For people who have completed treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, sober living serves as a bridge between an inpatient treatment facility and the “real world” that awaits them afterward.
Sober living is a vital component to recovery for every individual struggling with addiction. The sober living experience can also be one of the most exciting times of your life as you learn how full your life can be and who you really are without any mind-altering substances.
Sober living residences (which may also be called sober houses, sober homes, or sober living environments) are facilities that provide safe housing and supportive, structured living conditions for people who have completed addiction treatment. These residences serve as a transitional environment between treatment and mainstream society.
If you or someone you love has made it through treatment, you may be concerned about going from a structured and monitored environment back to the temptations and triggers of the outside world. These fears are common—so common that it’s probably more of a concern if you don’t have them. Sober living residences offer an in-between recovery option that allows you to alleviate your fears and reinforce the lessons you learned in treatment.
Sadly, for some, a sober living residence may be their only option for a safe, sober living situation after treatment. Studies have shown that dysfunctional home environments can derail recovery efforts and contribute to drug or alcohol abuse in general. Finding a supportive living arrangement is critical for people in this situation.
Whatever your situation may be, leaving an inpatient facility and returning home is never easy. You are human, and you will likely struggle as you adjust back to daily life. For many people in recovery, moving into a sober living residence makes the difference between falling back into old habits or continuing on the path of sobriety.
Both work as a type of housing to ease the transition for people who have completed treatment, but aren’t yet ready to return to independent living. Both provide the support and sense of community that many people in recovery need. But there are several key differences to consider when choosing your sober living options.
Many sober living residences are affiliated with addiction treatment centers or run by sober living experts whose focus is providing a safe living environment for people in recovery. Halfway houses, on the other hand, are run by government agencies. While sober living residences are designed to give residents more privacy and comfort, halfway houses typically have a dormitory-like setting.
Cost is also a factor. Halfway houses tend to be less expensive because they have fewer amenities and less privacy. But sober living residences are sometimes covered by insurance, which makes them a viable option for people who benefit from insurance coverage.
Yes, sober living residences provide a safe living arrangement but they also give so much more. A huge part of staying in a sober living residence is creating positive friendships that help reinforce your desire to abstain from drugs and alcohol. Sober living creates structure and accountability. You will be encouraged and supported by fellow residents to continue outpatient treatment and attend 12-Step programs. Being surrounded by caring people who are on the same path as you, who you can talk to and go to meetings with, can make a huge difference in whether or not you stay sober.
One of the most common fears of people in recovery is being triggered and then relapsing. Relapse is possible no matter who you are or how long you have been in recovery but the environment you live in may have more influence than you realize. A 2015 study published in the journal Substance Abuse Rehabilitation assessed a group of sober living residents for over 18 months. They found that having support peers enhances a person’s chances of sobriety because they are more likely to:
When people in recovery work to lift up one another, the results can be truly transformative.
When linked with a 12-Step program, sober living shows much higher levels of sustained recovery than trying to stay sober on your own. The best results are seen when an addict transitions from a formal drug or alcohol treatment program and goes straight into sober living.
It is important to note that sober living only works if you actually want to be there and are committed to your recovery. Recovery is a long and difficult journey but one that is well worth the effort. Imagine finally being able to see yourself and others around you with sober eyes. Imagine living your life, experiencing new things, and growing your relationships without the fog of mind-altering substances. It can be an overwhelming process, but one that brings much clarity, renewal, and joy. This is your opportunity to create a new life for yourself.
The Kimberly Center offers a variety of drug and alcohol treatment services, including a unique sober living experience that provides a safe place to practice the principles of recovery in the real world. Call 855-452-3683 to begin your new life today.