A sober living community often helps people become more comfortable with their sobriety without the threat of relapse. Because these communities have no real limit on how long a tenant can stay – so long as they respect the rules – it doesn’t matter how long it takes someone to get set up.
But does that mean sober living is necessary for long-term sobriety? That depends. The numbers show that some people get addicted, and subsequently overcome that addiction without rehab. Others who overcome addiction do so after treatment. Some feel trapped in their addiction, unable to stop relapsing.
Sober living homes and communities exist to give anyone who needs it the space to work on their sobriety without fear of relapse – and for some, that is absolutely necessary for lasting sobriety.
Sometimes It Is
Sober living communities exist as an alternative to inpatient and outpatient treatment, for people looking for something that better suits their needs by offering greater flexibility while maintaining a strict ruleset, and guaranteed access to other tenants with experience in struggling with addiction.
Through social events, on-site therapy, and a myriad of shared activities, sober living homes aim to help tenants come together and talk about joint experiences and unique perspectives alike.
There’s more to recovery than just talk, but a supportive environment can go a long way. Sober living homes also aim to prepare recovering addicts for the challenges that lay ahead, mandating steady employment or a job search, dividing chores and responsibilities among tenants, and working with them to help find ways to combat stress without turning to old habits.
Treatment is More Than Necessity
You need more than the bare minimum to get you through an addiction. Because addiction is often chronic and can change the way the brain responds to rational thoughts and ‘normal’ stimuli, treatment necessitates a long and extended break from drug use and a lifestyle that prioritizes healthier coping mechanisms and frequent introspection.
It’s difficult to implement these changes without the help of supportive loved ones who can keep you from your old habits, and experienced professionals who can help guide you towards a new way of thinking.
Simply quitting is not always an option, and while some do successfully walk away from their drug use, most fall back into it and begin a vicious cycle, fueled by the fear that they’ll never truly overcome their mistakes.
There’s more to drug treatment than doing just the bare minimum. Like other illnesses, it’s important to get a comprehensive and quality treatment. Sober living communities can be a part of that.
The Challenges of Tackling Addiction Alone
With others, you have a shoulder to lean on, an ear to speak into, eyes to meet your own. With others, you can create a support network to catch you when you fall. Safety and security are important in recovery, because nothing is guaranteed – least of all a swift recovery.
Alone, however, everything becomes exponentially harder. It’s good to be self-sufficient, but we’re ultimately social animals and rely on each other to thrive.
Instead of feeling worried about accepting the help of those around you, consider how you might repay them in the future through acts of gratitude, once you feel better.
Sober Living Communities and Long-Term Sobriety
Sober living communities excel at helping recovering addicts form the necessary toolkit to achieve long-term sobriety, by creating an environment conducive to recovery while prioritizing the development of better coping skills and stress management.
Life is filled with challenges, and an addiction can leave someone defenseless to many of life’s greatest stressors. It takes time for a person to heal and develop the right defenses for combatting life’s challenges without the risk of relapse. Some of the ways sober living communities help recovering addicts develop their skills is through in-house amenities and an emphasis on embracing new hobbies and trying out new activities.
Through forging new friendships, mending broken relationships, and discovering new reasons to live, recovering addicts can fill in the blanks in their new sober life and continuously grow the list of reasons to keep staying clean.
Sober living communities are also excellent places to turn to after a relapse. When a recovering addict feels the need to refresh their recovery and spend a few days in a safe place away from temptation, sober living homes become a great option. Rather than focusing on first-timers or set programs, their flexibility makes them a viable part of the recovery process at any stage or level.
Progress at Your Own Pace
There is no set timeline for recovery. Some place special importance on certain milestones, such as six-month sobriety, one-year sobriety, or the end of a mandatory rehab sentence. But given how unique every person’s journey is, these dates are virtually meaningless.
It’s important to understand that you’re going to progress at your own pace, which may be faster than others, or slower than others – and that that is fine. It’s also important to set milestones for yourself that are based on achievements rather than a test of endurance, such as:
- Your first date
- Your first new job
- Your first breakthrough at therapy
- Your first week without withdrawal symptoms
- Your first week feeling physically good
- Your first personal goal achieved
- And so on.
Sober living homes exemplify the importance of making progress at your own pace by cutting out the need for programs or recovery timelines. One thing many lack in recovery is patience and understanding, not for others, but for themselves. It’s easy to be hard on yourself and feel terrible about the things you’ve done and the pace you’re progressing at, but these feelings only tend to feed the urge to get back to old habits, restarting the cycle.
As hard as it is, you have to find ways to forgive yourself for your mistakes, take pride in the things you’ve already accomplished, and always move forward with your eyes on the next milestone, rather than dwelling on the pain you’ve caused yourself before.
A sober living community isn’t necessary for a healthy or fulfilling recovery process. But it sure makes things a lot easier. Whether or not it may be necessary for you is something only you can decide.