Houston is the fourth most populous city in the Southern United States, and it is also the largest city in the state of Texas. Houston is located near Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in Southeast Texas. The city is expansive, covering a total area of 637.4 square miles, making it the largest city in the country by area. Much of the growth of Houston occurred during the 20th century, due to the construction of the Houston Ship Channel and the Texas oil boom. Today, Houston has a diversified economy. It is home to the largest concentration of healthcare and research institutions in the world, the Texas Medical Center, as well as NASA’s Johnson Space Center. This global city, often nicknamed “Space City” or “H-Town,” is widely recognized for the diversity of its population, its strengths in medicine and research, and its rich culture.
However, Houston is also an epicenter of Texas’ drug and alcohol addiction problems. Residents of Texas, from the richest to the poorest, have high rates of drug and alcohol abuse, and this is nowhere more apparent than in Houston. Location is a significant factor. Houston is located very close to the Mexican border, making it an ideal distribution center for drug traffickers and international drug cartels. Illicit drugs such as heroin, crystal meth, cocaine, crack cocaine, MDMA, and marijuana are widely abused in Houston, leading to skyrocketing addiction rates.
In recent years, the opioid epidemic has caused irrevocable damage to the lives of many Houston residents. Synthetic opioid painkillers, some of which are many times more powerful than heroin, are prescribed liberally in Texas. In fact, for every 100 residents, doctors write 47.2 opioid prescriptions. Illicitly sold prescription opioids also enjoy enormous popularity on the black market. As a result, countless Houston residents develop opioid addictions each year, leading to hundreds of overdose deaths.
It is common for people with substance use disorders to resist getting the help they need. This is partly due to the stigma that surrounds addiction. In Texas, where freedom and autonomy are prized highly, many people feel that there is something shameful about asking for help. Left unchecked, however, addictions tend to become progressively more severe. Fortunately, Houston is home to a wide variety of recovery resources for people suffering from addiction, including sober living houses. By making use of a sober living house, you or your addicted loved one in Houston can escape the vicious cycle of addiction and begin leading the life you want.
What Are Sober Livings?
Sober living homes are properties where people who are recovering from addiction live. To move into a sober living house, a person must agree to remain drug and alcohol-free. Many sober living houses regularly administer drug tests to ensure that clients are holding up their end of the agreement. The purpose behind such a policy isn’t to “force” anyone to get sober — clients are free to leave at any time. Rather, it is to ensure that other residents have the opportunity to live in a space that is drug and alcohol-free.
Environmental factors play an important role during early addiction recovery. During this vulnerable period, individuals can easily find themselves triggered to relapse. Living in an unsafe, unstable, or tumultuous home environment can easily draw a person back into old habits. At a sober living home, residents can remove themselves from the distractions and challenges of their accustomed way of life and begin cultivating new habits.
Individuals benefit considerably from living with other sober people in recovery. For many, active addiction is lonely — not just because substance abuse leads to conflict and isolation, but also because many addicts feel that no one understands what it means to lose control the way they do. Living with other people who have had similar experiences can be revelatory. Housemates work together to keep each other accountable by sharing their experiences, strength, and hope. Studies on sober living homes show that graduates tend to have lower rates of relapse even years afterward. The reason behind these low rates of relapse is that sober living graduates have strong social support systems.
Sober living home staff ensure that residents have a great deal of structure in their day-to-day lives. Residents work to address underlying issues that may have been driving them to abuse drugs and alcohol. These underlying issues can include financial problems, chronic unemployment, interpersonal conflicts and communication problems, legal problems, and unaddressed mental health disorders. While sober living houses do not offer clinical treatment, they work with residents to ensure that they are connected to any services or resources they may need.
Individuals who attend sober living houses focus on more than just staying sober. What makes sober living facilities unique is the emphasis they place on building a sober life. After all, few people want to get sober only to return to their old way of living. As such, sober living house managers and staff provide hands-on support as residents get jobs, enroll in academic programs, develop new hobbies and passions, and take steps to realize their goals. By the time an individual graduates from a sober living in Houston, they will be sober, independent, confident, and living a life they would never have dared imagine for themself one year prior.
Sober Fun in Houston
For many, the term “sober fun” sounds like the opposite of fun. People who are actively abusing drugs and alcohol, or newly sober people, may struggle to imagine how anyone can have fun without getting drunk or using drugs. The reality is that sober fun is very achievable, especially when you have a strong support group and lots of friends to hang out with. Moreover, Houston is an enormous and diverse city with countless activities and events. If you only know Houston’s bar scene, you don’t know Houston!
While this may be the case, it is worth noting that addicts in Houston may struggle to appreciate all the city has to offer during their first year of sobriety. The city of Houston is home to a great deal of substance abuse, but for recovering addicts in Houston, the triggers are sometimes more personal. A chance encounter with one’s former drug dealer, seeing the “open” sign in front of your former favorite bar, or even encountering an ex can all be triggering events. For this reason, Houston residents often benefit from enrolling in sober livings elsewhere, such as in Los Angeles. With time, support, and a stronger foundation in sobriety, however, returning to Houston is easy — and the city’s offerings can be safely explored with little to fear.
Sober life in Houston is never boring. Here are a few ideas for sober fun in Houston, Texas:
Check Out Market Square Park
Located in Downtown Houston’s Historic District, Market Square Park hosts a variety of activities and events throughout the year. You can even catch outdoor movie screenings during the summer!
Enjoy Houston’s Food Scene
Did you know eating delicious food causes the brain to release dopamine — the same “feel-good” chemical that many addictive drugs release. Fortunately, eating delicious food is not a relapse! Houston is famous for its cuisine, which is extremely diverse. Tex-Mex restaurants that specialize in Houston’s special take on Mexican food can be found on every block.
Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston, a learning center that is part of NASA, offers educational and exciting experiences for people of all ages. The center includes fascinating exhibits, attractions, and over 400 distinct space artifacts.
Houston’s Museum District
The Museum District, located in downtown Houston, is home to 19 distinct museums. These include the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Children’s Museum of Houston, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and the Menil Collection. If you’re tired of browsing, stop by the lovely Hermann Park and have a picnic or a rest!
Buffalo Bayou Park
Buffalo Bayou Park is a green space running through the entirety of Houston. Taking up over 160 acres, this park is as beautiful as it is enormous. It has countless attractions, including a dog park, urban art, and plentiful shady picnic areas. It is also a great place for fun recreational activities like kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and cycling.
Enjoy a Day in Galveston
Technically Galveston isn’t part of Houston, but it’s only an hour away, which makes it great for a day trip. Galveston is a beachside town with endless stretches of beautiful turquoise water. The city’s historic downtown offers excellent dining along the oceanfront. But the real attraction is Pleasure Pier, which includes rollercoasters, a Ferris wheel, and fun for people of all ages.
Benefits of Houston Sober Living Houses
Substance use disorders are chronic health conditions that do not simply get “cured” or “go away.” However, like any chronic condition, including high blood pressure and diabetes, it is possible to live symptom-free. Doing so requires a strong social support system, new coping skills, new behaviors, and plenty of guidance. Sober living homes offer all of that. Moreover, they offer residents all the time they need to develop these essential resources. Many residents stay a year or longer. By the time they graduate, residents have fulfilling and joyful lives, and they are well prepared to tackle the challenges ahead. The benefits of attending a sober living house include:
Sober living homes are more than just places to eat and sleep. They are warm communities — many would even call them families. Addiction is often referred to by public health experts as a “disease of despair,” and many people in the recovery community refer to it as a “disease of loneliness.” Years of addiction are frequently characterized by interpersonal conflict and isolation. Meeting others who share the same struggles can be truly life-changing. Not only do residents support one another on their recovery journeys, but they also make life in sobriety fun and rewarding.
Sober living homes employ staff members who are passionate about the recovery process. In fact, staff members have often been through the recovery process themselves, so they truly are in an excellent position to offer guidance, strength, and support. Staff members and sober living house managers generally live on-site, ensuring the residents have access both night and day.
Life Skills Training
Sober living homes operate under the conviction that recovery involves more than just staying sober. Few people just want to get sober and return to their old lives! After years of drug and alcohol abuse, many young people in recovery lack basic skills that most people their age take for granted. To remedy this, sober living homes help residents write resumes, apply for jobs, and even catch up on some basic personal grooming habits they may have missed out on. Other skills that residents learn may include money management, time management, and communication skills.
Transition Into the Outside World
Sober living homes are often recommended to people who are graduating from rehab. Inpatient rehabs offer effective clinical treatment for addiction, but jumping too quickly back into the outside world can be perilous. Sober living homes offer a sort of transitional bridge program for recent rehab graduates, allowing them to take the time necessary to build up their lives and strengthen their sobriety in the process. Why meet the challenges of early sobriety alone when you can do so with others? It’s more fun that way too!
Reduced Risk of Relapse
Sober living houses cannot prevent a person from relapsing. However, the structure, support, and guidance they provide can help facilitate long-term sobriety. Moreover, sober living homes allow people to stay for longer than most rehabs do. Research shows that the longer a person stays involved in a recovery program, the more likely they are to stay sober down the line.
Sober Livings Outside of Houston
Houston has many excellent options for sober livings. However, it may be too triggering to remain in Houston if you have spent years abusing drugs and alcohol there. The city may simply be too tightly associated with your memories of drug and alcohol abuse. A chance encounter with a former drinking buddy or walking by your old bar can present dangerous triggers. Even emotionally disturbing events, such as seeing toxic family members or an ex, can make it difficult to move on from your old life. As such, it is often recommended that a person switch cities when they begin their recovery journey.
Los Angeles, California is a top recovery destination. In part, this is because LA is home to a unique style of sober living home: structured sober livings. These houses provide additional structure, support, and resources beyond what most sober livings offer. The city itself is also appealing for recovery since it offers countless enriching outdoor activities, bountiful cultural events, and a diverse, open-minded, and health-conscious population. Support groups and 12-step meetings are plentiful throughout Los Angeles. Given the strength of Los Angeles’ recovery community, it is no surprise that people from Houston to New York regularly head west to make a fresh start.
Recovery is Possible at Design for Recovery
Design for Recovery, located in West Los Angeles, is the city’s foremost structured sober living house for men. Our properties provide young men with drug and alcohol addictions a safe, supportive, and trigger-free environment where they can focus on recovery. We support residents as they address underlying issues, develop new skillsets, and build new relationships. During early sobriety, challenges are inevitable. But at Design for Recovery, young men can face them together.
We believe that recovering from drug and alcohol addiction means more than just staying away from substances. We are committed to helping residents build new futures for themselves as well. This means developing a strong foundation of sober values. We encourage residents at Design for Recovery to live by strong principles, including accountability, responsibility, integrity, and rigorous honesty. While living at Design for Recovery, young men not only get sober, but they also become the best possible versions of themselves.
If you are ready to make a change and get sober, our Los Angeles sober living offers the opportunity to do just that. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.