What is Sober Living?

When a person takes the steps to go into treatment for substance abuse, it is normally a multiple-step process. It often begins with a medical detox (not always necessary), continues onto residential/inpatient, followed by outpatient care. The next step recommended is often sober living, which is a supportive, communal living environment that includes supervision and guidance while the person assimilates back into society. These living arrangements offer structure as well as peer support among other features, all depending on the facility.

Sober living facilities are designed to promote a healthy, structured lifestyle and a safe, supported transition into a routine without drugs and alcohol. This normally encompasses a healthy lifestyle and the attitudes, habits, and choices that help a person maintain sobriety and abstinence from all substances and behaviors that might encourage a relapse. Sober living facilities provide resources and support to develop skills crucial to reintegrating into society, such as getting and keeping employment, and help recovering addicts stay on the right path to recovery.

As they are often the final stepping stone in a continuum of care, sober living facilities usually come late in the process after an initial rehab treatment strategy is established. Many sober living residents are receiving continued therapy, have been attending meetings/programming geared toward their maintaining sobriety, and are either a part of a recovery community or interested in finding fellowship of some kind.

A Step Between Rehab and Independent Living

Sober living facilities act as a bridge between the regimented structure of residential or inpatient and the often-overwhelming prospect of living independently. Residents are expected to adhere to certain rules which require abstinence from drugs and alcohol, and participation in dedicated recovery work. Rules may also include a curfew, or that residents find full-time employment within a specific time frame. Some houses are affiliated with nearby 12-step recovery programs or other workshops. Many hold in-person meetings where residents can talk about recovery issues and their progress together.

Regardless of the specific form of recovery care a house uses, almost all sober houses integrate some form of continued recovery into daily or weekly schedules. Sober living homes promote accountability from residents with the requirement of regular drug testing, house meetings, assigned chores, and continued involvement in the 12 Steps or similar rehabilitation systems. They are ideally located near other recovery resources, as well as in areas where employment opportunities are available. They encourage residents to keep improving and challenging themselves via the development of employment and life skills. Residents may be paired up with a recovery coach or “sponsor” who can guide them through the process, provide support, and answer questions along the way. As such, well-managed sober living homes provide the optimal environment for recovery. One’s living environment is a crucial aspect of recovery, with the impacts of positive support – as well as the dangers of stress and opportunities to relapse – well established. The positive effects of sober living homes on recovery outcomes include greater abstinence from drugs and alcohol, as well as better employment and psychiatric outcomes.

Continued Support

Recovering alcoholics are usually at their most vulnerable in the early stages of living after drug rehab or initial treatment. Outside of the controlled environment of a treatment facility, temptations, stressors, and triggers for substance abuse can crop up all too frequently. Sober living facilities minimize these challenges, allowing recovering alcoholics to focus on the skills that truly matter. By surrounding oneself with supportive friends in recovery, a risk-free environment, and daily challenges and work, residents of sober homes can greatly increase their chances of living a life of sustained abstinence and sobriety from alcohol and any other dangerous substances.

If you or a loved one is struggling with a drug addiction, please call our admissions specialists at 866.637.5288. We can help.

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