Staying sober after rehab is a big part of the recovery process, and is typically achieved through participation in a sober living environment. A recent study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that in a group of over 500 people who were recently released from rehab, only 35% completed a follow-up treatment plan within 30 days. Consequently, they may not affiliate with any organized support group after rehab and simply return to the life that led them to substance abuse in the first place.
Sober living is a residence that provides housing, work or volunteer opportunities, and support services for individuals who need to live temporarily in an environment where drug and alcohol use are not tolerated. In recent years, the concept of sober living has been gaining momentum as a quick, affordable way to transition out of treatment and begin working on maintaining sobriety. When an individual completes formal rehab treatment, they are given the tools to maintain sobriety for life. However, after completion of their formal program, these tools are not as readily available. In the “real world,” there is a major change of environment and a dramatic increase in stress level that can make it challenging to maintain sobriety on one’s own. That is why sober living is so strongly recommended after rehab.
Sober living offers addicts a unique opportunity: it enables them to live in a supportive, drug-free environment while they ease back into day-to-day life, adjust to sobriety, and look for a job. In most sober living homes, residents are required to be actively engaged in an approved program of recovery. Typically this means attending AA or NA meetings at least three times per week. Sober living homes provide a safe and supportive environment for those who need a break from the “real world.”
Most sober living centers have an extensive network of 12-step meetings, as well as psychiatric care providers. In addition to ensuring that addicts have access to meetings during those first difficult months after rehab, many offer support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous that help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety.
Most sober living home leases are month-to-month with no long-term commitment, allowing residents to keep their options open. Sober living homes can be a transitional step between formal rehab and an independent life. In addition, there are usually no fees for the first two weeks of residency, making it possible for many addicts to take advantage of this option even if they have limited finances. The sober living arrangement can be particularly useful for those who are making the transition from rehab back to work. The house may provide transportation to and from work, set up physical exams with insurance companies, or help an employer understand their new employee’s situation.
There is more to living in a sober house than just attending 12-step meetings, of course.
Residents of sober houses are expected to take on some responsibilities and follow house rules. These can include basic chores such as doing the dishes, sweeping the floors, taking out the trash, and doing yard work. They may also include rules about where and when to socialize outside of the house, curfews, mandatory urine testing, and even requirements that residents hold down a job or go to school full time. In most cases, these rules are created in an effort to help residents learn skills that they will need to succeed in the “real world.”
By requiring them to be productive members of their community and adhere to house rules and guidelines, sober living homes offer them a better chance at long-term sobriety. This is why it is strongly recommended that those who are newly sober seek out a sober living environment even if they choose to live on their own. Another key advantage of sober living is that residents are under 24-hour supervision. This means that if they feel a craving for drugs, they can turn to someone in the house rather than trying to fight off the urge alone. In fact, many sober houses have residents report their cravings by e-mail or phone so that staff can monitor them throughout the evening hours.
In conclusion, sober living homes can be an excellent option for those who are newly sober and need to ease back into life – but still want some guidance and structure. They allow people plenty of time to continue counseling and attend 12-step meetings, while providing a safe place for addicts to live until they transition into a more independent lifestyle. If you are ready to get started, call us today at any time at 424-499-2603.