Transitions are perhaps the most important aspect of any treatment program. While an individual might achieve significant success during one phase of their recovery journey, they could easily lose all of that progress if they aren’t properly transitioned out of the last phase and into an appropriate next step.
And that’s where sober living homes enter the picture. Developed specifically for people who have graduated from a treatment program but aren’t quite ready to head home just yet, sober living homes provide a safe, structured environment where there’s more freedom yet still some semblance of control and guidance.
What is Sober Living?
Sometimes called a ‘halfway house’, sober living homes bridge the gap between an in-patient drug recovery program and the outside world. The purpose of a sober living home is to bolster everything you learned while you were admitted into a treatment program, providing structure and support so you’re not fully on your own just yet.
One of the biggest strengths of the sober living setup is the fact that all members of the home have a say in how things are run. Providing individuals a more involved experience, sober living homes offer intense social connections and sober fellowships that make it especially effective at what it does.
Unlike in-patient treatment facilities where comings and goings are all monitored and limited, sober living homes don’t enforce as many restrictions. However, there are still rules to abide by, like curfews and attendance to group programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. But other than that, members can come and go as they please.
What are the Benefits of Sober Living Homes?
Numerous studies have explored the science of sober living homes and why they’re so effective. And many of them have discovered that the shared accountability for the activities in the home, as well as the greater degree of independence make it a suitable situation for most recovering drug and alcohol users.
That said, there are numerous benefits to entering a sober living home, including:
- Belongingness – Leaving an in-patient treatment facility to go home and spend time with family and friends can make an individual feel isolated. With no one who can relate to their experiences, individuals often feel like ‘outsiders’ as they try to reintegrate into their social circles.
A sober living home allows individuals to ‘come out of their shell’ so to speak, after having been in a formal treatment environment for months (or even years.) These homes place them in a secure, safe environment with others who have been through similar experiences, making it easier for them to socialize and feel comfortable in their recovery.
- Reparations – Some individuals might not feel comfortable going home after treatment because of scarred family relationships. Living in a sober living home gives them an opportunity to make amends before officially returning home.
Going straight home after leaving an in-patient treatment program, especially when there are rocky family relationships, can easily sabotage any progress that the individual has made. The halfway house provides some space so both parties can adjust and communicate without the tension of living under one roof.
- Temporary Housing – There are some individuals who might not have a suitable home to return to after leaving a treatment facility. And the sober living house provides the perfect opportunity for them to stabilize, get a hold of their finances, and secure housing that they can move into once they’re ready to be fully independent.
- Life Skills – A lot of the activities and schedules you’ll have in a treatment facility will be completely overseen by health care workers. In fact, many of the life skills you’ve learned in the past will likely be put in storage as you focus on your well-being and your freedom from substance use.
Oftentimes, re-entering society means recovering those skills — including applying for jobs, paying bills, or managing your finances. In a sober living home, you have the opportunity to relearn those skills in a safe, controlled environment where the repercussions of the learning curve may not be as significant.
- Independence – The sudden independence of rejoining the ‘outside world’ can overwhelm some individuals, causing anxiety and stress to shoot up. When this happens, it’s not unlikely that they might turn to the only seemingly viable escape, which is substance use.
The beauty of the sober living home is that it provides individuals more control over their life (and even over the home itself) without putting them completely in control. With rules and regulations in place, and a moderator still in charge of the household in general, individuals are given slightly more independence than they had in treatment without abruptly removing their support systems.
- Easier Transitions – The ultimate goal and benefit of a sober living home is that it provides the opportunity for an easier transition. No doubt, an in-patient treatment facility would be worlds different from your home situation. And the sudden change could cause stress, and thus relapse.
That said, the sober living home aims to provide an easier transition by taking qualities of your home and qualities of treatment and meshing them together to create a hybrid situation that resembles both situations. This allows participants to ease into the change and adapt in a safe environment before completely re-entering everyday life.
A Halfway House to Recovery
Drug recovery is a delicate process that requires careful execution of different steps and phases to make sure the individual successfully graduates to the next appropriate stage. Sober living homes for women and men provide the perfect living conditions for individuals who have graduated from in-patient treatment but just aren’t quite ready for the independence and accountability that comes with living back at home.
If you’re looking for sober living near me, there are lots of top-class facilities that offer excellent services and support. But as with any other step of the recovery process, finding the perfect sober living home depends on how well you can match your unique needs and personality with what each home has to offer.