Addiction and dependence can be so complicated that individuals who experience these challenges require years of treatment to undo the damage dealt by chemical and illicit substances. And because everyone is different, treatment programs can vary widely from person to person. The degree of addiction severity also plays a role in determining what treatment would work best for an individual. And although some might think that residential rehab is where it ends, relapse rates and recovery success rates prove that other more flexible programs, like sober living, are just as important.
The Reality of Relapse
Relapse is defined as the tendency to return to drug and alcohol use after a period of improvement. Interestingly, most people who undergo residential treatment and even reach sobriety relapse within the first 90 days of discharge. And while some people might ask ‘how many relapses before sobriety’, there’s unfortunately no limit to the number of times a person can return to substance use before they become completely independent and sober. Although that might make it seem like residential programs don’t work, the reality is much more complicated than that. Taking a look into most residential treatment programs, it’s easy to see that there’s rigid structure and routine that’s embedded into the process. The reason for this is because individuals who enter residential treatment often have very poor habits and negative thought patterns that can only be undone by subjecting them to strict schedules for treatment activities, therapy, and counselling. And while all of that might work while they’re in treatment, most of them fall into a state of reliance. That means they end up leaning on the program to give structure, purpose, and meaning to their routines. Of course, this might improve their compliance during their stay, but also proves to be a dangerous factor against lasting recovery. The unfortunate reality however is that people can’t stay in residential treatment forever, since the goal is to help them lead happy, independent lives. And that’s why various other programs have been developed to increase their freedom without entirely leaving them to their own devices — including sober living.
The Importance of Transitions
There’s a reason why drug treatment programs come in various different forms and levels of intensity and structure. A person with severe addiction will benefit from programs that provide more holistic, extended hours of treatment that can rewire their thinking and undo the unhealthy habits they might have developed during their addiction. When this treatment produces positive results, it’s in the individual’s best interest to move on to a program that accommodates the new habits and techniques they’ve learned. If they’re abruptly removed from the safe environment and left without structure or routines, they may feel confused and stressed, and thus return to old habits. Transitional phases are important because they help the individual use the principles they learned in the previous steps of recovery. This practical application combined with reduced structure and support serve as their training wheels until they can finally balance on their own.
How Does Sober Living Help?
There are lots of different kinds of transitional steps after residential treatment, and sober living homes are one of them. Designed to provide individuals a safe, clean place to live while they figure out their independence, sober living homes keep its members away from temptation. Adapting a social model for all of the activities that happen inside the home, members aren’t merely tenants, but are part of the home’s organization. That means they contribute towards bills and payments, help out with chores, and do their part to maintain the home so they feel more involved and responsible. Other than that, sober living homes near me also provide structure and therapy. All members of the home are required to attend 12-step programs in some cases, allowing them to draw encouragement and willpower from mentors that model living a drug free life. But what’s truly unique about sober living homes is that they provide freedoms that aren’t possible in residential treatment programs. Members of sober living homes are encouraged to seek work for themselves, allowing them to establish their own routines and schedules. Allowed to come and go as they please (given that all of their household chores, responsibilities, and meetings are fulfilled), members must abide by curfew hours to protect the best interest of all of those in the house. They’re also subject to routine drug tests to guarantee that everyone abides by the houses rules for staying sober. It’s worth noting that most sober homes have a zero-tolerance policy which means individuals who are found to use illicit substance and alcohol during their stay can be immediately kicked out with no questions asked. While this might seem unfair and harsh, most homes impose this rule to protect the interest of the majority of its members.
What Happens After Sober Living?
Individuals who successfully complete their sober living phase can move on to live in their own homes and practice even more independence. But even then, therapy and treatment don’t end. Most of those who leave sober living are encouraged to continue their outpatient treatment programs. Again, no two cases are ever the same which also means that different people will have different treatment needs at the end of their sober living stay. Some will still benefit from individual and family counselling, while others can get by on just group sessions. There are also countless recovery groups and aftercare groups that let individuals touch base and reconnect with other recovery treatment alumni to keep goals and sobriety in check. Many of those who participate in these programs also end up becoming mentors and speakers, which further enhances the experience and gives meaning to the individual’s efforts toward sobriety.
Every Step of The Way
Residential treatment is important. Sober living is important. Every step of the recovery process is important. Addiction and dependence are terrible diseases that ripple through an individual’s life even long after they’ve left treatment. And that’s why it’s important to get guidance and support at every step of the way. A sober living home might be much more flexible than a residential program, but it provides much needed structure nonetheless. So, if you’re looking for the best places for sober living Dallas has to offer, there are a range of providers ready to deliver comfortable, conducive home spaces to support your recovery.