Dating in Recovery

Dating in Recovery

Intimate relationships can be beautiful and rewarding. They can also lead us down a path of emotional difficulty, blurred boundaries, and compromised values. The best way to ensure that the dating road you are traveling consists of good experiences is to start out from a good place within yourself.

During initial stages of recovery, our resolution to stay sober is still fragile. Our thoughts are still programmed toward craving the substance, and our emotions tend to be raw. This sober space is typically the time that you will want to do a good amount of self work, including discovering – and addressing – what it is which prompted you toward addictive behaviors, in the first place. The amount of self work required can be enough to make some people put the idea of dating off for awhile. If you are certain that you are in a place of enough stability to bring another person into your personal space, you will want to take the following suggestions into consideration.


Be Honest About Your Recovery

Starting out a relationship with any kind of deception doesn’t bode well. Things that are hidden tend to make their way out into the light, eventually, and can leave the scar of damaged trust for those who were taken unaware. The last thing you will want to do is hide your history of addiction from a person whom you are dating.

While it might not be conversation for a first date, bringing up the fact that you are in recovery needs to happen fairly quickly. Your dating partner might not be open to the idea of dating someone in recovery, and failure to mention it is not fair play.  On the other side of it, he or she might also struggle with addictive behaviors, and failing to mention the topic can allow space for you to be the one unpleasantly surprised. It is much harder for a couple to maintain sobriety than it is for an individual to do it.

One of the ways that people attempt to conceal an addictive past includes making excuses for not partaking. While out at dinner, for instance, such a person will blame the refusal of a drink on stomach problems, having to drive, or feeling too sleepy. If you aren’t ready to tell your dating partner the real reason that you aren’t ordering off of the wine menu, then you probably aren’t ready to date.


Don’t Neglect Self-Care

It is all too easy to lose ourselves in a whirlwind of budding romance. There is no other time in life when we feel more hopeful, more giddy, or more unselfish than while in the embrace of a new love interest. Our thoughts are always of him or her, and we will drop everything on a dime to answer a call or text. While all of this experience is well and good, remember to abstain from losing too much of yourself to the relationship. Lack of healthy boundaries in a relationship can be a relapse pitfall.


Stay in Treatment

It is not uncommon for humans to humbly ask for help when things are bad, and then leave the help behind when we are feeling good. As much as you might be tempted to think that finding the right partner is the answer to all of your problems, do not forsake your recovery treatment steps while dating.  Consider it part of your self-care plan.

Be sure to attend your meetings, do your homework, and continue to strive for those milestones. Your perseverance in finishing this regimen can set the stage for your ability to persevere in future scenarios. Neglecting to see it through to the end can mean setting yourself up for backslide or carelessness. If your dating partner is of the right kind of quality, he or she will understand why some of your time is taken up by the program.


Avoid Triggers

Along with continuing to receive the support of your program and groups, you will want to avoid engaging in triggering scenarios while out on your date. Familiar sights, sounds – and even smells – can cause addiction temptations to rear their ugly heads.

If you have associated your drug or alcohol use with specific venues or activities, don’t sabotage yourself by going into that lion’s den. Find something new and exciting for the both of you to try. If your date suggests going somewhere or doing something that you know will give you a hard time, remember the suggestion regarding being honest about your reasons for declining.

As your dating life is progressing, you may find that it is more than just places and things which produce the temptation to use a substance. You may find that it is your interactions with other people which are the primary trigger. Maintaining a relationship can be tough, and relationship difficulties can be an easy scapegoat for our return to the self-destruction of addiction. Stress arising from low self-esteem, jealousy, arguments, or rejection can become an excuse for relapse.

The triggers don’t always have to accompany negative states of being, either. It may be the case that you realize that your ability to enjoy a healthy time while in a relationship is impaired. You may even find yourself tempted to indulge in drug or alcohol use as a misguided attempt to enhance the existing fun of the relationship. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that it is fine to use while things are good. Seek additional counseling to get to the root of your difficulty with not associating enjoyment with substances.


Take Your Time

Last, but certainly not least, is the admonition to take your time. Nothing of quality is built by a person overnight, and your intimate relationships are no exception. Resist any urges to act impulsively, and give the relationship the space to let the true natures between you and your dating partner come to light. Allowing things to unfold at a natural and steady pace is the best chance of ensuring that the two of you are genuinely compatible, and can mean the difference between making a decision you are proud of, and one you regret.


6 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Sobriety

6 Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Sobriety

Achieving sobriety is no small feat. Regardless of what addiction you struggle with, finding your footing and pushing through past a potentially painful withdrawal period requires equal measures of willpower and physical fortitude.

After that, it’s onto the pains and challenges of early recovery. Once the withdrawal period ends, you may be faced with emotional and psychological trauma, a difficult past, and a series of responsibilities and financial burdens without appropriate or effective coping mechanisms. Even with friends and family members by your side, you may be facing thoughts of self-doubt and guilt, as well as crippling shame over your past.

Some drugs come with painful post-acute withdrawal symptoms, making it even harder to stay sober several weeks after seeking help or giving up drugs. Not to mention the cravings, which have both a physical and a psychological basis for existing, and all the little things that contribute to the stress and hardships of early recovery.

This is a long and hard road, and anyone who has walked it has every right to be proud for how far they have come so far, regardless of how long it took, or how many times they have stumbled. And for those well on their way, it’s important to look back on how things were at the worst of times and appreciate how much they have improved with the choice to go sober.

But ultimately, while it’s important to be proud, it’s also important to recognize that we are never alone in this. Sobriety is achieved through cooperation and compassion, and for this coming Thanksgiving, it pays to think back on your own story of sobriety and feel thankful for the progress you’ve made through your own effort, as well as those around you.


You’re Stronger and Healthier 

One of the best things to be grateful for is a better and stronger body, relative to when you were still addicted. If you’ve chosen exercise as a way to help relieve some stress and stay away from drugs, then you’re on the path to consistently improving yourself and continuously reaping rewards for your sobriety long after initially giving up on drugs – and as time passes, the effects of staying sober continue to pile up, as addiction truly begins to show its effects in old age.


You Will Live Longer 

It’s no secret that heavy drug use can drastically cut into your lifespan, but it’s important not to underestimate the body’s capacity for recovery. While smoking will increase your risk of cancer, quitting cigarettes and nicotine can slowly put you on the path towards physical rehabilitation, with the risk of lung cancer in ex-smokers of 10 years dropping to less than a third of what it is for current smokers.

The same goes for many other substances – while your organs might never completely recover, and some risk remains, being sober and staying healthy can help you live much longer in spite of your past.


You Can Think More Clearly 

Sobriety can help the brain recover from the long-term negative cognitive effects of heavy drug use. Not only does being sober help you improve mentally, it also nets you the ability to start effectively addressing issues that might have developed as a result of addiction, or were previously hidden by the addiction.

By going sober, you can begin seeking out healthier coping mechanisms, getting professional help for mental health issues, and discovering more about yourself without the haze of drug use.


You’ll Have Fewer Legal Troubles

One can argue whether drug use and possession should or shouldn’t be criminalized, given how closely related addiction is to mental illness and poor mental health – but the reality is that drug use correlates to more run-ins with the law, and in a bad way. From DUIs to possession charges, having an addiction can be extremely pricey in more ways than one. Aside from pure financial costs, there’s also the time and stress of being put through the system, as well as the strain that can cause between family members and loved ones.


You Look Better 

Let’s face it – sobriety can do wonders for your complexion. Regardless of what your drug of choice was, heavy drug use takes its toll on your skin, your organs, and your body. Addiction can come with underrating or overeating, and with a host of other poor health choices. Some drugs can lead to obsessive skin-picking, as well as slowed wound healing, and more frequent breakouts. Your hair thins and your teeth suffer under diminished hygiene, the longer an addiction goes on.

Through sobriety, however, you can nurture your skin and body with a balanced diet and better nutrition, you can keep your skin healthy and give it back its natural shine, and you can help your hair get strong and healthy. Not only does sobriety help you be physically attractive, but it also does wonders for your performance – both in and out of bed.


You Can Have a Better Future

Drug use is many things, but it definitely doesn’t lend itself as path towards a long or healthy life. By cutting out addictive drugs and committing fully to sobriety, you create a window for yourself to pursue new goals, grab and maintain employment, secure a career, and even begin helping others walk a similar path.

It’s important never to forget how much of what you’ve achieved in sobriety (and what you have yet to achieve) is a matter of support and love, both the love you have managed to give yourself, and the love you experience from the friends and relatives around you who have continued to support you throughout the recovery process.

Addiction steals many things, not the least of which is time. While you can never have that time back, you can make the most of what time you do have and steer yourself and others away from addiction. Regardless of what your future looks like, it’s likely that it has changed a lot in the time you’ve spent becoming sober, from retaining your employment or landing a new job, to making new friends that support you, while you help support them.

Through sobriety, you can revel in being a part of something greater again – a part of a greater community, and a part of society. You can help others thrive and make better choices and avoid making some of the mistakes you’ve made. You can help others learn through your own experiences and help not only yourself benefit through your stumbles but ensure that they serve a greater purpose for others as well.

Comfort is Important in a Sober Living Home

Comfort is Important in a Sober Living Home - TRC

Some people might look down at the high standard of living typically expected from sober homes and recovery centers, but there’s a reason these facilities strive to be modern and comfortable.

Recovery is not meant to be a spartan effort, and it is both inefficient and ineffective to try and treat someone by confining them to a small or uncomfortable space without anything to do.

Sober living homes and communities exist as exemplary places meant to idyllically represent how great life can be when you’re focused on your own physical and mental well-being.

They’re meant to teach people how to take care of themselves again, introducing them to basic concepts of self-care while maintaining that much of life revolves around fulfilling responsibilities and being accountable to your loved ones, friends, and neighbors.

It’s not so much a reprieve or a vacation as it is a safe yet limited space where people from all backgrounds are expected to find their own preferred lifestyle and level of comfort. Tenants are not expected to take advantage of every single amenity, although they are free to do so.

Most dedicate themselves to a handful of activities, develop routines, experiment from time to time, and spend most of their hours looking for work, taking care of their own space, and attending classes and meetings meant to help teach basic recovery skills.

Part of that means learning how to enjoy and be grateful for sobriety and find ways to prefer it over the alternative (of relapsing and going back to old, self-destructive habits).


You’re Meant to Feel at Home

One common misconception is that addiction treatment needs to be uncomfortable in every aspect.

Recovery is uncomfortable to begin with. By providing more comfort to tenants dealing with substance use disorder, sober living homes and residential treatment clinics are not aiming to ‘pamper’ the tenant or emulate a resort experience, but instead provide an outlook that contradicts every addict’s initial worry that recovery and sobriety suck, and drugs are the only way to deal with that fact.

Many people who use drugs come to find that their reality is less than appealing. Many can’t properly stomach that.

Whether as a result of their substance use or due to conditions prior to getting addicted, it’s not uncommon to hear that a recovering addict goes through a roller coaster of emotions after getting clean, ranging from joy expressed due to being sober, to deep sorrow and anger, guilt and shame.

Dealing with these repressed and festering emotions after months or years of drug use takes time and, quite importantly, a positive outlook.

It’s important to remind people that sobriety can be a good thing, and there are plenty of reasons to stay clean – that ultimately, while this is really hard at first, it does get easier and you can turn your life around and make something of it no matter how long you’ve been struggling.

Making recovering addicts feel at home in a sober living home is a crucial part of that. Comfort is meant to alleviate some of the stress of early recovery and help tenants feel better about the transition into a new sober lifestyle.


This Is Not a Punishment

Some people misconstrue addiction treatment or sobriety with suffering. The point of treatment isn’t to make addicts feel like they’re bad people, and that they deserve to feel bad for what they did. The point of addiction treatment is to treat addiction.

That is, to help people deal with the symptoms of their substance use disorder, to quit relying on drug use to get through the day, and to try and revert the mental and physical consequences of long-term drug abuse.

To that end, comfort is an important part of sober living homes, because one of the core challenges in addiction treatment is helping recovering addicts remain committed to their sobriety.

It’s hard to incentivize against addiction because of the nature of what addiction is – a disease that affects the brain, and as a result, affects a person’s mood, behavior, and thoughts.

Comfortable and fun sober living experiences help addicts shut off the voice of addiction and listen to their healing bodies and healing minds, making it easier to remain committed to recovery, and continue down the path of sobriety.


Sober Living, Not Just Sober Surviving

A person diagnosed with addiction is expected to spend the rest of their life free from drugs, whilst struggling with thoughts, temptations, and occasional cravings, especially in times of great stress or pressure. Staying strong in the face of all that requires a sober life that’s worth more than any high.

And in many cases, addiction treatment programs and sober living homes place great importance on helping people do just that: build up their lives into something significant, giving themselves purpose through responsibilities and accountability, taking on new challenges in the workplace, taking risks emotionally by engaging others in friendships and partnerships, and making personal progress physically and mentally.

It’s sober living, not just sober surviving. That means finding ways to enjoy a sober life. That means getting comfortable in sobriety. And that means understanding that, despite months or years of drug use, there is still a lot to do and accomplish in life, and much fulfillment to be had.


Comfort Isn’t Just Physical

Sober living homes are often tasked with helping people who experience vulnerability not only due to the stigma attached to drug use, but due to other challenges they face, culturally or mentally.

While America has grown much more accepting of people who do not identify as heterosexual and cisgendered, we are still a long way off from tolerance, and LGBTQ+ people are still more likely to deal with mental health problems and drug use, often as a result of feeling persecuted, unaccepted, or harassed.

Sober living homes have a duty to those they house to be safe spaces for all people who struggle with addiction, and the comfort they provide goes beyond pretty views and varied amenities.

The staff at many sober living homes are trained to be welcoming and inclusive, nonjudgmental, and understanding of the cultural and identity differences that exist in America between races and sexual identities.


It’s About a Safe Path to Recovery

Sober living homes present an opportunity for many struggling addicts to see what it’s like to live a healthy sober life. Comfort is an important part of that, on all levels.

But recovery isn’t ever completely comfortable, and it’s still a tough path to embark upon. Sober living homes aim to make that path safer by removing temptation, providing a drug-free space to mature and develop in recovery.

The Trick to Staying Motivated in Sobriety

The Trick to Staying Motivated in Sobriety - Transcend Recovery

Most people who choose to get sober have some sort of motivation driving them to do so. They might feel that their addiction is becoming an existential threat, and they begin to realize their mortality. Or they suddenly realize how the damage they’ve been doing to themselves and others has come to hurt not only them, but the ones they love – something they can’t forgive.

But these thoughts, no matter how powerful they are, don’t last forever. There are very few forms of motivation that are long-lasting, but all motivation is ultimately fleeting – and it needs to be maintained.

But to understand how to keep motivated, it’s important to figure out what motivation even is. How do we motivate ourselves? What factors go into how long we can stay motivated? And what role does motivation have in addiction, a disease that affects portions of the brain directly related to motivation?


How Addiction Affects Motivation

It’s definitely true that it takes a lot of motivation to stay sober. The thing about addiction is that it typically is not something we want to give up.

A person has become ‘addicted’, or affected with a substance use disorder, when their behavior and thinking reflects changes in their mind caused by long-term substance use.

Substances like alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, opioids, and methamphetamine, have long been researched and revealed to interact with the brain in ways that temporarily and permanently change our thinking. Some of the effects of drug use are reversible, and others are not, based on how much of a drug was used, and how severe the drug use was.

This matters because the long-term effects of drug use are reflected in parts of the brain that are dedicated to mood, decision-making, planning, reward, and motivation.

An addiction quite simply means that the brain has been warped into prioritizing the substance above all else – often drastically altering a person’s physical state and behavior over time as a reflection of how their thoughts have become centralized on the high. It begins subtly, but devolves over time, making it more difficult to resist drug use.


Regaining Control in Sobriety

During abstinence, when a person quits using the drug they are addicted to, the brain shifts and readjusts. If caused abruptly (quitting cold turkey), the shift causes withdrawal. Any drug, regardless of whether it is addictive or not, can cause withdrawal symptoms if it is taken often enough.

This is because drugs affect how the brain works, even if they don’t trigger the mechanism that causes dependence and addiction (this is true even for the most benign medications). Abruptly quitting throws the body off its equilibrium, as it has become used to a certain substance in its system.

In drug addiction, withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. A unique symptom in addiction-related withdrawal is the craving, a powerful feeling of longing after the drug due to how the body prioritizes it in order to achieve another high.

Over time, cravings lessen, and the brain begins to heal. Portions of the brain that were directly affected by drug use begin to return to their former self. Some aspects of drug addiction are never truly remedied – some argue that the urge to use never goes away, but simply grows weaker.

Yet in order to withstand the effect that addiction has on the mind, a person must continuously fight their own instincts to use again – they have to go against their own wishes and seek motivation from places outside of their own mind. To an addicted brain, the easiest way to overcome the struggles of sobriety is to just use again.

Treating addiction often means helping an addict recognize this thought process and subvert it, using sobriety as an opportunity to grow and change. In one way, this includes helping recovering addicts create their own motivating factors.


Defining Motivation 

Motivation must be understood as a collection of factors that influence change and behavior. Firstly, it’s important to see that we only truly require motivation when the objective is to change.

It takes more energy to do something differently than it does to follow the status quo – mentally-speaking, motivation is a reason for us to deviate from the norm. During addiction, the continued use of drugs is the status quo – despite its destructiveness, the drug use itself allows a person to ignore the damage it does and focus on the chemical high it provides.

Overriding that requires tremendous motivation because it ultimately goes against a person’s biological wishes – this is supported by the fact that as you combat addiction, you come across physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, and with newfound sobriety comes conflict, guilt, and other negative emotions previously drowned out by repeated drug use.

Rather than finding a single source of motivation, motivation is a system required to facilitate the changes that help shift life from addiction to sobriety.

In the past, motivation was seen to be a prerequisite for treatment. A person had to be motivated to get help. This motivation could only come from them. Motivation was an element that could only be brought to the table by someone who is addicted – they had to be motivated to make changes, motivated to seek help, motivated to survive the day-by-day of withdrawal and sobriety.

But as we learn more about motivation, we understand that it is far more complex than that, and that there are countless social factors that go into helping someone develop and maintain the motivation to do anything. Like all behavior, motivation can be influenced, and it can be caused.


Motivation in Sobriety 

In other words, motivation can be externally developed through support systems, through sober living communities, through group therapy, and so on. It’s not just on someone to motivate themselves – it’s also on those around them to help them stay motivated and become motivated to begin with.

There is no single trick to getting motivated, but there are systems that help induce and maintain the will to continue staying sober and seeking out more sober habits. These include, first and foremost, a system of supportive family members and friends who help a person stay sober by making it easier for them to attend meetings, go to work, find things to do, and stay at sober living homes.

Motivation is also informed by how effective treatment feels, as a person is more motivated to continue being sober when they observe tangible changes in themselves and their lifestyle as a result of the choices they made under the advisement of clinicians, specialists, and friends.

They can also be demotivated as a result of failures incurred by suggestions made through others. In a way, motivation is something that must be maintained by everyone involved in the recovery process.

Different people are motivated by different things. For example, one motivating factor may be the fact that going sober enabled someone to improve their health and finally feel better or overcome a disease they had been struggling with.

It could be that their motivation is tied to the improvements they’ve been able to make in relationships with their family as a result of sobriety. Or, that they still need a motivating factor to stay sober.

Quitting Isn’t the End of Fun – It’s the Beginning!

Quitting Isn't the End of Fun - It's the Beginning! - TRC

It’s becoming increasingly hip to go sober. Today’s generation tends to teetotal far more than the last one, and more are drinking less, and that’s a trend that’s been on the rise since the 90s came and went.

With that, the world has become increasingly tolerant of sobriety, to the point of accommodating and welcoming it even in areas of life that have been traditionally boozy, like the beverage market and nightlife market. More and more brands are investing in non-alcoholic goods – and you know that when massive corporations are pushing it, it’s gotten very popular.

Yet profitability aside, the newly sober market has also helped revitalize countless industries that simply make it their goal to entertain and provide spaces for drug-free fun.

Sobriety isn’t the beginning of something boring – it’s the first step towards the most exciting time of your life.


Sober People Have Way More Fun 

When your life is dominated by drugs and alcohol, a lot of what you do revolves around the two. When addicted, an addict’s time is spent either high or seeking to be high, and that doesn’t leave much room for anything else.

Going sober isn’t a life sentence dooming you to spend an eternity struggling with immeasurable boredom, it’s a key to escaping Plato’s cave. Plenty of people who spent their teens getting sloshed don’t realize how much you can get done in the average 16-18-hour window that a given waking day is comprised of.

Sobriety gives you the ability to peer over the edge of the beer glass and see all there is to see, do all there is to do, and experience feelings outside of the spectrum of withdrawal and dependence.


Sensing Life Clearly

Some simple examples include visiting an excellent restaurant featuring a cuisine you had never tried before. Your mouth will be bombarded with tastes you hadn’t ever come to expect, let alone experience. You’ll feel bewildered yet, hopefully, intrigued. For the first time in a while, for most, you’ll have the opportunity to fully understand what it means to taste something.

You can do the same for every other sense. Sobriety offers you clarity, and the ability to perceive things on a level that simply isn’t possible when you’re completely reliant on drugs.

There’s something to be said for the possibilities of elevation offered by hallucinogens and other substances, but when you spend most of your waking life stuck in a cycle of terror and numbness, there’s no room for clarity or contemplation. Sobriety offers you the chance to cleanse your palate and taste again – in every sense.

Other things you can do include feeling your body. The endorphins released during exercise not only make you feel accomplished, but when paired with an activity you actually enjoy, you begin to experience life-changing joy at the prospect of hiking up a new trail, breaking a personal endurance record, or lifting a weight that was unthinkable just a few months earlier.


Be Creative

Sobriety offers you the chance to reflect on paper or canvas and express yourself. Some people are born to do a certain kind of creative work, but we’re all creative in our own way. It just takes time to discover the right medium.

It doesn’t have to be print or paint – you can express yourself by dressing in new ways, by composing music, by singing, by rapping, by dancing, or by tagging.

There’s joy to be found in cooperative play, from family games to mini-golf – and there’s joy to be found in fierce competition, especially when you discover within yourself the maturity to own up to a loss and come back even stronger.

Sobriety lets you feel life properly, without the filter that persistent drug use places over every emotion and feeling. When you’re consistently drunk or high, every day starts to feel the same and things begin to blend together. The challenge in sobriety is avoiding that stagnation, but unlike addiction, your opportunities to change it up are far more varied and realistic.


You Get to Remember What You Did

There’s something to be said for the fact that being sober generally means being healthier than when you’re addicted. This, of course, isn’t always the case. Some make the mistake of turning to other maladaptive coping strategies after quitting booze, drugs, or smokes – and instead they pack on weight through a newly-discovered love of sweets and salts.

But if your recovery helped you adopt a healthier lifestyle, then you’ll begin to reap the many mental benefits that kind of healthy living offers, from a lack of brain fog to quicker, better memory. And that memory is something special. How much can you recall your wildest bender? How much do you actually want to recall?

The ability to think back and reminisce is not just a great way to hold fond memories closer to our heart, but it’s critical to personal growth. We can only learn from the mistakes we make when they’re irrevocably burnt into our minds.

While some things never let go, no matter how hammered you were, there’s a lot we might not remember doing or saying after being too far gone. And the things we do and say when under the influence can be exceptionally hurtful.

It’s hard to forgive yourself or feel accountable for your actions when so much bad behavior is centered around an addiction, so going sober is an important step in the journey to convincing yourself that you’re still capable of being a better person.


Life Is Best Lived Sober 

There are plenty of arguments to make in favor of sobriety, especially when it comes to emotional, mental, and physical well-being. But one thing that’s always important is to remember that sobriety only offers the freedom to seek levity and happiness, and it’ll never guarantee it. Meanwhile, an addiction is sure to rob you of the ability to be happy.

One is definitively better than the other, but there’s still a lot that goes into making a sober life work for you. It won’t be fun at first, and it’ll take some getting used to. One good idea is to begin surrounding yourself with plenty of sober friends and getting into as many sober activities as you have time for.

People can have fun in the strangest of ways, and you might find yourself enjoying things you hadn’t even considered in the past.

Is a Sober Living Community Necessary?

Is A Sober Living Community Necessary

A sober living community often helps people become more comfortable with their sobriety without the threat of relapse. Because these communities have no real limit on how long a tenant can stay – so long as they respect the rules – it doesn’t matter how long it takes someone to get set up.

But does that mean sober living is necessary for long-term sobriety? That depends. The numbers show that some people get addicted, and subsequently overcome that addiction without rehab. Others who overcome addiction do so after treatment. Some feel trapped in their addiction, unable to stop relapsing.

Sober living homes and communities exist to give anyone who needs it the space to work on their sobriety without fear of relapse – and for some, that is absolutely necessary for lasting sobriety.


Sometimes It Is

Sober living communities exist as an alternative to inpatient and outpatient treatment, for people looking for something that better suits their needs by offering greater flexibility while maintaining a strict ruleset, and guaranteed access to other tenants with experience in struggling with addiction.

Through social events, on-site therapy, and a myriad of shared activities, sober living homes aim to help tenants come together and talk about joint experiences and unique perspectives alike.

There’s more to recovery than just talk, but a supportive environment can go a long way. Sober living homes also aim to prepare recovering addicts for the challenges that lay ahead, mandating steady employment or a job search, dividing chores and responsibilities among tenants, and working with them to help find ways to combat stress without turning to old habits.


Treatment is More Than Necessity

You need more than the bare minimum to get you through an addiction. Because addiction is often chronic and can change the way the brain responds to rational thoughts and ‘normal’ stimuli, treatment necessitates a long and extended break from drug use and a lifestyle that prioritizes healthier coping mechanisms and frequent introspection.

It’s difficult to implement these changes without the help of supportive loved ones who can keep you from your old habits, and experienced professionals who can help guide you towards a new way of thinking.

Simply quitting is not always an option, and while some do successfully walk away from their drug use, most fall back into it and begin a vicious cycle, fueled by the fear that they’ll never truly overcome their mistakes.

There’s more to drug treatment than doing just the bare minimum. Like other illnesses, it’s important to get a comprehensive and quality treatment. Sober living communities can be a part of that.


The Challenges of Tackling Addiction Alone

With others, you have a shoulder to lean on, an ear to speak into, eyes to meet your own. With others, you can create a support network to catch you when you fall. Safety and security are important in recovery, because nothing is guaranteed – least of all a swift recovery.

Alone, however, everything becomes exponentially harder. It’s good to be self-sufficient, but we’re ultimately social animals and rely on each other to thrive.

Instead of feeling worried about accepting the help of those around you, consider how you might repay them in the future through acts of gratitude, once you feel better.


Sober Living Communities and Long-Term Sobriety 

Sober living communities excel at helping recovering addicts form the necessary toolkit to achieve long-term sobriety, by creating an environment conducive to recovery while prioritizing the development of better coping skills and stress management.

Life is filled with challenges, and an addiction can leave someone defenseless to many of life’s greatest stressors. It takes time for a person to heal and develop the right defenses for combatting life’s challenges without the risk of relapse. Some of the ways sober living communities help recovering addicts develop their skills is through in-house amenities and an emphasis on embracing new hobbies and trying out new activities.

Through forging new friendships, mending broken relationships, and discovering new reasons to live, recovering addicts can fill in the blanks in their new sober life and continuously grow the list of reasons to keep staying clean.

Sober living communities are also excellent places to turn to after a relapse. When a recovering addict feels the need to refresh their recovery and spend a few days in a safe place away from temptation, sober living homes become a great option. Rather than focusing on first-timers or set programs, their flexibility makes them a viable part of the recovery process at any stage or level.


Progress at Your Own Pace

There is no set timeline for recovery. Some place special importance on certain milestones, such as six-month sobriety, one-year sobriety, or the end of a mandatory rehab sentence. But given how unique every person’s journey is, these dates are virtually meaningless.

It’s important to understand that you’re going to progress at your own pace, which may be faster than others, or slower than others – and that that is fine. It’s also important to set milestones for yourself that are based on achievements rather than a test of endurance, such as:

  • Your first date
  • Your first new job
  • Your first breakthrough at therapy
  • Your first week without withdrawal symptoms
  • Your first week feeling physically good
  • Your first personal goal achieved
  • And so on.

Sober living homes exemplify the importance of making progress at your own pace by cutting out the need for programs or recovery timelines. One thing many lack in recovery is patience and understanding, not for others, but for themselves. It’s easy to be hard on yourself and feel terrible about the things you’ve done and the pace you’re progressing at, but these feelings only tend to feed the urge to get back to old habits, restarting the cycle.

As hard as it is, you have to find ways to forgive yourself for your mistakes, take pride in the things you’ve already accomplished, and always move forward with your eyes on the next milestone, rather than dwelling on the pain you’ve caused yourself before.

A sober living community isn’t necessary for a healthy or fulfilling recovery process. But it sure makes things a lot easier. Whether or not it may be necessary for you is something only you can decide.


Don’t Let Peer Pressure Impact Your Sobriety

Don't Let Peer Preassure Impact Your Sobriety

Humans are social animals, for better and for worse. While we’d like to think that our behavior is largely dictated by our own wants and desires, the truth is often much more complex, and far less in favor of self-determinism – much of what we do is pre-programmed, especially when it involves groups.

Whenever we’re with friends, we’re much more likely to fall prey to ‘groupthink’, and that reflects not only on our thoughts, but on our actions and behavior as well.

However, all that isn’t set in stone. By being aware of how others can influence our actions, we can take charge and avoid the common trap of peer pressure.

There’s a reason it’s heavily recommended to surround yourself with other sober people when investing in sobriety. We’re more likely to stick to our ideals and principles when we’re not alone in defending them and being part of a group of sober people struggling to stay clean and work through recovery allows us to take solace in the fact that we’re not fighting against addiction alone.

But when we’re surrounded by drinking, staying sober can be a serious challenge. Nevertheless, there are ways to overcome peer pressure and remain true to your principles.


Why is Peer Pressure so Effective?

Peer pressure affects individuals at all ages. Kids and teens are most at risk of falling prey to peer pressure, as we will examine later, but even adults can find themselves unwittingly doing or thinking things they might not have done or thought alone or in a different group.

To understand peer pressure, reformulate it first as influence. Individuals can influence other individuals, just as groups influence groups. Influence is inescapable, and it rears its head in our fashion choices, music tastes, beauty standards, and even our partner choices.

Whether knowingly or unknowingly, the opinions of others hold sway over our own thoughts and choices.

And this begins in the earliest years of social behavior, when children first begin to interact with one another and define what is alright and not alright. A simple example would be how peer pressure can affect a child’s self-esteem and appearance.

An outfit a child might have picked themselves would never be picked again due to experiences with bullying and ridicule. This has long-term ramifications, affecting how the child dresses and views themselves.

In adults, the pressure to conform in certain ways might express itself in brand choices, the choice to lose weight, avoid certain speech patterns, or otherwise make changes in order to avoid ridicule or to avoid being conspicuous.

As an antidote to that, it’s only an individual’s own confidence levels that determine how far they are able to resist peer pressure and remain confident in the validity of their own thoughts and choices.

In addiction, peer pressure and influence is extremely potent because it’s so easy to erode confidence in one’s own sobriety. This is because the nature of addiction itself makes it difficult to stay clean.

For the first few months, your own brain continues to crave a drink, and it feels as though you have to continuously wrestle with your own thoughts to remain sober. Add onto that the feeling that refusing to drink causes you to go heavily against the grain and draw criticism, and it becomes very difficult to say no under certain circumstances.


Teens Have a Harder Time with Peer Pressure

While peer pressure affects adults as well, it’s far more pronounced in teens. Teens generally lack the self-confidence that comes with adulthood, and they lack self-determination on account of not quite being sure who they are. Teens define themselves not on account of their own choices and individual characteristics, but on account of how others see them, and where they happen to fit in.

As such, many teens are desperate to fit in in any way possible, even if it means doing something questionable for the respect and approval of others. The pursuit of status is far stronger in teens than other age groups – and that’s embedded in the teen brain itself.

This is because while adults are inhibited by a fully-developed brain with the ability to easily recognize and calculate risk – as well as a treasure trove of negative experiences from which to draw a reasonable expectation of consequence – teens are more likely to do something without really thinking about how it might affect them in the long-term.

In other words, teens not only ignore risk, but often don’t even recognize that it exists in the heat of the moment – especially if the reward (status) is very appealing. That is why experimenting with drugs is more common among teens than adults – they’re less likely to worry about drug tests at work, drug use reflecting poorly on their record, getting caught with illicit drugs, or incurring the wrath of their parents.

Teens who have given up drugs and drinking thus have a lot of work cut out for them. To truly avoid peer pressure, they must become confident in their choice to stay clean, which takes both a lot of willpower and a lot of time spent among other sober people.


Why Are People Bothered by Sobriety?

In some cases, refusing to grab a drink can incur a negative reaction. If you’ve ever told a friend you’re not drinking, you might have noticed that, rather than being accepting or indifferent, they might become defensive instead, ridiculing you for your choice to stay sober.

While this isn’t a given, some people are far more sensitive about being told no than others. In part, this is because refusing to give into peer pressure around drinking may, in fact, reflect poorly on the choices others have made on the topic of their own drinking habits. Negative reactions to non-drinkers are not uncommon, as research shows it happens cross-culturally and has more to do with unwittingly forcing others to confront their own choices rather than any specific cultural influence.


Learn to Say No

The key to avoiding the effects of peer pressure is to either avoid being asked about your drinking, or simply being confident in your ability to refuse a drink.

Don’t go to social gatherings sure to involve alcohol if you aren’t confident that you can say no. Have a plan to always have a non-alcoholic drink in hand.

Go with a sober friend, so you’re sure to have someone to bail you out if things get awkward. And, sometimes, just saying no can do the trick.

Finding A Purpose in Your Sober Life

Finding Purpose in Sober Life

It may be an understatement to say that an addiction can leave a void in someone’s life. When going sober, one of the greatest challenges is figuring out what to do next – and not being paralyzed by the sheer choice of it all.

In many cases, people do one of two things: get stuck, procrastinating all the things they know or feel they should be doing, or dive headfirst into something with reckless abandon, making great progress only to burn out and crash with no reliable safety net in place.

It may be wise to take a more cautious approach to figuring life out after addiction, beginning with the obvious: what does one need?

We all need to work to support ourselves, for one – but we also need friends who support us along the way, and interests we can indulge in to relax, grow, and enjoy life.

In a way, each of these things give us purpose. And in that sense, it’s important to note that a person can (and should) have more than one purpose.

You can be a parent and a professional. You can be an expert in one thing and a novice in another. The roles we embrace in life are what help give our lives meaning, shaping who we are in our own minds and giving us a better and healthier sense of self. These roles help us fill that void in a way drugs never would have, and never will.


Why Purpose is Important

One of the ways in which an addiction can take a life is by completely unraveling it, and often ripping away everything the average person holds dear: family, friends, home, hobbies, and – in the darkest moments – the will to live.

When an addiction is treated, part of that treatment involves helping a person separate themselves from the thoughts they held while addicted, including thoughts of self-deprecation and self-harm.

They learn to associate new things with themselves, by building up the courage to try new things, indulge in old hobbies, and rediscover themselves.

That discovery and rediscovery of the self must go on for much longer than just the first few months of recovery, as it is critical for long-term recovery.

By giving yourself the chance to redefine who you are and take another stab at life – knowing that mistakes will be made and the road ahead will be challenging – you learn to make the critical decision to live on and grow despite the hell that an addiction can put you through.

By working to learn more about your roles in life – your purpose – you embrace sobriety as another chance at living and set aside addiction. That doesn’t make it go away, of course – the urge to use again lives inside every recovering addict, and a person doesn’t just forget what it felt like to be high.

Addiction settles itself in the brain, and it doesn’t take much to be reminded of how good it feels to use. Which is why it takes a lot to set that aside for sobriety.


Do What Interests You

The gist of finding new purposes in sobriety is to do what interests you. Seek out a job in a field you enjoy or are passionate about. Or continue to work to support yourself but take every chance to make a living out of what truly interests you.

Set aside a little time here and there for your own welfare, to take care of your mental needs. Go to therapy. Listen to music or make your own. Play some games. Hang out with friends. Keep in touch with those who matter to you and cut ties with those who hurt you. Use sobriety as the chance to explore what it means to you to be happy.


Striking a Balance

The most challenging part of finding things you love to do in addiction is learning to strike a balance between them and your daily responsibilities. Just as it isn’t mentally or physically healthy to be addicted to a drug, it isn’t mentally or physically healthy to be completely obsessed with any one aspect of your life.

There’s a difference between having a hobby and spending every available second devoted to your own interests. There’s a difference between having a healthy social life and doing nothing of interest outside of work and social engagements. And there’s a difference between having a healthy relationship with your work and being completely married to it.

We all need balance, but there’s a special benefit to seeking out a balanced way of life when recovering from addiction: it helps you better manage your cravings and eliminates a lot of the stress and frustration sourced from focusing too intensely on just one aspect of your life.

While it’s good to be gung-ho about something other than drug use when coming out of an addiction, there’s much to be gained from employing sensible moderation.

For people with a great interest in physical pursuits, it pays to remember that a lack of recovery does not only lead to diminishing gains but can cause injury.

For those entirely enamored in their life’s work and their new careers, it’s also important to note that when the high of an accomplishment wears off, what’s left is the company we keep. Loneliness is a terrible thing, and there’s more to fostering a genuine friendship with another human being than nurturing a workplace relationship.

It’s important to note that we do not advocate for social lives led simply under the pretense that it’s normal, and thus good, to lead rich and colorful social lives with plenty of friends.

How many friends we have and how we interact with them is entirely up to individual preference, yet it’s important to have friends you can be sober with. Go out as often as you’re comfortable, or not at all – invite your friends over, instead. Plan exotic getaways or a cozy night at home with some games and food. Do more than ever, or as little as possible. Just find people that mesh with you, share your interests, and accept your faults.

For every person more likely to take a passion to the extreme, there are a series of issues that might come back to haunt them later, fueling a potential relapse. To avoid falling back into old habits, it’s important to remember that passion and obsession are separate things. Pursue your purpose, but don’t forget to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and socially.

Is It Possible to Find a Luxury Setting for Sober Living & Recovery?

Luxury setting for Sober Living

When most people think about drug recovery and sober living, thoughts of luxury are very unlikely to enter their minds. We think of drug addiction treatment of something gritty and unpleasant, as individuals spend hours locked in dingy rooms desperately battling their own demons while taking a series of pills to combat the nausea and the headaches caused by severe withdrawal symptoms. Some might think of a circle of addicts seated together in a rented basement, Naloxone posters and anti-smoking ads lining the walls as a therapist talks to the round encouraging others to share their story and discuss their experiences.

But the truth is that addiction recovery is extremely varied and exists in many forms. Some stories of recovery unfortunately begin in an overnight jail cell, before moving to the courtroom, followed by a mandated stay at a local rehab facility. Other stories don’t involve a residential stay of any kind, instead involving the struggles of a single parent as they try to make their weekly outpatient meetings after successful rehab. And some have the option of choosing their own path toward long-term sobriety, only to be met with an overwhelming amount of choices.

In the state of California in particular, rehab has grown into a sizeable industry over the decades, giving residents a wide variety of potential settings for sober living homes. The challenge lies in finding the right sober living home.


What is Sober Living?

Sober living wouldn’t be described as luxurious in most cases, but luxury sober living homes have been a successful model for relapse prevention and addiction rehabilitation for years. Like any person, an addict doesn’t respond well to horrible conditions – besting an addiction means working with an addict to develop strategies that are most effective for them, whether that means using sports to overcome cravings, helping an addict focus on their career to stop their addiction, or supporting their talents as an artist to motivate them to stay sober in the long-term and pursue their own potential. By working with addicts to bring out the best in themselves, sober living homes help them develop their own unique skillset to avoiding relapse and maintaining sobriety.

Sober living homes differentiate themselves from usual rehab centers by avoiding programs, instead giving residents a space of their own, a weekly schedule, common chores, and a set of rules – which often include a strict curfew and mandatory job searching/employment. This barebones concept serves to help recovering addicts better themselves, communicating with their tenants and developing tools for sobriety in an environment that is devoid of drug-related temptation and violence, yet otherwise quite normal.

This lends itself well to the “luxury setting”, although many misunderstand what this means. Luxury drug recovery isn’t about gold plating and alcohol-free champagne – it’s better staff-to-patient ratios, more amenities, greater freedoms, better access to nature, a wide range of experts to counsel with, and an approach specifically built according to the latest in addiction treatment, offering flexibility, multimodal treatment, and long-term care through relapse prevention and resources aimed at helping former residents stay in touch and support each other for continued recovery outside of the sober living home.


Does a Luxury Setting Make a Difference? 

It most certainly does. For one, luxury settings set themselves apart by investing solely in what benefits the resident. Luxury sober living homes and high-end rehab facilities work to offer every viable approach to addiction recovery by working with some or all of personal trainers, meditation experts, dietitians, reputable and experienced psychiatrists, therapy pets, and/or other professionals to help recovering addicts discover an approach that elicits the most progress.

A “luxury setting” can often also mean offering what many might consider a basic right, such as increased privacy, the right to proper gender-specific treatment, the right to addressing an addiction not in a vacuum but in the context of an addict’s other circumstances and issues, ranging from other mental illnesses to experiences with stigma, family problems, and more.

Aftercare is another hallmark of luxury sober living and rehab, as luxury sober living homes have the ability to continue to care for their patients after they’ve left by helping them work on sustaining their long-term mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as regularly following up through online and physical correspondence to see how former residents are doing on their own.

A luxury setting isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as addiction treatment never is. But for many addicts, it’s exactly what they need. The name can be a bit of a misnomer – while a “luxury setting” implies privilege and unnecessity, many of the services almost exclusively offered through luxury rehab are in fact necessary in the treatment of addiction. A basic right to privacy, a reasonable staff and patient ratio, high-quality aftercare, as well as addiction treatment in accordance with the latest in research – while luxury sober living homes and rehab facilities are often very well-decorated and picturesque, it’s these vital services that set them apart from the bulk of other facilities.


Luxury Rehab Still Isn’t Easy 

Luxurious or not, rehab is always hard. While addiction can be accurately described as a brain disease, it’s very important to discuss what this means. Some might misunderstand that addicts are in any way predestined to become addicted – it’s much more accurate to describe addiction as something that has the potential to occur in anybody, but that certain circumstances and factors make it more likely, and every case of addiction occurs due to a unique series of triggering factors linked to a person’s upbringing, experiences, mental state, suggestibility, and more.

This is important because it illustrates that addiction is something that can affect us all, and when someone does become addicted, they struggle with a disorder that at times feels more powerful than they are. While luxurious amenities provide addicts with a greater variety of options in treatment, rehab is still rehab. An addict must effectively go against their own will, avoiding temptation and deliberately ignoring powerful cravings. Many addicts have forgotten how to deal with stress without turning to drugs, requiring a whole host of new tools and abilities. That too requires time and practice.

It’s hard work to overturn an addiction, and while luxury rehab and sober living can make the initial stages much easier through better treatment, the bulk of the work still relies on the will and initiative of the recovering addict maintaining the lifestyle changes made during recovery, as well as the love and support of family and friends who are there to help out when willpower alone isn’t enough.


How Does A Men’s Sober Living Contribute to Your Recovery?

How A Men's Sober Living Contributes to Recovery - Transcend Recovery

Addiction recovery treatment exists in many forms, from rehab clinics and treatment centers to sober living homes and 12-step communities. Some clinics offer outpatient programs while others specialize in residential treatment, offering both a path to sobriety and a temporary home for addicts who need another chance at life.

But in all its forms, addiction recovery faces the question: treat addicts together, or separately? While most centers and clinics specialize in both group therapy and individual treatment, the question pertains specifically to gender – some clinics do co-ed programs, while others specially tailor their offerings to men or women.

There’s good reason for that, as much research as gone to show. While we strive for a better, more equal world, where women can explore the same opportunities afforded to men and men don’t have to shoulder the entirety of the burden usually reserved for the male sex, it’s also a fundamental truth that men and women are different, and experience addiction very differently. Addiction both occurs differently for men than it does for women, and the effects of treatment are observably different in women than they are in men.

By embracing these facts and learning more through them, single-sex treatment facilities aim to provide a better experience to thousands of addicts across the country seeking help for their affliction.

To understand how a men’s sober living community can contribute to a man’s recovery, it’s important to understand the differences between men and women in all things addictive.


Men and Women Struggle Differently 

Men are more likely to use drugs. Women are more likely to get addicted to their drug use. Men are twice as likely to be addicts due to higher rates of use and availability, but drugs affect women more strongly, and they’re at greater risk for relapse following abstinence. While men are likely to consume, women have a harder time with quitting.

Research into the effects of opioids, alcohol, and nicotine in men and women revealed differences possibly linked to sex hormones and physical differences between men and women, further giving insight into the necessary differences between treating addicted men and addicted women.

Some of the concrete differences between men and women in recovery and risk of relapse include the facts that women are more likely to suffer overdose deaths and physical side effects, while men experience more intense withdrawal symptoms. Men on average have longer periods of abstinence before a relapse, while women report more intense cravings.

Sociological differences exist as well, supporting the argument for gender-specific rehab as many examples of drug use among women stem from problems created by men, ranging from domestic abuse and violence to an addicted partner, and more.


The Downsides of Co-Ed Rehab

While coed rehab can treat all human equally, addiction treatment requires a more individualized approach. Women are more likely to self-medicate for pain and anxiety, conditions they experience more often than men. Their reasons for taking drugs often overlap with other women, but not with men. Meanwhile, men face certain challenges that women do not, including higher death rates.

Female-only camaraderie and male-only camaraderie exists and can be harnessed positively to help countless recovering addicts overcome their past shortcomings and look forward optimistically to a brighter future.

Furthermore, co-ed rehab presents the possibility of romance between members of the opposite sex, a temptation that can easily derail an otherwise successful journey towards long-term sobriety, as new relationships formed during such volatile periods of self-discovery and healing often end dramatically and painfully, and quite suddenly.

Co-ed rehab better prepares individuals for interactions with both sexes out in the normal world. But men’s sober living can better help men who feel uncomfortable seeking treatment alongside women, either because they fear that they might grow attached to someone, or because they feel that a more gender-specific approach might help them better address their concerns in recovery, in ways that would not be possible in a co-ed environment.


Life Isn’t Gender-Specific

Same sex sober living homes aren’t designed to replicate all the challenges and temptations of life. However, gender-specific sober living still aims specifically to arm individuals with the tools and skills necessary to nurture and maintain sobriety outside of the context of recovery.

What sets sober living homes apart from other forms of addiction treatment is an attempt to ease addicts into tackling normal everyday responsibilities, from staying clean to maintaining employment, upholding social obligations, seeking out healthier ways to cope with stress and have fun, as well as learn how to deal with life’s curve balls without turning to drugs.

But life outside of sober living homes is still very different from life within the walls of sober living. Despite all the preparation, nothing truly prepares someone for the temptation of being out and about again, completely free to meet up with old friends and start using again.

It’s at that point that a recovering addict must muster all of their willpower and recall every lesson they have ever learned on the subject of recovery to stay clean. The same goes for the opposite sex. Most experts suggest staying away from new romantic relationships for at least a year of recovery, in order to cement one’s newfound sobriety before endangering it through potential heartbreak and rejection.

That doesn’t mean it’s forbidden to fail – if a recovering addict finds themselves spiraling out of control, the best course of action to take is to go straight back to recovery, starting not at square one, but at an entirely new junction in their long-term journey against addiction.


Men’s Sober Living and Homosexuality 

One point made earlier in this article specifically talks about the difficulties of potentially entertaining a romantic bond in mixed sex treatment, and the tension that comes with being treated alongside the opposite sex.

However, men’s sober living has also become a haven for many homosexual addicts looking for a safe place to recover and seek treatment when LGBT-specific options were unavailable. While attracted to the same sex, the other benefits of a male-only treatment center still apply to homosexual men.

Being homosexual, transsexual, or otherwise non-heterosexual puts one at far greater risk of experiencing discrimination, stigma, ostracization, and other factors that heavily contribute and often lead to the development of an addiction to drugs. Society has slowly come to accept homosexuality, but not fully. Like many other minorities, gay men are still made to feel abnormal in many circumstances. This is only amplified when one is addicted, as all negative experiences are.

Men’s sober living provides a safe place for men from all backgrounds and sexualities to seek treatment for their addiction, and tackle sobriety at their own pace. In time, every individual seeking treatment will find their own path towards long-lasting recovery, regardless of the obstacles and pitfalls along the way. Sober living homes are dedicated towards providing the right environment to make that dream a reality.