find help today.