What is Sober Living & How Can it Help Me?
Anyone who’s gone from the safe, secure environment of a drug treatment facility back into everyday life knows how jarring a transition this can be. Drug treatment facilities are designed to provide the structure and supports needed to overcome addiction. For some people, going from a drug treatment environment into everyday life can feel like jumping off a cliff.
People who’ve battled long-term addictions may have an especially difficult time making the transition, as old drug-using behaviors can quickly resurface in the face of stress and pressure. Sober living programs offer a much-needed bridge between the safety and security of a drug treatment facility and the “real world.”
Much of the problem recovering addicts face has to do with the psychological dependency that addiction breeds. Unlike a physical dependency that goes away after detox, the psychological aspect of addiction creates its own lifestyle, routines and habits. These patterns can persist long after a person completes drug rehab. Sober living programs give recovering addicts time enough to develop a drug-free lifestyle before stepping out on their own.
Sober Living Homes
The prospect of returning home, going back to work and resuming a normal life can feel exhilarating and frightening all at once for people about to complete a drug treatment program. While drug treatment programs do equip recovering addicts with the tools and strategies needed to maintain a drug-free existence, program participants nonetheless depend on the structure and supports available in treatment.
It’s easier to apply these new practices within the confines of a treatment program than within the open-ended context of the real world. Learning to incorporate abstinence practices within everyday life often requires time and the type guidance provided by sober living programs.
Sober living homes allow a person to experience a certain level of independence while providing needed guidance and support along the way. According to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, a sober living home environment offers recovering addicts a type of “practice run” before jumping into the hectic pace of everyday life.
Developing a Drug-Free Lifestyle
The potential for relapse increases considerably when recovering addicts complete treatment only to re-enter negative home environments where unstable relationships are the norm, according to the OLR Research Report. The stress and dysfunction these types of environments breed can easily aggravate a person’s desire to resume drug use.
Sober living homes are made up of motivated, like-minded individuals who face similar challenges as they re-adjust to life outside the treatment center. While residents do have considerable independence within a sober living home, certain rules do apply.
Sober living house rules may include:
- Attend 12-Step support group meetings on a weekly basis
- Spending nights or sleep time at the home
- No drugs or alcohol permitted on premises
- Getting a sponsor
- Getting a job and/or attending school
- No drug or alcohol use allowed
Sober living homes also require residents to do chores around the house much like they would in their own home settings. In the process, recovering addicts develop drug-free lifestyles while carrying out the affairs of everyday life.