For former substance abusers, regardless of the substance of choice, the goal of sober living is not as easy as it may sound. Even after detoxification and therapy have both been completed, the temptation to go back to drugs and alcohol may be an insurmountable one. However, rather than being a weakness of character, the challenges to sober living may simply need to be faced one at a time until the individual can take full control of his or her history.
Challenges to Sober Living
No one begins abusing drugs and alcohol just because; there are always reasons behind these decisions. It could be life stresses or social pressures, poor coping mechanisms or a personal need to fit into that lifestyle. And while therapy and detox are useful first steps to overcoming substance abuse, these other factors are still going to exist in that person’s life when he or she goes back home at the end of the day.
On the one hand, it is the goal of therapy and of the person that has decided to give up drugs and alcohol to identify and face these challenges. On the other hand, that’s often easier said than done. This is particularly true for those who have built lives or social relationships around drugs or alcohol in such a way that staying sober might require cutting off those parts of their lives entirely. That is not an easy decision to make. It’s also why many individuals spend time in sober living homes to help them adjust and maintain.
Sober Living Solutions
A sober living home is sort of like a recovery addiction halfway house. It is not a permanent solution by any means, but it allows people that are suffering and trying to recover a place to live that is free from temptation and substances to abuse. Sometimes that’s all sufferers really needs; time to adjust to their new circumstances.
Sober living homes tend to be favored at two, distinct times during substance abuse recovery. The first is when it becomes obvious that outpatient therapy and rehabilitation may not be enough for an individual. Because he or she can just go right back out on the street, so to speak, that might be too much temptation for someone that just started trying to get clean. The other suggested time for a recovering substance abuser to go to a sober living home is just after completing therapy and detoxification. This is a time where living habits are still new and fairly fragile, and re-exposing a former abuser to all of the stimuli, people and stresses that caused them to use drugs or alcohol in the first place isn’t recommended right away. This is particularly true for people who had severe addiction problems. So the solution is to extend their time to adjust by letting them stay in a sober living home for a period of time.
An Ongoing Process
Substance abuse is not like the chicken pox; you can’t just beat a single bout of it and declare that you’re fixed for life. Sobriety is an ongoing, life long struggle. The reason is because you’re not just taking medicine; you’re changing your entire life. Sometimes it’s in small ways, such as ordering a soft drink rather than liquor to go with dinner. Sometimes it’s in bigger ways, like not spending time with friends you’ve known for years because of their substance abuse habits. For most recovering substance abusers it’s a combination of both big and little decisions that lead them to live a sober life successfully.
It is important for people to remember that they still have options open to them in the event that their sobriety is in danger. A sober living home can act as a refuge in times of crisis like this. If a former substance abuser recognizes his or her behavior is skidding down that slippery slope, these homes can offer the support and environment that an addict or former addict needs.
There is no single solution that’s guaranteed when it comes to recovery from substance abuse. Whether it’s group therapy or one on one sessions, medical miracles or prayer, different solutions have worked for different people. However, most of these solutions work when taken in conjunction with each other. And in order to have the best success rate possible they require an environment free of drugs and alcohol to tempt the recovering abuser. That is why having access to sober living facilities is such an important necessity.