Sober living facilities were first established on the West Coast, and they were safe and drug free environments for those individuals new to sobriety. They were a place to make the transition from a drinking and drug-using life to sober living.
By residing in a drug free environment, men and women can receive support from other residents. This live-in support system was designed to help individuals new to recovery participate in therapeutic, occupational, and academic groups while also giving them a sober community to come home to.
In the beginning, sober living homes only served an older population of men and women. Historically, teens with addictions to alcohol or drugs attended treatment programs that had a boot camp like style with confrontational methods that were meant to break down the attitudes and defense mechanisms of these teens. It wasn’t until the 1950’s where clinicians began to recognize the behaviors of teens with addiction were different than those of adults and that they deserved different treatment methods. In fact, with this recognition, the first adolescent treatment center opened in 1952 with Riverside Hospital in New York City.
However, it took some time for the rest of the country to follow in New York’s footsteps. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that adult and adolescent sober living homes were completely made separate across the country. Treatment centers specifically for teens grew more rapidly in the 1980’s through the 1990’s due to increasing research that addictions in teens warrant different treatment.
For example, research indicates that adolescents with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) have higher rates of binge use, higher rates of a co-occurring illness, are more susceptible to peer influence, and are highly focused on immediate concerns. Today, this is considered and incorporated into a teen’s plan for treating the addiction.
It’s true that up until recently, the treatment options for teens with substance abuse diagnoses were not good. In fact, according to an October 2011 article in a psychiatric journal, these options made drug treatment for teens a public concern. However, more and more men’s sober living programs are becoming available for adolescent males. This provides male teens with a structure and a foundation in which they can stay close to sober living within a peer group they can identify with.
In fact, research shows that male teens have better treatment outcomes when they are a part of a peer group moving through the same process together. When men are grouped not only by gender but also by their ages, the intimacy that is built in such sober living homes can deepen the process of recovery. And this kind of support becomes essential when considering male teens who also have a mental illness, such as depression or anxiety. Approximately, 60-75% of teens who abuse drugs or alcohol also have a psychological illness.
Lastly, men’s sober living homes for young adults are becoming more and more a necessity as binge drinking continues to rise. Sadly, the rates of teens who are binge drinking remain alarmingly high. One study revealed the following breakdown:
- 45% of 9th graders admitted to binge drinking.
- 50% of 10th graders admitted to binge drinking.
- 58% of 11th graders admitted to binge drinking.
- 62% of 12th graders admitted to binge drinking.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking five or more drinks during one event for male teens (or four or more drinks for female teens). Sadly, these are extremely high percentages! Yet, as long as alcohol is accessible, it will continue to be a source of addiction and psychological ailment for many adults and teens alike. This makes the presence of men’s sober living homes a welcome part of any community.
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