After completing drug or alcohol treatment in a residential facility, it can be difficult, confusing and counter-productive to just return home. Gone are the always-available support and care that was provided during treatment. Back with a vengeance are the familiar temptations, friends associated with using, pressures to return to normal and much more. No wonder so many individuals coming home from residential treatment1 have a tough time maintaining sobriety.
That’s why sober living and sober homes are so valuable. By transitioning to sober living upon leaving treatment, you’re making a wise choice that will allow you to be with others who are gaining their foothold in recovery and reducing the stressors that could derail your sobriety in everyday interaction.
Here are some compelling reasons why sober living after residential treatment makes sense for those committed to maintaining their sobriety and learning to live a happier, well-adjusted life without drugs or alcohol.
Sober homes hold residents accountable for their actions. You can’t just do what you please and expect to be welcome to stay. Abiding by the sober living rules is key. This means no mind-altering substances brought into the sober home and being accountable for your time outside the sober home.
Unlike residential treatment where you were required to remain at the rehab center for the duration of your treatment program, with sober living you have a lot more freedom. In a way, it’s like living in a boarding house where you can come and go as you want or need. Such freedom, experienced on a graduated scale, helps pave the way for eventual return home and acclimating again to society.
Support While You Continue to Heal
Instead of the bereft feeling of no longer having a support system after leaving residential treatment, in sober homes there’s continuing support2 provided by other residents. This is especially important for those who lack a strong support system otherwise. Sober living residents know what you’re going through as you enter recovery, what it feels like, what to expect, what to do if cravings3 and urges resurface, and the importance of sobriety and encourage your efforts to gain strength and continue to heal, just as they are.
Residents of sober homes are expected to pay rent. This means it’s necessary for those who want to take part in sober living to get and keep a job. In addition, residents are also required to keep the house clean and perform certain other chores in the sober living home.
12-Step Meeting Attendance
Ongoing support from attendance at 12-step and self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous4 (AA) is strongly encouraged and may be required at sober homes. Residents participate in regular 12-step meetings and some may also choose to go to individual counseling or another type of group therapy. The importance of 12-step meeting attendance cannot be overstated. Such support from peers in recovery is proven to be effective in helping the newly-recovered to maintain their sobriety.
Weekly Resident Meetings
Another distinct advantage of sober homes is the opportunity to take part in weekly resident meetings. During these get-togethers residents talk about any problems or issues they’ve experienced during the week as well as what they want to do the next week. This group sharing is very powerful to those who’ve just completed residential treatment and aren’t yet ready to return home.
Interpersonal Skills Development
After drug or alcohol treatment, the newly recovered addict often feels numb, finds it difficult to communicate freely with others, doubts his or her abilities and experiences other problems and issues that could hamper ongoing recovery. In sober living environments, being with other people who share the goals of recovery and encourage each other to tackle challenges, master skills and gain confidence is extraordinarily powerful. Learning to communicate and interact with other sober living residents in a courteous and respectful manner helps build interpersonal skills that will be invaluable after leaving the sober home.
Making the transition from residential treatment to sober living is a natural stepping down of continuing care. It’s not round-the-clock monitoring, yet it does entail accepting and embracing certain rules and healthier ways of living. For many in recovery, sober homes are the best way to ease the way back into society, return home and become stronger in their sobriety.