The path to recovery typically goes something like this: you start off with the understanding that you’re an addict and the solemn resignation that you’ve got a lot ahead of you. Then, you either quit on your own or get help in quitting through the form or rehab.
Once the initial withdrawal stage is survived, you’re not quite out of the woods yet if relapse rates are any indication. So, the next stage is the long-term one – the recovery, joining the world once again with the mission to keep off the stuff and stick to a sober life.
But many of us fail to exit rehab or come off a withdrawal phase without feeling the inner need to use again. And there are a few possible reasons why:
- Addiction helps mask deeper issues. These issues come to light in full force after rehabilitation, which can be hard to swallow.
- Adjusting to life without drugs can be a tough experience, to say the least. There are a lot of changes to be made, few of them being pleasant.
- Your mind is still fragile, short-tempered and at times unfocused. It can be hard to think clearly or focus on the present, and instead you wander and worry and find excuses to take the edge off.
- You’re alone, in a way – especially if you’ve cut contact with anyone from your addict life while talking mostly to friends and family who don’t know what it’s like to be addicted.
- Long-term therapy options like group therapy or the 12-step meetings just aren’t doing it for you, and you wonder if there’s any way you can keep yourself on the saddle.
There are a handful of possible reasons why staying sober can be an incredible challenge, especially when you feel alone in your quest to maintain sobriety – which is why sober living facilities exist to help you cement your understanding and discipline towards remaining clean.
What Is Sober Living?
This isn’t boot camp – and it also isn’t group therapy. Sober living houses or sober living centers are special living quarters designed for people out of rehab, looking for a way to feel more secure in their sobriety before rejoining the general population. Life out in the “real world” can be incredibly frustrating and a little scary straight out of rehab, even with the support of friends and family. Sober living is both a philosophy and a treatment model that helps prepare you for that life. Typically, sober living homes offer either:
- Coed Sober Living: Coed or coeducational sober living drives home the point about what sober living ultimately is: a learning experience. Coed houses exist for both men and women to live together in a drug-free, prejudice-free environment built to promote sobriety and nothing but. Again, sobriety is a personal journey – but living among others and forging a bond between comrades can help strengthen you in your pursuit of total recovery, by giving you the chance to live and improve alongside motivational and highly motivated individuals.
- Men’s Sober Living: Some men feel uncomfortable sharing a sober living space with women, perhaps because they don’t want to risk any attraction or romantic attachments, or perhaps because they’re just a lot more comfortable making new friends with other men. On the other hand, addiction works differently with men than it does with women. Research shows that men are more prone to addiction – and progress (and recover) through addiction differently.
- Women’s Sober Living: Conversely, women are often on a different path when it comes to addiction. Many women are introduced to drugs through intimate relationships with men – and drugs have a different effect on them, reporting greater severity of addiction-related issues (including anxiety and depression). If you wish to tackle your sobriety in an environment that better understands your circumstances, and around other women, then that option is often open to you.
Rehab Isn’t Recovery
Rehabilitation is the process of combining detoxification and withdrawal with the beginning mechanics to aid on your path to long-term sobriety – but as any rehab facility would tell you, rehab is only a single complex step. It’s a massive cliché, but recovery is a life-long journey.
That doesn’t make it arduous, or all-consuming. It’s simply a part of you – rehab is the first step towards instilling within you a drive to truly improve, on a regular and continuous basis.
Sober Living Will Change You
Sober living is an extended tool to help you by giving you more information, and a better hold over your future. Out of rehab, and unsure how to deal with the world? You’re not alone. If group therapy isn’t enough, a sober living home can teach you to take what you learned, and apply in the long-term.
The Key to Long-Term Sobriety
The key to long-term sobriety is that there isn’t one we can give you. Don’t believe the fancy shortcuts or highly-guarded secrets, or any money-making schemes that aim to teach you the one thing you need to beat your addiction.
There is no one thing. It’s a journey – it’s always a journey. However, we all have that personal source of motivation. It’s not anything anyone can point out to you – you just discover it and keep your eyes on it. Is it your career? Your family? Your dignity? Find what you need, and hold onto it for dear life.
Walk Your Path Now
We could’ve told you to take your first steps now, but the truth is that, in a way, our first steps are long behind us. If you’re an adult facing the difficulties of recovering from addiction, then there’s a good chance you’ve had your fair share of humbling experiences, horrible days, and enlightening moments.
Don’t worry about starting down a new path – you’ve been walking a path all your life, and it’s up to you to determine where it leads. Just keep on forging ahead, never forgetting the promise you’re making to yourself by working on your sobriety.
We don’t need to tell you it won’t be easy because you know that. If you’ve recently relapsed or are feeling the urge to start using again, then a sober living facility isn’t just some prison for you to enter for the sake of abstinence – it’s a place for you to renew your spirit and light up the fires within to keep you going on the straight and narrow. Learn how to avoid and replace your addiction, make new friends – perhaps even friends for life – and find your own inner reason to quit for good and stay sober.