Years of drug treatment and recovery research have shown that relapse is a very real outcome for most individuals going through treatment. And that’s why recovery programs have changed over time, providing a continuum of care that provides support and guidance at every step of the recovery journey. That said, treatment can’t end when a person leaves a residential recovery program. And that’s precisely why the sober living home has become an indispensable part of the process. But exactly what is a sober living house and how does it bolster the results of other forms of treatment? Let’s dive in.
A Brief History of Sober Living Homes
The concept of ‘sober living’ has been around since the 1830’s. Back then, these homes were run by religious organizations. Also called ‘dry hotels’ or ‘lodging houses’, the early sober living homes developed as a result of the Temperance Movement. Landlords had strong personal convictions about sobriety, and strictly implemented rules to keep their tenants in check. Later on, concepts of sober living merged with the 12-step program model. AA and NA organizers set up ‘twelfth step’ houses that provided recovering addicts and alcoholics clean living spaces to stay while in recovery. Those who managed these houses strongly encouraged tenants to attend 12-step programs. In the 1970’s, sober living homes changed drastically. What were once managed by rigid landlords with their own personal ideas on sobriety became democratically managed housing operations that gave a voice to all of its members. Today, sober living homes strongly use the social model recovery philosophy by creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and shared interest between its members.
What is It Like in A Sober House?
While residential treatment facilities require that clients stay within their premises at all times throughout their admission, sober living homes provide its members the freedom to come and go as they choose. As long as they abide by curfew regulations, all members are encouraged to seek profitable work opportunities and spend their recreational time as they choose. However, there are still a few routines and responsibilities in place. Since the modern-day sober living home adapts a social model, all of its members are responsible for maintenance and other household chores and activities. That said, your morning will likely be spent fixing your bed, cleaning up common areas like shared bathrooms, and preparing breakfast. For those who are new to sober living, it’s also likely that you’ll get a senior member assigned to keep you company whenever you leave the home. Other than that, 12-step program attendance is almost always a must. Keep in mind that sober living home members as subject to routine drug tests. In some cases, a failed drug test will mean the end of an individual’s stay — no questions asked. That’s because sober living homes (by the name itself) completely prohibits the use of any sort of substance for the wellbeing of all of its members.
What is the Purpose of a Sober Living Home?
Research has found that between 40% to 60% of individuals who recover from substance abuse will relapse within the first year. Most of these people relapse within the first 90 days after they leave a residential treatment program. But that doesn’t mean that residential treatment doesn’t work. The main issue lies with the sudden change that people experience when leaving a residential program. These treatments are highly structured, providing daily patterns and routines for clients that leaves them little opportunity to exercise their own free will. During this time, they might rely completely on the organizers and health workers to call the shots for their everyday routines and schedules. Once they graduate from the program, these support systems are removed, and many of them feel overwhelmed and confused at the abrupt freedom. Unfortunately, this stressful period pushes most of them to past habits that they would run to for comfort. The sober living home is a transitional step between residential treatment programs and fully independent living. Offering a blend of structure and freedom, these homes provide the necessary support and guidance to bolster what clients learn during their residential treatment. Ultimately, the goal of sober living is to slowly transition the person into independence to minimize the chances of relapse.
What are the Rules in a Sober Living Home?
Rules change from home to home, but there are some common regulations you can expect. These include:
- Curfew hours – Sober living homes will always have curfew hours in place to ensure that all of its members observe healthy routines. Hours change from home to home, but most of them require all members to be back before 10PM.
- Visiting hours – Not all sober living homes allow visitors, and others won’t allow visitors to entry into bedrooms or secluded areas. However, most homes allow visitors at certain hours of the day, especially if they’re close family and friends.
- Work and transportation – It’s the goal of a sober living home to help its members transition to independent living, so jobs are recommended. If a member has a license, a home may also allow them to acquire a vehicle.
- Zero tolerance – While it might seem harsh and unfair, most sober living homes impose a zero-tolerance rule that means no one is allowed to use any addictive substance during their stay. Most homes will kick out members who turn up positive drug and alcohol test results without a moment’s pause.
The Next Step to Independence
Sober living homes blend together structure and freedom to give clients the opportunity to grow in what they’ve learned. However, there are still rules and regulations in place to protect the interest of all of those who benefit from the living operations. If you’re looking for the best sober living near me, or if you’re just scouting the options for sober living Dallas offers a range of options that provide comfortable accommodations and friendly companions to help you or your loved one reach a full recovery.