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Why Drug Screens Are An Important Part of Sober Living

Drug screens provide incentive and accountability for people in sober living programs.

Sober living homes bridge the gap between rehab and unrestricted, independent living after treatment. Temporarily living at a sober home can help you adjust to a sober lifestyle. But it also means you’ll have to abide by the rules, including submitting to regular drug testing. Drug screens in sober living are not intended to be intrusive. Instead, they’re a vital part of the program and they can help you stay honest and sober while you navigate the challenges of early sobriety.

Related post: How Sober Living Homes Help Prevent Relapse

Are drug tests mandatory in sober living programs?

Every sober living home has different policies when it comes to drug testing. However, sobriety is one of the most critical stipulations for sober home residency. As a result, drug screening in sober living is usually mandatory. Depending on the sober home, drug testing may occur at regular intervals, such as once a month. Or, the home’s staff may conduct them randomly without any warning.

Generally, drug screening in sober living will test for any use of the following substances:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine 
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine
  • THC

Many drug screens at sober living homes test for many more substances, but this is just a sampling of the most common ones.

Other rules in sober living homes

In addition to maintaining sobriety, all the residents at sober homes must uphold the rules set forth by the staff on-site. In doing so, they help ensure that the sober home remains a safe, welcoming, and drug and alcohol-free place for everyone to live. Similar to drug testing policies, all sober living homes will have different rules for residents. Below, we’ve listed some of the most common ones:

  • There are no alcohol or drugs allowed on the property.
  • The residents may need to complete a drug screen at any time.
  • Individuals living in the home must participate in household chores and attend regular house meetings.
  • Residents must attend recovery meetings while staying at a sober living facility.
  • Residents must pay their rent and other personal expenses.
  • House staff must approve overnight stays elsewhere. Residents cannot have overnight guests.
  • Residents must remain accountable to where they go and what they do when they’re not at the sober house.
  • Individuals living at a sober home have to adhere to its curfew.
  • Residents must be respectful and mindful of other residents and house staff.
  • The staff does not allow pets (unless the sober home is a pet-friendly facility.)

Why is drug testing important in sober living programs?

Sober living homes promote recovery by providing structure, accountability, and recovery support services. Every sober living home is different, but many provide foundational services to help people take hold of a fresh start and reintegrate back into everyday life after rehab, such as:

  • Employment assistance
  • Individualized recovery programming
  • Social support

Drug screens in sober living are also a part of this process.

In short, if you know the sober home staff will hold you accountable for your actions by drug testing regularly or at random, you’re much more likely to think twice before relapsing. The drug test can serve as an incentive to stay sober. Additionally, if you live in a sober home, you and the other residents make a commitment to yourselves and one another to stay sober. You all support one another and everyone remains committed to sobriety together. However, if one person relapses, that trust is broken. Then the relapse can become a trigger for others in the home, sometimes causing others to stumble too.

With that in mind, before you commit to living at a sober home, you should ask about the home’s policies regarding drug testing, including the consequences of failing one. Being aware of the home’s drug testing policy may serve as a great incentive for you to stay accountable to your commitment to sobriety.

Benefits of regular drug screens in sober living programs

Drug screens in sober living are an essential aspect of any sober living program and they provide many benefits for people in recovery, such as:

  • Perspective: Thinking about the potential consequences of failing a drug screening, such as losing your spot in the program or falling back into full-blown addiction, can really put things into perspective quickly. As a result, you’re more likely to think before you give in to triggers and rely on your support system to get through the temptation.
  • Accountability: When you have someone (or multiple people) who hold you to your commitment to stay sober, it’s harder to give in to temptation or triggers. Even more so, being drug tested regularly keeps you accountable and provides proof that you’re maintaining your sobriety.
  • Incentive: Just knowing that you have to take a drug test can be enough to keep you motivated to do the right thing.
  • Peace of mind for family members: For family members who have watched a loved one struggle with addiction for months or years, trust can be a difficult thing to re-establish. Regular drug testing can provide peace of mind and assurance that their loved one is staying accountable to their sobriety while they work on rebuilding the relationship.

What happens if you fail a drug test during sober living?

Sometimes, relapse is a part of the recovery process. Although relapse is never ideal, it doesn’t mean you’ve failed or that you’re not in recovery anymore. What’s most important is the way you handle the relapse. Instead of trying to cover up your mistake, it’s better to talk to your house manager right away and let him or her know what happened. That way, you won’t get hit with a random drug test and fail it. Otherwise, if you fail a drug test without talking to house management about it first, you could risk your residency at the home.

Some sober homes will provide additional assistance to a resident who relapses, and help him or her get back into an inpatient or outpatient treatment center.

Drug testing at Eudaimonia Recovery Homes

At Eudaimonia sober living homes, we drug test all our residents twice a week, with each test performed about 80 hours apart. We test for more than 70 different substances and receive immediate results. We also determine if residents are drinking alcohol by using ETG and ETS tests. These tests can detect ethyl glucuronide (EtG) and ethyl sulfate (EtS) in urine, which are specific metabolites of alcohol. All our residents are required to participate, as we believe it provides essential accountability and peace of mind for family members. Residents and their family members have easy, digital access to the test results at any time of the day, for their convenience.

Related post: How Are Sober Living Homes Accredited?

Get recovery support today with our sober living program

If you need help to stay sober after rehab, Eudaimonia Recovery Homes offers sober homes for men, women, and LGBTQ+ individuals. Our sober living programs keep residents accountable to their sobriety by providing regular drug testing and access to a broad selection of recovery support services. To learn more about our sober living Austin and Houston, call (512) 580-3131 or contact us online today.

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