Sober living homes are an essential resource for individuals who are trying to recover from the devastating effects of substance use disorders. If you suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction, a sober living house can support your recovery at all stages of the recovery process. While choosing a sober living home, there are many factors to consider. It is important to select a sober living house that has the following qualities:
- Offers a great deal of structure, house rules, and daily schedules
- Provides daily support and guidance
- Has a passionate team, staff members, and sober living house managers
- Is located in a neighborhood that is both safe and convenient
- Feels safe and comfortable inside the house
- Offers a strong peer support system
Another important factor for many people is whether or not the sober living houses gender-specific. All male and all-female sober living homes have many advantages over co-ed sober livings. While to some extent it is a matter of preference, certain individuals may find it far easier to get sober in gender-specific sober livings.
Gender specific treatment and sober living programs are more effective for a wide range of reasons. There is no single factor that makes gender-specific sober livings more effective. For many people, it simply comes down to safety and comfort levels. Gender-specific sober livings often feel both safer and more comfortable. If increased comfort and safety make people more likely to pursue addiction recovery, then those reasons are sufficient.
Reducing the Likelihood of Relationships
One of the reasons gender specific addiction treatment and sober livings are often recommended is that it reduces the likelihood of romantic relationships for heterosexual clients. For homosexual clients, gender-specific sober livings do not necessarily have this advantage. But for heterosexual clients, the reduced likelihood of romantic entanglements is a considerable advantage.
Relationships in a sober living house can cause several problems, among them:
- Feeling distracted from recovery goals
- Drama and gossip in the community can lead to conflict
- Tension and conflict among housemates
- Emotional upheavals, which are common in relationships, can lead to emotional relapse
- Focusing on the body, rather than mental and emotional needs during recovery
Relationships and even physical intimacy can be significant impediments to recovery, simply because they are highly distracting and emotionally demanding. Many addiction experts caution people against entering relationships at all during their first year of recovery. In 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, sponsors often encourage abstinence during this vulnerable early period of recovery. Not only does this significantly decrease the likelihood of relapse, but it also allows people the time they need to focus on healing. Ultimately, by taking the time necessary to focus on oneself and recover, a person can set themselves to be a much better partner, communicator, and asset to a relationship.
A Safe, Comfortable Space
Daily life in a sober living requires residents to take part in a variety of activities that are designed to facilitate their recovery. However, one of the most crucial aspects of recovery arises from the informal connections and conversations between members of the house. For many people, addiction is a lonely condition. In fact, addiction experts often refer to substance use disorders as “diseases of isolation.” Addiction causes people to engage in conflicts, behave violently, and sometimes disconnect from close friends and family members. People with drug or alcohol addictions sometimes feel sorely misunderstood — as if they are the only person in the world experiencing such compulsions and the consequences that go with them. During life in a sober living, these people have the opportunity to connect with people who truly understand.
These conversations and connections are sometimes easier in the context of a gender-specific sober living house. This is primarily because these conversations require a great deal of vulnerability. Addiction impacts people in many ways, and often the harms that befall addicts are embarrassing, shameful, or even taboo to discuss. Men often find it easier to open up about these experiences with fellow men. In the case of heterosexual men, they may also find it difficult to discuss shameful experiences around women — because they are driven to impress members of the opposite gender. Around other men, the process of being honest and vulnerable is sometimes much faster. Gender-specific sober livings facilitate greater trust and bonding.
Ultimately, the increased bonding that occurs in a gender-specific sober living house can lower relapse rates. Studies on sober living homes show that individuals who develop strong social support systems in their sober livings have the greatest protection against relapse. Even years after graduation, individuals who attended sober livings have lowered rates of relapse. It can be surmised that by facilitating connections and creating more trust, gender-specific sober living homes offer greater protection from relapse than co-ed sober livings.
Differences Between Men and Women
Not only do people of the same gender often find it easier to open up with each other, but they often have shared experiences. The experiences of women abusing drugs and alcohol are sometimes similar to the experiences of men, but in many cases, they are dramatically different. Whether this is due to internal wiring differences or sociological factors is beside the point. The fact is that men and women are vulnerable to different experiences.
Men, for instance, are more likely to engage in violent crimes while they are intoxicated. As a result, they may face a wide range of legal problems — as well as some significant guilt. Women, unlike men, are specifically vulnerable to the possibility of unwanted pregnancy during intoxication. It is sometimes noted that women are vulnerable to assault, which is true, but men experience assault during intoxication at high rates — but they are less likely to report their experiences due to social stigma. it is far easier to discuss these shared stories, traumas, and experiences in the safe and supportive environment of a men’s sober living home.
It is also worth noting that the way men and women approach substance abuse is often different. Men are significantly more likely to abuse almost every type of illicit drug, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Their substance abuse is also more likely to result in overdoses, emergency department visits, and other health issues.
Recover in a Supportive, Structured Environment
Sober living homes are very beneficial for individuals who are trying to stay sober and rebuild their lives. Sober livings offer clean and sober environments that are safe, supportive, and trigger-free. Living in a trigger-free environment is especially important for people who are in early sobriety since they tend to be quite vulnerable to even the most innocuous triggers. However, perhaps the most important element of a sober living home is the social support systems that residents develop there. Research shows that developing a peer support system in a sober living home can help reduce relapse rates even years after leaving.
When choosing who to live with, it is crucial to choose people you can trust and feel vulnerable around. Making use of a gender-specific sober living, such as a men’s sober living home, helps people with the following benefits:
- Focus entirely on personal growth
- Forget about the need for validation from the opposite gender
- Focus exclusively on healing oneself
- De-emphasizes the importance of physical appearance
- Reduce the pressure of being around members of the opposite sex
Around people of the same gender, it is easier to let your guard down. The ability to be vulnerable is essential for individuals who are working on changing themselves from the inside. After all, the process of recovery involves more than just putting down drugs and alcohol. It means resetting your value system, changing automatic behaviors, and re-learning how to live.
For men who are getting sober, gender-specific homes allow them to focus, form bonds, and recover without distraction.
Men’s Sober Living at Design for Recovery
Design for Recovery is Los Angeles’ most sought-after men’s structured sober living house. Located in West LA, Design for Recovery is offers a safe environment for men who are working to recover from a drug or alcohol use disorder. Our staff members strive to support residents as they address underlying issues, develop better coping skills, build strong relationships, and plan for their futures. Our property provides the ideal environment, resources, and structure to make vital life changes.
Design for Recovery was founded upon the philosophy that recovery goes far beyond physical abstinence. Our residents aim to live by fundamental life principles, which include integrity, honesty, responsibility, and accountability. Not only do these values form the foundation of successful long-term sobriety, but they pave the way for a healthier new approach to relationships, work, and all other aspects of daily life. We are convinced that recovery isn’t a punishment for years of substance abuse — it is a valuable gift. With every passing day at Design for Recovery, our clients develop into better versions of themselves.
Our structured sober living house in Los Angeles provides countless opportunities to individuals who are hoping to make a change. If you are ready for a fresh start, contact us today. Design for Recovery staff members are available at all times for free and confidential consultations.