Not all recovering addicts use sober living homes as a means of support. And there may be good reason – after addiction treatment, some may simply want to go home. Others may need to get back to work. Some might have a family they want to return to. And still others may have spent all their money on treatment leaving little to no funds for staying at a sober living home.
These may be valid reasons. However, when one considers the incredible value of these transitional homes, also known as halfway houses, there may be some reconsideration. Essentially, sober living homes are those that recovering addicts live in for a period of time (3-6 months) as a means to transition between addiction treatment and returning home.
Because of the significant amount of relapse that happens within the first year, sober living homes can be a great way to protect yourself against this experience. In fact, the American Bar Association indicates that up to 75% of alcoholics relapse within their first year of recovery. Other research indicates that most adults need to find a transition type home when discharged from a residential treatment center. It is difficult to return to the community in which you live, where your family, friends, and acquaintances are, and avoid the risk of relapse. Those old friends, places, and memories can easily trigger cravings. And with the right amount of stress, a craving can turn into relapse.
Sober living homes are not only a place to transition to before facing the familiar but risky home environment. They also provide structure, safety, and support for those early in their recovery. For instance, sober living homes typically have regulations that ensure the safety and sobriety of its guests. The following are a few common rules:
- Remain clean and sober during your stay.
- Submit to periodic drug tests.
- Attend house meetings that promote sobriety and overall well being.
- Commit to doing chores around the house and maintaining the general cleanliness of the home.
- Participate in a form of community service or work in the community.
The intent of a sober living home is to provide an environment that supports sobriety and minimizes the risk of relapse. To do this, homes might prohibit pornographic magazines, drug paraphernalia, or even clothing that promotes drug or alcohol use. Of course, stealing, fighting, and sexual activity between guests is also not allowed.
If you’re considering a sober living home, remember that research shows that those who reside there have a greater chance of staying sober. One recent study followed the path of 130 previous sober living residents. The study found that 52 (40%) of them were still sober six months later. Considering the fact that there is such a high relapse rate in the first year, this study validates that, for a good portion of people, a transitional living home can help protect one from relapse.
Furthermore, another benefit of sober living homes is that you’re with others who are also maintaining their sobriety. Residents can support one another, share personal stories, and provide a level of support that family and friends who are not on the same path cannot.
If you’re considering a sober living home, the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. And the cost is not only the financial cost, but the psychological cost of possibly relapsing again. If you’re ready to transition out of addiction treatment, contact a local sober living home today.
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