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Drug rehab is often one of the first steps in an addiction treatment program. This form of evidence-based therapeutic interventions is an effective way to address substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, as it combines 12-Step Program work and a residential inpatient curriculum that is designed to treat the whole person, not just the addiction.

Life After Drug Rehab

Residential rehab is just the beginning of the lifelong process of recovery. However, after completing a rehab program, you must choose between transitioning into a sober living home or returning home. Choosing where to live after rehab may be a difficult decision depending on your living situation at home, your personal progress in rehab, and your history with recovery and relapse.

If you find yourself in limbo, not knowing what to do, here are some of the pros and cons of moving back home or going to live in a sober living home.

Returning Home After Rehab

Returning home after rehab is a popular choice among many people in recovery. Going home after rehab is an attractive option because often people in recovery have family and friends waiting for their return. These loved ones may be excited about the person’s recovery and are prepared to support them in any way they can. Additionally, leaving beloved pets or a spouse behind to enroll in rehab is hard, but reuniting makes the return home even sweeter.

Financial concerns may also be a motivating factor for many people in recovery. Going home after rehab could be necessary if the person is expected to return to work after completing rehab. Additionally, the cost of a sober living program may keep some individuals from enrolling.

Since sober living homes require that residents live in a group setting with others in recovery, individuals who prefer the comfort and familiarity of their home may decide to go home after rehab instead of enrolling in a sober living program.

Primary Reasons for Returning Home After Rehab

Family and friends

Significant other

Pets

Financial reasons/job

Doesn’t want to live with strangers

Is comfortable living at home

Unfortunately, in some instances, returning home after rehab could jeopardize a person’s recovery, especially if their spouse or loved ones aren’t supportive of their decision to get sober. The presence of drugs or alcohol in the home may also increase the person’s risk of relapse.

What is a Sober Living House?

A sober living home is another living option you may want to consider after rehab, but what is a sober living house? And how does it benefit your recovery?

To put it simply, a sober living home is a substance-free, group living environment for people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. These types of homes differ from rehab centers and they act as a buffer between residential treatment and independent sober living. Sober homes are usually located in quiet neighborhoods, much like an average house, except they are designed to house groups of men or women who are in recovery. Often, residents will have a roommate or several roommates, although private rooms may also be available.

People who live in a sober living house can usually come and go as they please as long as they follow curfew and house rules. Residents of sober living communities are also typically required to take random drug tests to ensure that the living environment remains safe and sober for all residents. People who live in sober houses are expected to be responsible for themselves, pay for rent, and buy and cook their own food, much like if they were living in a regular house.

Learning how to live sober independently is an important part of the recovery process. Most addicted individuals have an enabler in their life who does things for them. The enabler may believe they are supporting their loved one, but in actuality, they are doing the recovering addict a disservice by negating their need to learn how to live independently and take responsibility for their actions. Sober living homes combat this by requiring a certain level of accountability from their residents, which allows for more opportunities for personal growth.

Primary Reasons for Living in a Sober Living Home

Accountability

Safe and sober living environment

Strong support group

Meeting like-minded people in sobriety

Regular drug testing

Safe integration back into society

Fresh start

Sober Living Statistics

Before investing the time and money into sober housing, many people want proof that their investment is worth it. While each person’s success in rehab and sober living is largely dependent on the amount of effort and hard work they put in, the recovery support services provided by sober living can greatly reduce a person’s risk of relapse and enhance their recovery experience in many ways.

Here are some sober living statistics that help illustrate the efficacy and value of transitional housing programs for people in recovery:

  • In one 2011 study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sober living programs increased the likelihood the recovering addicts would maintain their sobriety with few or no relapses.1
  • Sober living residents had fewer problems with alcohol and drugs, lower arrest rates, higher employment rates, and more stable housing arrangements maintained up to 18 months later.1
  • A study published by the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that people enrolled in sober living programs experienced significant improvements to their mental health, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and had lower scores on personality disorder tests.2
  • According to a study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, addiction treatment clients who attended day treatment and live in a sober living home were ten times more likely to avoid relapse.3

Benefits of Sober Housing

Although all the rules associated with sober living homes may seem restrictive, in reality, they are extremely beneficial for people in recovery and provide the necessary structure that clients need to be successful in their sobriety.

Here are some of the main benefits of sober housing for people in recovery:

  • Sober house rules help residents stick to their sobriety goals and commitments.
  • Sober house rules reinforce good behavior.
  • Sober house rules help get clients back on track when things go wrong.
  • Sober house rules promote healthy relationship-building practices.

How to Find a Sober Living Home

After you complete a rehab program, your treatment team may provide a referral to a sober living home. You may also search elsewhere. If you’re wondering how to find a sober living home, here are some practical steps to help you get started.

  1. Ask the treatment team at your addiction treatment center for a referral. Your treatment team is likely made up of professionals you trust and respect, so chances are, they will have great recommendations for ongoing care. If you need help finding a sober living home, ask your primary counselor or recovery specialist if they can meet with you to discuss some options. You can also ask around at 12-step groups or get a referral from your primary physician or therapist.
  2. Determine the structure and living environment that a home offers. Although the terms sober living home, halfway house, and ¾ house are often used interchangeably, there may be some differences in certain states. To ensure that a home has the structure and sober living environment you need for ongoing recovery, it’s a good idea to find out about the rules, requirements, and expectations for residents before you enroll in the program.
  3. Find out how long you’re allowed to stay. Many sober living homes allow residents to stay as long as they need, pending their drug tests remain clean. Although this is often the case, it’s a good idea to check with the staff to verify before you enroll.
  4. Make sure the home has a high standard of care. Some sober living homes may be accredited or licensed through a particular agency while others may not. Regardless, it’s important to ensure that your sober living home always provides a high standard of care. To find a sober living home that is best for your ongoing recovery, you may want to consider reviewing the standard of care guidelines outlined by the National Alliance of Recovery Residences.

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you can consider other factors such as location, cost, staff to resident ratio, and amenities to make you final decision. Here’s a helpful in-depth guide on how to choose a sober living home.

Where to Live After Rehab: Making the Right Choice

There are many reasons to return home or move into a sober living home, but only you can determine which choice is the right decision for you. If you’re uneasy about sobriety when leaving treatment and you don’t know where to live after rehab, a sober living home may be the best way to abstain from all drug and alcohol use and gain some sobriety experience before re-entering society on your own. If you recently completed rehab and you need additional recovery support, please contact Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today to speak with an admissions specialist.

References:

  1. Polcin, D., Korcha, R., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010, December 1). What Did We Learn from Our Study on Sober Living Houses and Where Do We Go from Here? Retrieved October 17, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/
  2. Schinka, J., Hughes, P., Coletti, S., Hamilton, N., Renard, C., Urmann, C., & Neri, R. (1999, March 1). Changes in Personality Characteristics in Women Treated in a Therapeutic Community. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0740547298000191
  3. Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2012, February 27). Drug-Free Housing for Substance Abusers Leaving Detox Linked to Fewer Relapses – 02/27/2012. Retrieved October 17, 2018, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/drug_free_housing_for_substance_abusers_leaving_detox_linked_to_fewer_relapses
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