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.