Sober living is a recovery option for former users who have completed primary treatment for a substance abuse. Sober living is not just a temporary home, but a lifestyle. Residential life teaches former users how to function in the regular world without having to turn to drugs or alcohol. This main goal of all sober living facilities is ingrained in the atmosphere of daily life before residents even step foot through the door.
Sober living is not the same as independent living and this can take some adjustment. And while residents understand that strict house rules exist to serve their sobriety, the transition may be problematic.
However, studies from the National Center of Biotechnology Information cite that choosing to live at a previous home or choosing to live independently without guidelines can ruin sobriety chances even for the most focused individual. Sober living is the best choice for life after addiction and detox.
Typically, substance abusers lived a life in an altered state when they were using. Alcoholics suffered from phases of blackouts and delirium. Drug abusers experienced manic highs and lows. All addicts chase that reward, which is that fleeting feeling of euphoria. Their need is not just to avoid real life, but also to escape it indefinitely. This pushes them toward substances that will alter their consciousness. And it does. Even at the cost of their health, life, and future.
How Sober Living Works
After intake, primary treatment, and detox completion, recovering addicts are encouraged to enter a sober living home. By making the choice to stay, they are giving themselves a different and healthy life experience. It is one free from potential triggering stressors and temptations to use drugs or alcohol.
During sober living intake procedures, general information is gathered, in addition to data related to substance usage and plans. Questions often asked are about the last time drugs or alcohol were used, existing medical conditions, and if the applicant is under physician or a center’s care. School, job, and criminal background questions are also standard.
Questions vary based on the type of house and their operations, but ultimately they want they want to get a clear depiction of your history, in addition to your goals for sober living. Intake specialists will do their best to help individuals find the right program for them.
A Sober Living House
Often times, sober living homes have a house manager who runs daily operations and oversees residents. However, as the need for sober living develops, more homes are adding to their services to provide the best care. Some sober living homes employ a complete staff so that residents will have assistance at all times.
Overnight managers create an added benefit. Residents will be assured if they have addiction urges and are unable to get in touch with their sponsor. An overnight manager ensures that they will have support to turn to. On site staff may not be medical professionals, but they are trained in the ins and outs of addiction and recovery.
Sober living homes have higher than average success rates when compared to other options. Maintaining sobriety can be problematic due to the biological components of chemical dependency. After primary treatment, clients are often released after approximately thirty days of being clean and sober. This leaves residual addiction urges the opportunity to grow.
The peaceful and orderly environment of a sober living home requires an adherence to house rules. Random drug testing keeps residents focused on the goal of staying sober. It is also the central element of sober living’s purpose for existence.
Sobriety relies on structure, routines, and rules in order to eliminate outside influences and seclusion. Those moments can trigger a relapse, so day-to-day life in sober living requires a schedule. Sober living encourages routines that place importance on treatment, for both addiction and other mental health illnesses.
Daily life may require residents to participate in house activities, chores, or group activities. Homes may permit residents to leave for work or school. But often therapy, twelve-step meeting attendance, and participation in a house activity (like a holistic treatment), are incremented parts of daily life. Residents must abide by the curfew and strict visitor policy.
Day-to-day life in sober living is organized with activities and treatments that positively affect the mind, body, and spirit. However, an emphasis on self-care, healing, and sobriety are the permanent aspects of daily life. Residents learn how to live healthily in preparation for leaving sober living.
Types of Sober Living Support
Sober living may be community-focused residences, which center on creating bonds through peer recovery and support. Homes may create an extra sense of group togetherness through outdoor excursions, wellness classes, twelve-step meetings, and group therapy. All sober living homes strongly recommend, if not require, regular twelve-step meeting attendance, due to its success rates with recovery.
Group therapy can find solutions for dealing with depression, anxiety, loss, and stress from addiction. The exchanges in group therapy aim to foster a sense of understanding and support. By hearing others’ stories connected to their addiction or connected to experiences that made it difficult to quit, individuals feel less alone. They know that they are not the only ones struggling. Group therapy can also increase empathy and patience, leading to better characteristics for the whole community.
Looking Towards the Future
The best thing that sober living homes do is that they provide residents with hope for the future. Through therapy, residents’ thought processes will change for the better. While the prospect of not having the crutch of drugs or alcohol may have been daunting, sober living introduces people to a new way of life.
They may provide mentorship and assistance in restarting life. Homes may provide guidance in re-enrolling in school, establishing career interests, finding job prospects, or putting together a resume.
Psychotherapy, career counseling, life coaching, and goal setting are tools that help residents look to the future with excitement, not fear. Sober living teaches residents how to be present and how to thrive in their new life.