There are many ways to deal with addiction. Some people prefer to rely on the support of their family, while going through the process alone – without groups, communities and meetings. But there are benefits to living among others in a recovery community while working to stay sober – benefits that other recovery programs don’t have.
The People Make The Program
When it comes to recovery community programs – specifically sober living communities, where the emphasis is on bringing people together to help each other enforce their own sobriety and learn from one another – the therapy doesn’t just lie in the methods and organization of the recovery community council or organizers. Instead, it lies in the people.
The stories they have to tell, the experiences they made, the unique insights they have. Everyone’s journey and struggle through addiction instills in them a certain understanding of themselves and of what it means to overcome major adversity. Passing that on between one another can help motivate, inspire, and keep both newcomers and older members alike from relapsing.
Oftentimes, a relapse could have been prevented if the person fighting with their addiction wasn’t feeling lonely or left out. A recovery community setting can help you find the people you need to depend on in order to support your recovery – and it can help you feel empowered and necessary, by providing you with the opportunity to do the same for others and help them in their journey.
Live And Breathe The Recovery Community
A program is typically a part of your life for a while, yet never extensively. Outpatient programs help get you on your feet and support you as you embark on your own journey to finding work, going to meetings and seeking out hobbies. Twelve-step programs have their fair share of homework, but at the end of the day you’re still left on your own, with questions and no one to seek answers from, and a strict, rigid system that doesn’t allow your recovery process to grow organically.
A recovery community approach puts you in a position where you have to worry about all the things you’ll typically worry about in regular living: job, rent, food, bills. But it adds to all that a sense of community wherein you can let your recovery process grow the way it works best for you, joining the activities you want to join, making the friends that mesh best with you, all while constantly having access to neighbors and people with more experience in recovery than you.
Unlike other programs where loneliness can enter your life and make you question your decisions in recovery, a community approach will keep you surrounded by people whenever you need them. Instead of feeling isolated and left out, a recovery community approaches and embraces the idea of connection as a way to heal addiction by giving people what they have been missing – emotional fulfillment and purpose.
Of course, being in a sober living community isn’t magic – these things take their time, and it may be a while before you warm up to the idea of being open with several strangers about your emotions and experiences while struggling with addiction. It’s a difficult road for anyone to walk, but if what you’re ultimately after is lasting sobriety and a better, happier life, then a community approach is absolutely worth the risk.
The Recovery Community Is for Everybody
Sober living homes have strict rules when it comes to drug addiction – you have to stop using while you’re a part of the recovery community, and you have to either look for work/school programs, or have a job/be enrolled already. Other rules change from facility to facility, home to home, community to community – but the overall sense is that, aside from a few ground rules meant to protect the process of staying sober, it’s all about what you make of the experience.
This means that, ultimately, these communities have a place for everyone. Even if living in a recovery community with others isn’t your ideal way to getting sober, it’s flexible and varied enough that you will draw some useful conclusions from the experience and find yourself feeling more confident in your sobriety than before.
Sober Community Programs Have a Stronger, Lasting Effect
The research on recovery communities and sober living homes shows that, giving individuals the option to stay in a community of recovering patients for as long as they need to – so long as they adhere to the rules – has a massive and lasting beneficial impact on them. Their chances of employment, continued abstinence and overall psychiatric health all shoot up, while the odds of further arrests went down.
Sober living provided itself to not only work for certain behavior patterns, or only at a particular juncture in a person’s addiction/life – they worked in their own way for almost everyone who came and followed the program, because living in a recovery community creates a situation where you’re exposed to many different options, perspectives and tools to help you tackle your addiction however you see best fit. Not cutting a person’s stay at a recovery community short also ensures that they get all the help they need – instead of the recommended 90-day period, there were cases of people staying in the recovery community for close to a year before moving on.
Addiction isn’t something a short-term program can beat. However, a community approach isn’t about ensuring lasting sobriety, either. It’s about equipping someone with everything they need to achieve that lasting sobriety. This includes forging long-term bonds of friendship, making new experiences, seeing addiction in several different perspectives and learning with others how best to cope with your own issues – both the addiction, and whatever else may like underneath it.
That isn’t to say that outpatient programs, twelve-step programs and the like don’t have their place in the world of addiction recovery – there is something out there for everybody – but when it comes to giving someone a strong basis straight out of rehab with which to take on the rest of their recovery process, then there are few ways as reliable as the community approach, because of the unique experiences people make when in a recovery community program.