Find Sober Living
Sober living has become an essential part of the continuing care component following a rehab program. A sober living residence offers a structured, safe, and supportive environment that is drug and alcohol free. The residents share the household chores and abide by a set of house rules, all of which promotes accountability to fellow residents and the house manager.
Things to look for in a quality sober living include:
- Homes are actively managed, clean, and will have a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
- The owner or manager of the house should express an authentic commitment to your recovery.
- House rules are clearly stated and consistently enforced, and mandatory weekly house meetings are the norm.
- The sober residence should be drug and alcohol free with a zero-tolerance policy for substance use.
- Residents typically participate in local 12-step or non 12 step recovery meetings and are supportive each other’s recovery efforts.
How Sober Living Can Help Sustain Recovery
Getting clean and sober is difficult. Even more challenging, however, is maintaining one’s newfound sobriety. This is where a quality sober living community can make a significant difference in reinforcing recovery.
In early recovery, the brain hasn’t fully healed and old addiction reflexes and responses, etched into brain pathways, threaten to undo all the hard work of getting sober. There are many things that can threaten early recovery. For an individual who had been living life in active addiction, returning to their home directly following treatment may present certain risks. Whether it is an unsupportive family or emotional and physical triggers, a recovering addict feels their home space as a reminder of where they drank or used. Even the furniture arrangement can trigger memories that cause the person to fall back into old destructive habits.
Benefits of Sober Living
Sober living creates a healthy transitional process between the highly structured inpatient treatment environment and the individual’s regular life. Once the rehab is completed exposure to the real world can undo all the effort made while in residential treatment. Stress, conflicts, or even just seeing the corner liquor store can quickly spark a relapse. Sober living allows time to reinforce the new sober lifestyle and healthy habits learned in treatment before returning to regular life.
Utilizing sober living and additional tools while in early recovery can make a big impact on longer term recovery and relapse prevention. Here are the benefits of residing in a sober living house:
- A drug and alcohol-free living environment
- Allows time to reinforce new, healthy habits
- Becoming part of a supportive community
- Learning how to enjoy the sober lifestyle
- Stabilizing work or academic life
- Continuing to work on recovery
Friendships and other social contacts that were intertwined with addiction behaviors must also change in recovery. Sober living homes can help put distance between the individual and these negative influences, especially in early recovery.
About Sober Living Options
Sober living homes are known by a variety of terms—halfway houses, transitional living, group homes, and recovery houses to name a few. While there may be some variation between them, generally they all function for the same purpose, to help those new in recovery time to stabilize within a drug and alcohol-free environment.
Sober living residences offer a wide range of options based on varying philosophies, structure, and amenities, and services offered. Some sober living options include:
- 12-step based
- Non 12-step based
- Quality of accommodations
- Outside services, such as recreational, spa services, legal help, etc.
- Holistic themed
Because of the wide variety of sober living accommodations available, things like personal preferences, lifestyle, and financial resources will determine the best match for each individual. Most sober living homes offer transportation to and from 12-step recovery meetings, court dates, outpatient counseling services, and doctor appointments.
The Importance of Social Support in Recovery
An important aspect of sober living is the social support and fellowship the residents receive in having shared experiences and the common goal of sustained sobriety. Attending regular meetings, whether A.A., N.A., SMART Recovery, or regular house meetings, friendships are made and bonds are forged. This alliance helps cement recovery by offering much needed support to each other in the early days of recovery.
One of the biggest threats posed to sobriety is loneliness. Having a peer support system in place offers opportunities for socializing. With a shared desire to maintain recovery, these new friendships can lead to enjoyable outings and activities with someone who has your back.
Sober Living Provides Structure and Accountability
Sober living housing provides the necessary framework and structure to support those who are in the early stages of recovery within a safe, drug-free environment. Learning to be accountable to others is a new challenge for recovering addicts who, in their active addiction, felt accountable only to their substance and their own needs. Living in a sober living residence creates a new awareness of the needs of others, and promotes accountability.
Some examples of how sober living fosters accountability:
- Random On-Site Drug Testing. Sober living homes have a zero tolerance policy on drug or alcohol use. Random mandatory drug and alcohol testing serves as a deterrent to those in early recovery who may be vulnerable to relapse. The policy aims to ensure that the homes are drug and alcohol free.
- Weekly House Meetings and Check-Ins. House meetings are an important aspect of sober living arrangements. The meetings allow for members to discuss issues, suggestions, or grievances in a safe and non-threatening environment.
- Weekly 12-Step or Non 12 Step Meetings. Experts in the field of addiction and recovery agree that a support groups can be an important component in continued sobriety. These meetings allow for peer-support, fellowship, and accountability while members progress through the steps in a safe community.
- Personal Responsibility and Accountability. By accepting responsibility for one’s own recovery, making no excuses or taking any shortcuts, the newly sober individual will restore his self worth. Being accountable to the house residents, the house manager, the program, and oneself is a way to do that.
Sober Living House Rules
Professionals in the addiction and recovery field emphasize the importance of self-regulation, acquiring healthy habits and routines, and exposure to deterrents to resume substance use for the recovering addict. Everyday house rules allow the residents to maintain order and safety within a drug and alcohol-free living environment while establishing new healthy routines.
Typical list of sober living house rules:
- Zero tolerance for drug or alcohol use, possession, and distribution.
- Residents must submit to drug or alcohol testing.
- Stealing is strictly prohibited.
- Physical or verbal confrontations or threats are prohibited.
- No weapons of any type are permitted.
- Unauthorized absence from the sober home is prohibited.
- Any malicious or destructive behavior of property is prohibited.
- Loitering is prohibited in front of the property.
- No lewd or sexual behavior is permitted at the residence.
- Residents may be required to attend 12-step meetings and have a sponsor.
- Residents are required to participate in a weekly house meeting.
- Residents must contribute to the daily chores.
- Residents are required to keep their bedroom clean and orderly.
- Valuables and medications are to be locked up securely.
- Residents must allow for occasional room searches by house manager.