Completing inpatient addiction treatment can be both exciting and frightening at once. Although most people are eager to return to their normal lives when entering rehab, the fear of relapse steadily increases as the end of treatment nears. An immediate return to familiar locations and relationships is often detrimental in the early stages of recovery.
Sober living homes serve as an effective bridge between structured, inpatient care and completely independent living. These spaces offer a continuation of treatment. With firm rules against using and engaging in high-risk behaviors, they keep residents accountable. Sober living homes also offer a diverse range of in-house support systems and help people plan and structure their lives for continued stability.
If you are worried about the temptations, stressors, and triggers that you might face when going home, sober living after rehab could be right for you.
What Is Sober Living?
Sober living is a shared living environment that’s designed to support and encourage recovering addicts in early recovery. Sometimes it is also referred to as a halfway house.
Unlike an inpatient treatment center, a sober living house isn’t a closed campus. Residents can come and go throughout the day and early evening. They can have jobs, go to school, attend sober meetings or support groups, and take part in many other activities. Many people that live in a sober home also attend outpatient substance abuse treatment.
Sober living homes offer a safe and structured sober environment. Most sober living homes have onsite managers who both issue and enforce a strict set of residential rules. Drug and alcohol use is not allowed. Many sober living homes require residents to undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.
Everyone in a sober living home helps with the cleaning and maintenance of the living space, and everyone is required to participate in post-treatment recovery programs. Many sober houses use the 12-step approach to addiction recovery, and most provide continued access to counselors, mental health services, and other forms of post-treatment support.
What to Expect
The benefits of sober living are widespread. Becoming a resident at a sober living home can diminish the fear of leaving rehab while giving you an opportunity to fully enjoy the sense of accomplishment that you’ve earned. Most facilities have strict curfews and equally stern rules against bringing home guests.
As a bridge between structured addiction treatment and independent living, these spaces push residents to increasingly assume more responsibility and more control over their lives. For instance, while living in these spaces, you’ll attend regular community meetings where you’ll talk about your plans and goals. Onsite managers and other staff members will then share resources for helping you and other residents meet your goals. Sober living homes help residents:
- Find and apply for jobs
- Connect with skill-building resources
- Get legal help for resolving financial or legal barriers to permanent housing
- Learn basic self-care
- Connect with transportation resources and other social service programs
When staying in a sober living home after rehab, you’ll have daily chores and weekly or monthly rent payments. The costs of staying in sober living homes are incredibly low, and most locations are flexible in rent collection. Rent payments are largely intended to teach residents fiscal responsibility and to help them prepare for the financial challenges that they’ll face when leaving.
You might also have an established schedule for reporting your progress in finding employment, locating options in stable, long-term housing, and resolving pressing legal issues. When you report your progress, onsite counselors will help you define and overcome any challenges you are facing. Many sober living homes are aligned with employers that routinely hire recovering addicts. Their networks also include job training programs, transitional housing agencies, and other services that can make rebuilding your life infinitely easier.
Many people who transition into sober living homes stay in these environments for at least 90 days. After this time, most feel comfortable enough to continue their journeys in their own living environments. However, if a longer stay is required, it is often possible to obtain an extension. Some sober living homes allow residents to remain for as long as six to nine months.
Who Does Sober Living Benefit?
Sober living is beneficial for anyone who needs more time in structured recovery after their inpatient program has ended. This includes people with:
- Multiple comorbidities
- Histories of heavy drug or alcohol use
- Multiple relapse events in their past
- Histories of using highly addictive substances
- Unstable or unhealthy living environments
Addiction is often called a family issue. Everyone in the home is affected by addiction, and everyone can play a role in supporting it. People with co-dependent or enabling family members often find that entering a sober living home is safer than returning to toxic and emotionally challenging living environments.
When returning home causes trauma, extraordinary stress, or other forms of emotional discomfort for anyone in the family, it may never be safe to do. With sober living, it’s possible to get a continued break from the triggers and challenges that a former home presents, and to fully prepare for independent living.
Better Outcomes in Stable Environments
Among some of the greatest barriers to addiction recovery are joblessness and housing instability. The challenges of establishing a stable, balanced, and comfortable life outside of drug treatment can be overwhelming. Stable living situations allow people to maintain their recoveries as their top priorities. Residents receive constant encouragement and support from both onsite staff and their peers. When confronting challenges and problems, they do not have to solve or overcome them on their own.
One of the greatest benefits of sober living after rehab is having a constant sense of camaraderie. Residents are surrounded by like-minded people who share the same recovery goals. This allows residents to establish healthy friendships, and to build solid sober networks. It also helps recovering addicts avoid one of the greatest triggers for relapse: extended periods of social isolation.
If you or your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, learning more about inpatient rehab centers, sober living facilities, and other addiction services is an excellent first step. Our counselors are adept at helping people and their families find the right treatment programs and support services for their needs. Call Recovery Bay Center to get started.