Sober living communities are but one of many possible ways to treat addiction – but they are potentially one of the best ways to go about helping someone reintroduce themselves to living life after months or even years of severe addiction.
To be a part of a sober living community, you generally must:
- Accept regular drug testing
- Live as part of a community with a strict ruleset
- Meet regularly for group therapy
- Take part in a few events and activities
- Work on finishing school or getting/keeping a job.
Sober living communities will keep you very busy. This is important early on. In early recovery, emotional tensions can run high and things can get heated. You might wallow in regret over past decisions, or get irrationally angry over past behavior. You might lose hope for yourself, or think back on the painlessness of a high.
These are the moments that are darkest for most people – when a relapse draws near, and they feel the urge overwhelm them. But in sober living communities, strict rules and a regular schedule fight these urges. You’re surrounded by others fighting their own personal battles, some of whom are veterans and have a lot of advice to give. And best of all – you’re never alone, even when it feels like it. And that’s more important than many realize.
Addiction And Loneliness
Many addictions have a lot to owe to loneliness. At our core, we need others – especially when we are troubled. It’s by reflecting our thoughts, fears, anxieties and worries on others that we can find peace, by hearing a voice other than that of our own. But only if we can trust someone else, and be truly close to them.
If you’re capable of trusting someone, then putting that trust in them and confiding your feelings can help bring you a sense of relief, and the opportunity to find a solution to your problem. But if you’re left to tackle your issues alone, or worse, cut yourself and your issues off from others in a show of strength, you will let them fester and grow unchecked.
In a perfect storm, this speeds up the path to addiction. After a while, you don’t want to hear the doubt anymore, and no other distraction proves as potent as addiction.
It doesn’t even have to be as complicated as that. Others don’t just struggle with something, but struggle simply with being alone. That loneliness eats at you, and it isn’t natural to most people. We work best in a group, and we form relationships to survive – partnerships, friendships, alliances, bonds, marriages. People need people, and you need people; which is where sober living communities come into play.
Providing A Sense Of Togetherness
More than many other programs, sober living communities provide you with the opportunity to make new friends with a significant thing in common – as well as meet people who might become your pals for the rest of your life. It’s a wonderful place to focus on togetherness as well, as a sober living community must hold together to keep peace and provide a place for recovery to prosper.
Not only is it about group meetings, but it’s about living together, sharing stories, going on activities, working with one another, learning to trust and confide and function as part of a group rather than keeping yourself and your thoughts in total solitude.
Sober Living Communities As A Post-Rehab Option
While residential treatment and sober living communities have a lot in common, sober living is not a rehab facility – it’s a place for people who have problems with staying sober in a real life setting, and need the rigidity of a strict schedule to form new habits and learn from others.
Sober living communities are also a place that typically does not force people out of its program, letting them stay longer if they need to, while many rehab programs have a more limited timetable for patients. This makes sober living communities an opportunity to wean off the comforts of rehab, getting back into living life without drugs.
Sober Living, And The Long-Term Recovery Journey
Signing up to a sober living community is less like summer camp or boot camp, and more like signing up to a whole new part of life. Not only are you going to get the opportunity to learn to live without addiction, and experience sobriety in a way that makes you appreciate life and fight the cravings rather than struggle to stay sober every day, but sober living will help you build new habits, create new character traits, and mold the parts of yourself that will carry on this recovery for the rest of your life.
To truly excel in staying sober, you have rethink life. And such a massive shift in perspective is hard. It’s important to realize that nothing will be the same, and you will not be the person you once were. You must embrace new rules, new ethics, new friends, and a new life.
It sounds almost religious, but this is a very individual journey that has as much to do with your own spirituality as it does with psychology and neuroscience – addiction is not simply a disease of the brain or a problem with the mind, but it’s a combination of several unique factors that largely differ from person to person: a condition created through certain circumstances and coincidences. No one chooses an addiction – and even if bad choices may have led you to where you are now, the only thing that matters is the set of choices you make to get back to living a real life.
With sober living communities, you will be a part of a diverse group of people who have come from different walks of life to tackle a similar issue in their very own way, with their very on perspective. You’ll hear stories, read books, watch people, but come to realize that the answers you need must come from yourself, and in the multitude of it all, you might find your very own path to recovery.
From there, it’s a slow and long climb out of a deep hole for most people – but with the help of others, the trust and friendship of people who have struggled with similar depths and similar pain, you can come to a point in your life where addiction will feel like the past, and the future will seem very bright. You can find sober living communities all over the place in cities like Los Angeles, New, York, Houston, and more. Take charge of your rehabilitation today!