Addiction treatment comes in many shapes and sizes. Different forms of treatment address different issues and are most effective to individuals given certain circumstances and limitations. Finding the best treatment to address the issues most prevalent in your own addiction is an important part of getting better – that is why simple twelve step programs or cut-and-dry treatments do not work for everybody. It takes a facility trained on personalized care to develop a unique treatment plan after recovery for a patient.
In the case of sober living, personalized care plays a big role in success. A sober living community combines individualized care with community and long-term support, encouraging patients to join meetings and group activities while providing an environment that allows individuals to explore how they would react to the responsibilities of sober living after recovery.
What Is A Sober Living Community?
In greater detail, a sober living community is a drug-and-alcohol free living environment designed for people who struggle with making a transition from early recovery and addiction treatment, to a sober life. While sober living communities differ in their exact tenets from community to community, they generally exist as private facilities designed to be both a living space and a treatment center to people fighting substance abuse.
Sober living communities take in individuals of all creeds and colors, ages, and genders, and give them a space to coexist, alongside a structure that improves their ability to cope with responsibilities while continuing their addiction treatment and re-integrating into a drug free lifestyle after recovery.
The rulebook differs, but there are a few rules that are generally universal among sober living communities. These often include:
- A strict curfew.
- Limitations on visitors.
- Random drug tests.
- Every member must contribute to the community.
- Each tenant pays rent.
- Every member must work/be in school or look for work/education.
- Tenants are encouraged to engage in activities.
There are specific rules for different sober living facilities. Some have an extensive list of forbidden food items that are known for certain addictive properties. Others forbid certain brands of mouthwash or other items known to contain alcohol. Some sober living communities have a system for distributing mandatory chores, while others simply require that tenants look after their own space.
How A Sober Living Community Affects People
A sober living community is not meant to be punishing, or painful in any way. Instead, it is meant to be a wholesome community experience. Tenants enter of their own volition, specifically seeking a structured life that allows them to work on developing certain habits to more easily transition into sober life after recovery from addiction.
Recovery, in this sense, includes getting clean, going through withdrawal, and surviving the emotional turmoil of early sobriety. While these are arguably the hardest times in addiction treatment, getting clean and sober does not mean staying sober becomes easy. It takes time for a person to mature out of addiction, as the research shows – and there is no definite period that guarantees when that might happen.
Sober living communities give patients an environment that continues to discourage substance abuse and provide a setting without temptation, but they are more intensive in their emphasis on personal responsibility and accountability. They reteach people how to live and look after themselves, granting them the skills they need to be self-sufficient as functioning sober adults in the real world, ready for the challenges of everyday living after recovery.
Building Long-Term Relationships
Beyond helping tenants build a certain skillset, sober living communities have an emphasis on, as the name implies, community. Community plays an important role both in sober living and in leading a normal life outside addiction treatment as the people we surround ourselves with in our daily lives.
Our community should not be strangers – by getting familiar with the people around us, we can be more comfortable within our homes and neighborhoods and build long-lasting relationships with others that extend past mere hospitality and formality, but into friendship.
This helps someone struggling with addiction on multiple levels. For one, it helps give them an outlet to talk about their feelings and listen to those of others. This mutual support can help you feel better about yourself and lessen the burden of certain emotional struggles. It also helps someone fresh out of addiction relearn how to trust people and develop a sense of trust not only in others, but in themselves after recovery.
Trusting oneself, and eventually developing a feeling of self-acceptance is important for addiction treatment. It’s integral to moving past addiction on an emotional level, as you cannot effectively stop feeling tempted by a relapse if you cannot forgive yourself for past mistakes and feel confident that you have learned from them.
By engaging with others in a sober living community, you can learn to help people, learn more about addiction in general and the many perspectives that exist on the topic, and learn more about yourself and your own fight through reflection.
Preparing For Sober Life After Recovery
Sober living communities combine responsibility with treatment to create an environment where tenants are encouraged to develop skills needed in sober life, including managing finances, keeping a regular schedule, managing work and hobbies, and making time for social activities. They help people empower themselves through their actions and embrace new responsibilities.
While a sober living community typically has a very clear-cut schedule, it obviously is not necessary to follow that schedule into your sober life. However, developing a schedule can help especially in early recovery as it limits a person’s boredom and free time, instead allowing them to allot every hour of the day to work, hobbies, and responsibilities. When a relapse draws near, some people find comfort in reverting to old schedules, as a way to fight the urge after recovery.
Changing For A Sober Life
Sober living communities and addiction treatment in general can help prepare you for a fundamental change. There is no going back to how things were before the addiction – but you do have the opportunity to create a new you, and develop a life completely separate from addiction after recovery.
Addiction will take a lot from you – but sober living communities, treatment, and a long-term sober life can help reorient your life after recovery.