Entering sobriety can be a rollercoaster process. One day, you may feel strong and capable of managing your substance use disorder (SUD). The next day, however, you may feel triggered by everyone and can only think about using substances again. For this reason, utilizing a supportive and safe environment, such as a sober living home, can help you achieve a more sustainable sobriety. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, we offer many programs to help you through recovery. By participating in a sober living program, you will receive the support and accountability you need to establish lasting healing in your life.
What Is Early Recovery?
While treatment and recovery are terms often intertwined, they mean different things. Professional treatment is often required for you to effectively cease your substance abuse. After long-term use of drugs or alcohol, your body and brain have become chemically dependent on the substances.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), recovery is defined as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” Addiction recovery is a lifelong process.
While you are in early recovery, you will need to make various life changes to improve your health. This will likely involve your participation in a treatment program, as you learn to manage life without substances. Early recovery is crucial for your long-term sobriety. This is because this is when you learn the necessary coping skills for managing cravings and other triggering situations.
Common Challenges in Early Recovery
Each person has their individual addiction and sobriety journey. The underlying causes of your SUD likely differ from others, just as your trauma is also unique to you. Despite these differences, there are common challenges you and others in early recovery will face. Preparing for these challenges can set you up for success throughout treatment and well into long-term recovery.
Oftentimes, one of the most challenging factors of the recovery process is learning how to navigate cravings. Whether you have used substances for a short or long time, your body can become dependent on substances to function. Fortunately, it is possible to heal your body, but you may get residual cravings every now and then. It is especially important to learn stress management techniques in early recovery, as cravings can seem unmanageable during stressful situations and circumstances.
As a result of your SUD, you may have changed your entire life to support your addiction. This can include who you surround yourself with or the places you hang out. Another challenge that you may face in early recovery is substance-use temptations. Temptations can surface from having easy access to substances or from being around friends who are using.
In early recovery, you will need to evaluate your triggers and temptations. You may need to separate yourself completely from the people and places that have tempted you in the past to use alcohol and other drugs.
According to SAMHSA, “Many times, people in early recovery have to give up everything they’ve known… because those people, places, and things put them at risk for relapse or continued use.” A final challenge that you may face in early recovery is changing your lifestyle. This is not only challenging because of your addiction but also because it can feel isolating and painful. Intense feelings, like pain, can cause you to relapse.
Changing your lifestyle is not easy, and can cause intense feelings. Fortunately, a sober living home can help you navigate difficult emotions as you establish sobriety in your life.
The Value of Sober Living
At Lighthouse Recovery, our sober living program is designed specifically to support you in early recovery. With a small number of people in one home, you get to create a community that is dedicated to sobriety. Receiving understanding and support from people who know what it is like to struggle and overcome addiction can provide you the comfort and safety you need to achieve long-term recovery.
In a good sober living home, there are reduced temptations and no access to substances. Your first priority is to spend your time healing from the lingering effects of your substance abuse. Additionally, you will spend time on other activities, such as skill-building courses and group programming. This will help distract you from potential cravings and other challenging thoughts. It will also help you build a toolbox of skills and resources for when you leave the sober living program and start to build your life independently.
Sober Living Helps Prevent Relapse
When you are recovering from SUD, the potential for relapse always remains. As mentioned earlier, recovery is a rollercoaster. There is no perfect or right path to healing from SUD. A relapse does not mean failure, but it may mean you need to try a different method of recovery. SAMSHA has found that people who participate in sober living programs “[T]ypically have decreased rates of substance use and incarceration.” This is compared with peers who return to their communities directly after treatment.
Suggestions for Choosing a Sober Living Program
No two sober living programs are alike. When looking for help in early recovery, there are some qualifications to consider for a good sober living home:
- Commitment to sobriety
- Randomized drug and alcohol testing
- Number of staff and their experience
- The capacity of residents in the house
- Access to both group and individual therapy modalities
- Clean and welcoming environment
- Continued care after program completion
If you keep your eye out for these seven aspects in your sober living program, you are more likely to reach a sustainable sobriety. Not only will you be in an environment that supports your sobriety, but you will also be held accountable by peers and staff until you are ready and prepared to hold yourself accountable.
Are you wanting to start your recovery journey but do not know where to start? Have you participated in a detox program but struggle to maintain your sobriety when faced with stressful life situations? If so, it may help to consider joining a sober living home. Through programs such as those offered by Lighthouse Recovery Texas, you will find experienced staff, peers who are committed to sobriety, and a fully equipped home so you can focus on your recovery without temptations. When you have an addiction, your body, mind, and spirit need attention and space to heal. Call us at (214) 396-0259 to hear more about our sober living homes.