Sober Living: The Crucial Step in Drug and Alcohol Recovery

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 10% of all adults in the United States suffer from drug addiction at some point in their lives. In 2019, over 70,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the country. Despite these alarming numbers, three-fourths of all people with drug and alcohol addictions never seek help of any kind. The vast majority struggle — generally with little success — to control their substance abuse on their own.

Addiction is not a moral failing and it does not come about due to a lack of willpower. It is helpful to understand that addiction is not an “individual” issue at all. Sober living homes help people who are suffering from addiction because they recognize that recovery is best facilitated by a safe, trigger-free environment and a strong social support system. No matter what a person’s substance of choice is or how severe their addiction has gotten, they can make use of a sober living house to develop a foundation of long-term sobriety and rebuild their life.

What Are Sober Livings?

Sober livings are properties where multiple people live as roommates and pursue sobriety together. In many ways, sober living houses function similarly to other roommate situations and group homes. Residents sleep, eat, work, hang out, watch TV, and do chores around the house to keep the place clean. Unlike normal roommate situations, though, sober livings generally have a set structure and a number of rules. They also employ staff members who are available to offer feedback, emotional guidance, and set a solid example.

The most important rule that all sober living homes share is that residents cannot abuse drugs or alcohol. This not only helps keep individual residents sober, but also guarantees a safe and supportive environment for everyone else. Individuals in early recovery are highly vulnerable to triggers. Living with friends or family members who abuse drugs or alcohol can easily lead to a relapse. But triggers are not just limited to direct exposure to substance abuse. A chance encounter with an old drinking buddy or even just basic peer pressure can lead a person in early recovery to return to old habits. In a 100% clean and sober environment, it is far easier to stay on the path of recovery.

Perhaps just as importantly, sober livings are communities. They are not simply places for sober people to crash for the night! Housemates are like family members. After all, addiction is lonely. People with addictions often feel misunderstood, and they also often have a tendency to isolate or start conflicts with their loved ones. Living with other young people with similar experiences and problems can be very healing. Residents bond over shared stories, offer each other their strength and support and keep each other accountable. These relationships, according to one study on sober livings, help sober living participants stay sober long after they have left. Moreover, sober friendships make it possible to lead lives in sobriety that are joyful, meaningful and fulfilling.

How Sober Livings Work?

Sober livings are not clinical treatment programs. Unlike rehabs, they do not offer therapy or medical services designed to help people manage their addictions. Rather, they offer living environments that are highly conducive to recovery. Sober livings also function as “home bases” for individuals who are engaging in other services. Sober living staff members and house managers help residents get connected to any services they need. In doing so, they are able to support the diverse needs of individuals in recovery while helping them become more independent and autonomous.

Sober living houses are an important resource during all steps of the addiction recovery process. Sober living facilities offer flexible forms of support that can help individuals who are dealing with severe consequences of addiction, but these homes can also help individuals who have been sober for a while rebuild their lives. Every sober living house resident is on a different stage of the recovery journey, which is actually an advantage: it allows house residents and sober living staff members to be important mentors. This peer mentorship aspect of sober livings helps both the people being mentored and the mentors themselves. In fact, studies show that helping other people with addiction is one of the most effective ways of staying sober.

Sober Livings During Treatment

Sober living houses can be a critical adjunct to addiction treatment. When an individual begins rehab, their caseworker or other addiction professionals may recommend that they also move into a sober living house. This is especially true when it comes to outpatient addiction treatment programs, which do not involve clients living on-site.

Sober living houses can supplement and support addiction treatment in an outpatient program. Outpatient rehab programs provide clinical addiction treatment. Sober living houses support this process by providing a safe, clean, and trigger-free environment. They provide rehab clients with opportunities to practice and reinforce their newfound coping tools. Meanwhile, sober living house residents build stronger peer support systems, are more accountable, and take daily steps toward building full and prosperous lives in sobriety.

Living in a sober living home during addiction treatment is suitable for certain populations. Naturally, it is not possible for people who are making use of inpatient treatment programs, since clients live on-site. But certain outpatient clients benefit enormously from sober livings. These groups include:

  • People who are homeless or rough sleeping
  • People who are alienated from their families
  • Those who lack structure at home
  • Those who live with active addicts or alcoholics
  • People whose home life is unstable, dominated by conflict, or dangerous
  • Those whose home life has many triggers
  • Individuals who find it difficult to function living on their own due to the severity of their addiction

Sober Livings For Transitions

Sober living houses are also beneficial during other stages of addiction treatment. They are highly sought-after elements of an aftercare plan. What is aftercare? An aftercare plan is a plan that a person makes for life after rehab. It is usually developed collaboratively with a caseworker or other rehab staff members. Aftercare programs are designed to help people stay sober and connected in the weeks, months, and years after leaving a clinical addiction treatment program. Sober living houses allow rehab graduates to continue to learn and practice the skills they learned in rehab. At the same time, they can develop a strong sober support system that will last beyond even their residence in sober living!

Jumping too quickly into the outside world after graduating from rehab can be a recipe for disaster. After living in a very structured and regimented institution, rehab graduates may find the abrupt transition too jarring. Without a transitional stop-gap, rehab graduates may find themselves facing an overwhelming quantity of triggers — and they may relapse. Sober livings function as a sort of “bridge” between rehab and the outside world.

In sober living homes, rehab graduates can transition to life in the outside world gradually. Every day, they take steps toward increased autonomy and independence. Sober living houses encourage and sometimes even require residents to get a job and begin supporting themselves financially. Sober living residents work on developing crucial life skills, ranging from better communication skills to pragmatic skills like how to write a resume. By the time they are ready to graduate, they are well-prepared for any challenge that life may throw at them.

Reaching Toward the Future in Sober Living

Most people who are dealing with addictions don’t only want to quit drugs and alcohol. People who want to get sober usually want to get sober because they hope to lead better lives. Quality sober livings thus make an important distinction between abstinence and recovery. Abstinence means simply putting down drugs and alcohol. Recovery, on the other hand, means developing a new approach to living life, new attitudes, new values, and new behaviors. During life in a sober living house, residents work to repair relationships, address underlying issues, and heal any damage that their substance abuse brought about.

But recovery isn’t just about fixing problems. It’s also about taking positive steps toward futures that make sobriety feel exciting and worthwhile. Once a person has achieved stability in their sober living, they can begin thinking about their goals, ambitions, and passions. Perhaps for the first time in years, the future is now open to them to do anything they set their heart on. Sober living residents begin taking steps toward new careers, enrolling in academic programs, and building lives that are beyond what they ever could have imagined for themselves. Abstinence is the foundation, certainly — but the futures that sober living residents develop for themselves in recovery are vital.

Recover Today at Design for Recovery

Design for Recovery, a structured sober living home for men located in West Los Angeles, is committed to providing a supportive, safe, and trigger-free environment. No matter what a person’s drug of choice was or how severe their substance addiction was, anyone who wishes can turn their life around while residing in our structured facility. Our sober residents work daily to develop the values, skills, behaviors and peer support systems that they need to maintain long-term sobriety. At the same time, they work to build new lives for themselves beyond their wildest imagination.

Our staff members at Design for Recovery believe that abstinence is the foundation, but that recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Addiction recovery means more than just putting down alcohol and recreational drugs. Instead, it means building a new life that is meaningful, joyful, and free. Residents at Design for Recovery work hard to create a strong foundation of values to live by. The vital principles that form the foundation of their future actions include honesty, integrity, responsibility, and accountability. By cultivating these principles, a new way of life opens up. Relationships improve, career prospects change, and new futures emerge.

If you are ready to escape the vicious cycle of substance abuse and addiction, contact us today. Recovery is possible at Design for Recovery.

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