After you’ve been in a rehabilitative treatment center and before you return to your life again, there are environments in which you can find support for your sobriety. The best sober living homes were established on the West Coast, specifically in California, and have spread around the country. They are environments that incorporate recovery interventions, a milieu of sober living, and often utilize the 12-step program to facilitate sobriety in their guests.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines a Sober Living Home as being “alcohol and drug free living environments for individuals attempting to maintain abstinence from alcohol and drugs.” They typically do no offer formal treatment but often require or strongly encourage attendance to 12-step Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.
A recent study done by the NIH that those who transition from an in-patient treatment center directly back to their lives are much more likely to experience relapse. The study found that a sober living home serves as a bridge from total immersion in treatment to one’s life, which is often an unsupported lifestyle with many reminders of an old life. Furthermore, in 2010, the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment published the results of an exhaustive study on former residents of the best sober living environments. Here, the research also found that those recovering individuals who stayed at a sober living house after rehabilitative treatment were significantly less likely to experience relapse, arrest, and homelessness. The most crucial element to their sobriety was the community of support found at sober living homes.
Also, the best sober living homes serve as a lower cost option while a recovery addict eventually makes his or her way back home. However, they are not a place where an individual sits around all day and plays games. Sober living homes often require involvement in work, school, or an outpatient program and active participation in recovery meetings. In addition to these required tasks, the following are additional endeavors that a recovery addict can engage in to help mend his or her life:
- Look for employment. Often part of the downward spiral of addiction is the loss of a job or the inability to work due to physical, emotional, and psychological impairments. It can be an exciting opportunity to return to the workplace. This can be rewarding in many ways, including the chance for an individual to review his or her particular skills and the opportunity to feel a part of a community.
- Arrange housing. Sometimes, along with employment, the loss of a home was also a part of the damaging ride of addiction. It might have meant the loss of a marriage or the inability to pay the mortgage. Whatever the case, an individual might need to find a place to live after being a guest in a sober living house. Often, the schedule at sober living homes allows for the repairing of life, including finding a job and home.
- Mend fences. Part of the recovery process is healing past relationships. Although the number one relationship to focus on is with oneself, other relationships with friends and family are part of this process. In fact, this is the 8th step of the 12-step program that invites that a person in recovery “makes a list of all persons we had harmed and become willing to make amends to them all”. The next step in the program furthers this with “make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
The path to sobriety can be a challenging one. However, with the right amount of support and the right amount of willingness to face and overcome obstacles, achieving a sober life is possible.
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