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Currently, over 20 million Americans aged 12 and above
suffer from one type of addiction or the other. Similarly, fatalities from drug
and alcohol abuse and overdose have more than tripled over the past 20 years to
a national average of close 100 deaths by overdose per day.
From such statistics, it is clear that drastic measures
have been to be taken to overcome substance abuse and get addicts the treatment
and help they require to recover.
Luckily, there are tons of treatment options available.
From outpatient therapy down to round-the-clock residential care, finding the
right solution for your addiction should not be difficult.
One such treatment involves admission into a sober living
facility. By joining such a program, you will enjoy streamlined access to a
specialized support team while also continuing to enjoy some modicum of
By learning the tenets of sober living, you will kick
start your journey to a lifetime commitment. Although the program tends to
require a stepwise approach, eventually you are likely to recover fully and
keep away from the drugs, alcohol, and substances that plagued your life in the
Read on to find out more about sober living:
Sober living facilities are residences serving as group
homes for individuals suffering from a variety of chemical addictions. At such
a facility, you will enjoy a relaxing and stable environment to support your
ongoing efforts to kick substance abuse and learn how to maintain sobriety.
However, these types of residences are different from
rehab centers and hospitals in the sense that you will typically enjoy some
leeway in your daily routine. The restrictions imposed are only likely to be
established to protect the sobriety and safety of everyone at the facility.
Before you join a sober living facility, you need to keep
in mind that you will still be allowed to conduct your life as you typically
do. For instance, the home is likely to encourage you to still go to work. In
fact, most residences will require that you work so that you can relearn some
essential life skills while also getting the opportunity to be able to afford
the expenses and rent associated with the residence.
In the same way, serving as a resident at a sober living
facility means that you will have to take drug tests regularly. This is done to
confirm your sobriety, and to ensure that no one has fallen back to the
addiction bandwagon. If the facility discovers any signs that you have been
conforming to the prescribed program, it might evict you until you are ready to
commit to a life of staying clean.
That said, sober living programs take up just about any
resident who is struggling in their addiction recovery. As a resident, you
would typically be expected to follow the set rules.
However, you will also enjoy easy and convenient access
to addiction professionals, such as staff therapists and counselors.
Additionally, there might be a case manager to coordinate the living routines
and treatment programs. Other residences typically have biofeedback
specialists, spiritual counselors, psychologists, and psychotherapists on their
Although not everyone can gain admission into a sober
living residence, the facilities are ideal if you are looking for a supportive
environment to give you the impetus to transition to a life of full sobriety.
By living in such an environment, you are highly likely
to boost the odds that you will recover permanently. In this way, sober living
facilities are not a quick fix or a temporary solution to drug and alcohol
abuse and addiction.
Still, the program you sign up for might only work if you
remain committed to following the steps prescribed. Of course, this means that
you have to realize that recovery won't happen overnight. Rather, you have to
put in the effort and enjoy the support until you achieve the meaningful
results you are striving for.
Irrespective of the sober living facility you join, there
are certain rules you need to follow to ensure that the program is successful.
These rules are established to allow you to understand your roles, what is
expected of you, and the responsibilities you need to take up during your stay.
Although all facilities tend to come with their own
rules, most will ask you to:
When everyone follows these rules, harmony tends to reign
supreme in the home. However, there are several other requirements specifically
designed to teach you how to join fellow residents in pulling together a
lifestyle of balance and sobriety.
As mentioned above, for instance, you might be asked to
continue working (or get a job if you didn't already have one). The facility
rules are also highly likely to require that you volunteer in the local
community, especially if you have a hard time finding a job.
In the same way, the facility might require that you
attend all your substance abuse and addiction therapy meetings on time, and
provide proof of such attendance. Other communities will even provide you with
links to resources that will help you resolve any outstanding legal issues you
might have, create healthier eating and exercise plans, and balance your
From the comprehensive support provided, you are more
likely than not to eventually relearn the process of setting goals, maintaining
a healthy routine, and continue functioning as a happy and healthy adult in the
society you live in.
Apart from the above rules, sober living entails certain
features. Among these, the principal one is the social support provided in the
household. This is because statistics show that people with an active social
support group that discourages alcohol and substance abuse are even more likely
to discontinue their addiction and enjoy longer periods of sobriety and
The sober living features that support recovery include
but are not limited to:
The main reason why you would move into a sober living
facility is to enjoy the drug-free environment created. In such an environment,
your desire to keep away from drug and alcohol use will be actualized and
reinforced. After all, the primary requirement for any sober living facility
revolves around the sobriety of the residents.
In many cases, the home is also highly likely to
encourage you (and other residents) to participate in 12-step meetings and/or
group therapy. These meetings may eventually contribute to the sober lifestyle
promoted in the facility.
As a resident, you might be required to follow all
established house rules. Typically, for instance, you will complete chores,
avoid substance use, prepare meals, and participate actively in all house
Most of the homes you are going to come across are likely
to perform periodic drug testing. This is done to ensure that everyone in the
facility is abstaining from drugs and alcohol.
As a resident, you might be encouraged to develop goals
and work towards them. The common goals at a sober living facility include
finding a job, completing school, or even getting your finances in order.
These features tend to be appealing to people recovering
from serious drug and substance abuse and addiction. This is mostly on account
of the fact that they emphasize those aspects of responsibility and structure
that are required for healthy, sober living. Similarly, the features will
reinforce personal responsibility and balance the characteristics of fellowship
and freedom that are interlinked to extended sobriety.
Last but not least, the interactions you engage in while
at the facility are highly likely to develop into opportunities for you to
build new problem-solving and decision-making skills that you can use in your
daily personal and professional life outside the residence.
So, when is the ideal time in your recovery process to
join a sober living home? Addiction is a relapsing and chronic condition that
is variously affected by the long term abuse of alcohol and drugs - which tends
to change the chemistry and structure of the brain.
After using drugs over a prolonged period, you are highly
likely to get to a point where you no longer have a choice about whether to
stop or to use. It is because of this reason that there are a couple of stages
involved in addiction recovery.
Most sober living homes are likely to accept anyone who
is still new to the rehabilitation process. However, some facilities establish
specific treatment requirements which you need to meet before you gain
admission into the program.
To this end, you might first have to attend an initial
meeting where the home will decide whether you are at the right stage in your
recovery - a stage where it would make sense for you to join the facility.
For instance, the house rules at the residence are
non-negotiable, and you have to agree to adhere to them. Similarly, the home
will most likely require your active participation in ongoing treatment, as
well as your productivity and involvement during your stay.
That said, sober living is ideal for anyone at the
recovery stage where they are responsible enough to live with others struggling
with the same or similar addiction issues.
Consider the following:
A growing number of sober living facilities are likely to
prefer new residents who have completed the addiction withdrawal and
detoxification process. As you go through this stage, you might suffer from an
assortment of psychological and physical reactions - ranging from a rapid
heartbeat and cold sweats to anxiety and restlessness.
Similarly, this stage of the recovery process might
require constant monitoring, something that most sober living homes won't be
equipped to provide. As a direct result, it is highly unlikely that such a home
will accept a recovering addict who has difficulty with detox and withdrawal,
or those who are unable to participate in the traditional treatment program due
to illness or acute withdrawal symptoms.
As a resident, you might be asked to show your commitment
to a life of full sobriety during your stay. This lifestyle tends to be easier
for individuals who have already undergone counseling and enjoy easy access to
coping strategies and tools to help them stay sober.
Sober living homes are not places you go to after your
family and friends intervene directly, and you are still in denial about your
addiction issues. At this stage, you are unlikely to do well with the
environment of the home or the structure created.
Only after you have undergone some treatment and you have
acknowledged that you have a problem will the facility consider welcoming you
into its folds.
As with everything else related to drug and alcohol
addiction, sober living programs carry different levels of risk and reward.
Only think about joining such a facility if:
Different recovering addicts might benefit from sober
living homes. These include those who completed a recognized rehab program - in
particular through inpatient rehabilitation.
According to NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse),
it is highly recommended that you remain in a rehab program for a minimum of 90
days as you continue overcoming your addiction.
When all is said and done, and after the rehab program
ends, you may benefit even more from the ongoing support provided in an
environment such as a sober living home while also enjoying greater levels of
Overall, as you continue battling your addiction to
drugs, alcohol, and any other commonly abused substance, keep in mind that hope
exists. One such place where you might find respite is at a sober living
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