Choosing a sober living home is an incredibly important decision, and one that involves a variety of factors. Once you’ve completed medical detox at a treatment center, it’s best to also find a sober living home to continue a safe journey towards long term sobriety.
It’s possible to skip living at a sober living home, but the dangers of doing so are far too great. If you’ve just completed addiction treatment and you’re headed back to the same environment in which you experienced your addiction, it might be easy to see that spending time with old friends and being in the same environment can bring on cravings and a relapse. When you invest your time, money, and energy into a sober living home, you invest in your sobriety. You’re sending the message to yourself and to others that you want to stay safe and sober.
However, choosing the right one is important. You might ask around at local Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings about sober living homes with good reputations, or check with a respected treatment center, perhaps with the treatment center you’ve just completed treatment with. Also, you may want to choose one that is reasonably near any AA meetings you will be attending. Most sober living homes accommodate residents for 6 months to a year in order to support continuous sobriety.
Another factor to consider is the length of sobriety that those living at a sober living home already have. It can be supportive to find that those living at a home already have six months of sobriety. Also, houses that have a range or recovery time for people currently residing at the house, such as someone with one month, 90 days, and 6 months are preferable to one with all residents with under 30 days in recovery. Also, those with a live-in manager are generally better choices. Some houses have a democratic process, in which the residents choose who will be coordinator or manager.
Also, you should know exactly what a sober living home is for. As already mentioned, it’s a way to continue the safe care you’ve been getting at an addiction treatment center. But a sober living home isn’t going to cure an addiction, just like the addiction treatment center did not cure the addiction. Instead, addictions are treated; not cured.
Doctors might be able to cure polio or tetanus, but an addiction and forms of mental illness, such as depression, don’t necessarily go away once it’s treated. The possibility of experiencing depression again remains. In fact, once a mental illness has been properly treated and the symptoms are no longer evident, most clinicians will document that the diagnosis is no longer present by indicating “in remission”.
The same is true with an addiction. Because it is an illness that a person has over a period of time, and perhaps an entire lifetime, addictions need to be tended to with safe and sober environments. Sadly, there are many men and women in America who are suffering from addiction. Recent studies have shown that approximately 53 percent of adults in the United States have reported that one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem. And, in 2009, an estimated 30.2 million people 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year.
Because messages of drinking and drug use are everywhere, along with the reminders of others who have developed addictions, having the safety of a sober living home can be an essential part of recovery in the first year of sobriety.
Lastly, another factor to consider when choosing the right sober living home for you are the services they offer which can help lift your emotional and spiritual well being. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently published a guide outlining the 13 principles of effective drug addiction treatment. One of the 13 principles placed an emphasis on treatment that is holistic:
Drug and alcohol treatment that is effective addresses not just the addiction alone.; it must address the medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal issues as well. Treatment must be holistic in nature.
As you are searching for the right place to continue your new sober living experience, the above are suggestions on what to keep in mind. Making the decision to begin treatment is the first step; ensuring you’re in good hands during your sober living process is just as important.
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