There have been a few recent studies that confirm the incredible value that sober living homes have in a person’s ability to stay sober.
One study done in 2012 found that this is particularly true for opiate addicts, those who are addicted to either heroin or prescription pain relievers. The study found that the inclusion of sober living homes and day treatment programs in a person’s treatment plan greatly improves the chances he or she will recover from opiates. Typically, those who have completed detoxification struggle when they enter the early stages of their sobriety. For those who use detox as their only means of treatment tend to have extremely high relapse rates. Relapse rates within a month of undergoing detox are between 65 percent and 80 percent, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Yet, the study found that opiate addicts who were provided with drug-free recovery housing and day treatment programs right after detox were up to 10 times more likely to remain drug-free.
To arrive at these conclusions, researchers examined the experiences of 243 opioid addicts, primarily those with heroin addictions, after their release from detox. Of those in the study who had no follow-up housing or treatment, only 32 people were able to stay drug-free compared to 90 men and women who were able to stay drug-free with housing, and 121 men and women who remained drug-free who received both housing and day treatment. It makes sense that those with supportive living environments after detoxification would have more of a chance to stay sober. Environment, support networks, and mental health professionals around you can greatly improve the probabilities of staying sober.
Another study done 2011 found that sober living homes are an effective means for achieving sobriety when certain factors are in place. The study found that for 300 individuals a sober living home was an effective option for those in need of alcohol-free and drug-free housing. When individuals were involved in 12-step programs, had a strong network of support and were living in a drug-free environment, they tended to reach sobriety with few or no relapses. The study reaffirmed the importance of social and environmental factors in recovery.
In the lives of participants of the study, improvements were seen in the areas of alcohol and drug use, arrests, psychiatric symptoms and employment. It was clear from the study that there are certain factors that predict better recovery outcomes, such as high involvement in 12-step meetings, little alcohol and drug use among peers, and a low severity level for any presenting mental illnesses. The study also found that for those who were referred to sober living homes from the criminal justice system, they experienced similar outcomes when these same factors were present. However, they had a harder time finding and keeping work and had higher re-arrest rates. Of course, sober living homes are effective for almost any kind of addiction.
These research studies reveal the advantages of staying in a sober living home, extending treatment beyond simply detox. Here are some of the clear benefits of residing in a home for sober living:
- Sober living homes are affordable, alcohol and drug-free environments that provide a positive place for peer group recovery.
- Sober living homes facilitate individual recovery by providing an environment that allows their participants to become self-supporting.
- Quality assurance in homes is maintained through a membership in a sober living coalition or network. Sober living homes must abide by a particular code of ethics. For instance, the Los Angeles County Sober Living Coalition has established regulations on how sober living homes run their businesses in Los Angeles.
- Sober living homes are typically single-family homes in quiet, residential neighborhoods.
- Sober living homes typically have regulations that ensure the safety and sobriety of its guests, of which the single most important rule is zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol.
Certainly, addiction is a challenging cycle to break. However, once treatment is done, the benefits of continuing to live in a supportive environment could be the one factor that makes or breaks long-term sobriety.
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